Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Tohope And Change - King Kong Escapes!

Toho Studios was always it seems casting about for a deal which would allow it to find stronger inroads into the English-speaking American marketplace, and that makes perfect sense. They struck up a bargain with UPA for a trio of movies and then came Rankin-Bass Productions, most famous for Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and other vintage holiday classics. The deal with Rankin-Bass called for all sorts of synthesis, and wanted to tie in theater releases with television production. In one case it succeeded, and that was King Kong Escapes.

This is a classic kaiju starring not one of the vintage Toho monsters save for the Toho version of RKO's King Kong. In this one the world is again working together (a common theme in Honda movies) and trying to cope with an outlier nation (unnamed but probably Red China) which is seeking to used the power of a deadly metal to subdue the other powers of the planet. To get that ore they hire Doctor Who (not that  Doctor Who) and he builds a mechanical King Kong but the radiation proves too much. Then the reappearance of the real Kong gives Who the chance to try again and that's the story. Eventually of course Kong and his mechanical doppleganger fight it out.

The movie was spun out of King Kong -The Animated Series which had its own version of Doctor Who (again not that Doctor Who) and also a family who befriend Kong. The family is replaced with a stalwart team of scientists and soldiers and a comely blonde chick but its all part of the same show supposedly. This is slick movie, well made but lacking the verve which somehow immediately pops when Godzilla is one the scene. On the upside, the Kong in this one is much much better than the earlier Toho rendition.

More to come.

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