Song of Paris
A comedy of the entente cordiale, with songs.
Mother-ridden scion of Ibbetson’s Stomach Pills (she is a headhunting snob, his secretary is his little sister) crosses the Channel to shore up sales, meets chanteuse pursued by mad impecunious Count, she follows him to London, it ends in a duel on Hampstead Heath.
“The film garnered positive reviews,” says Vic Pratt of the British Film Institute.
Dennis Price, Mischa Auer et al., more than brilliant. Stateside, Bachelor in Paris.
Miss Robin Hood
A character in stories literally dreamed and then written by a Mr. Wrigley, editor of The Teenager, a magazine purchased for a conglomerate by a peer “for the paper allocation” and about to be “streamlined” as a color comic supplement. “I’m Wrigley,” says the author to a little girl he takes to be a fan, standing beside her very tall cello case. “Well, wriggle off,” she replies unblinkingly. Actually, the stories are hugely popular with young and old, as the publisher discovers. Capra (Meet John Doe) and Crichton (Hue and Cry) are very big in this, but a Grierson/Group 3 is quite original and to the point.
What lost the critics was the rest of it. The “something extra” in Macalister Honeycup Scotch is a secret recipe stolen from a rival in generations past, Mr. Wrigley is enlisted to retrieve it.
Bosley Crowther of the New York Times could not possibly grasp this, “the screenplay, haphazardly constructed by Val Valentine, lacks basic point and the quality of his invention of comic situations is low. John Guillermin’s direction is consequently frenetic and wild.”
“Sub-Ealing whimsy,” says Time Out Film Guide, using one of Halliwell’s favorite phrases (Halliwell’s Film Guide is hopelessly muddled on the plot), “a jaunty but rather inane little number”.
Guillermin’s direction is highly virtuosic.
Auntie’s “jealous” of nephew’s oo-la-la, he wants the old girl kept in hospital a few days longer, the London surgeon points out “we’re desperately short of beds, you know,” thus the inner structure carefully tucked away.
The Chairman of Western Defence (“The Man Who Knows All the Secrets”) is the MacGuffin in a particularly elegant Guillermin sleight of hand on Hitchcock themes from The 39 Steps onward (cp. I Confess earlier the same year), repaid in North by Northwest but perhaps initially inspired by Richard Brooks’ Crisis. A bloody business, murder at every turn, a German colleague struck off the register, “catseyes and traffic lights” and “a clock with a cracked chime.”
TV Guide, “this film is hard to swallow,” follow is meant, no doubt. “Your Polish must be getting a little rusty,” Inspector Austin tells the surgeon, jokingly.
The Crowded Day
Shopgirls (Joan Hickson, Rachel Roberts), “at her age, too, cheeky little monkey. I work my fingers to the bone, I said, for you and young Jimmy, but if you think I can make enough to teach you to dance with the tips o’ your toes you’re making a great mistake. Flapping about on the stage and showing off her legs!”
“You get her into the civil service, Mrs. Jones, takes ever so little training ‘cause you’ve got nothing to do.” Cf. Ossie Davis’ Black Girl. Early days for Talbot Rothwell and a year after Genevieve (dir. Henry Cornelius) for the motorcar angle, to boot. Sans doute of any kind, Are You Being Served? was born at Bunting & Hobbs (“so does Are You Being Served? deserve to be damned as representing all that is wrong with British comedy,” asks Phil Wickham on behalf of the British Film Institute, “and by default British people?”). Alfred Hitchcock evidently never forgot the confrontation amongst the birdcages in Mrs. Blayburn’s castle, cp. The L-Shaped Room (dir. Bryan Forbes), tearful Miss Pascoe running from the house is exactly replicated in The Birds (camera dollying back just ahead of her, house kept in view behind). The masks of Comedy and Tragedy were never so vividly worn in the same picture. Rod Serling undoubtedly wove it into his Dantean department store masterpiece for The Twilight Zone, “The After Hours” (dir. Douglas Heyes).
Vic Pratt (British Film Institute), “intelligently scripted”. Britmovie, “an uneasy mix of fluffy comedy and social drama.” TV Guide, “pleasant, but that’s about it.” Hal Erickson (All Movie Guide), “the fragmentary nature of Crowded Day came in handy when the film was trimmed to accommodate commercials on American television.” Halliwell’s Film Guide, “naïve little portmanteau”.
Town on Trial
The murder investigation brings in a lot of complaints, the superintendent is given a caution by the A.C. but not pulled off the case, that sums up the force of the argument that defines the title.
The structure is almost hermetic, so inwound in its tightly symbolic expressions that are quite definite and outspoken, there is almost as much labor to be had explicating the construction as there surely was devising it, and very little pleasure in the news.
The doctor from the New World (Canada) treats the young patient suffering from “depressive headaches” and memory deficiencies and is blackmailed by a phonus-balonus from the war, now secretary of the country club, who has brought in a glamour girl to pick things up and gotten her with child, now she’s dead, strangled. A nabob’s daughter is next.
Ezekiel is the murderer’s text, on the harlotry of Israel with the Assyrians.
The climactic image on the church spire describes a sort of naïve suspension and is the very same as the boy with his breeches caught on a steeple in Jewison’s The Russians Are Coming The Russians Are Coming.
The Whole Truth
A tale of the film business, from a play by the writer of Jack Gold’s The Naked Civil Servant and Praying Mantis.
“That’s all we needed, a dead leading lady and the producer behind bars.” The scene is Nice and presumably La Victorine.
Carol Reed’s The Third Man is ably indicated. Jokes and gags take in Hitchcock’s The 39 Steps and Vertigo.
A flashback mystery to show precisely how a sunny day on the Riviera turns into very dark night in Saint-Paul de Vence. This is amusingly related to Antonioni’s La Signora senza camilie at a very wide angle. The philistine as critic.
In Halliwell’s Film Guide, “a solidly carpentered murder thriller” (Walton Studios is credited).
I Was Monty’s Double
The real actor plays himself playing Monty, and this is a feast as he’s quite good (Variety commended him).
Of course, he fooled the Nazis, which is the whole point.
The film has another point to make about industrialists and correspondents and the like, who take things at face value.
A very resourceful work of British Intelligence, and a great application of the actor’s art, for which Guillermin is largely responsible, with the collaboration of Mills, Parker, Forbes and the inestimable gentleman in the title role.
Tarzan’s Greatest Adventure
“What was that vaudeville act’s name, Goering & Himmler?” Diamonds are the principal aim of the murderous gang until, greatly diminished, it’s the act of desperation itself, killing Tarzan (Gordon Scott). Anthony Quayle and Niall MacGinnis are the vaudevillians, joined by Sean Connery, who asks the question. A lady journalist (Sara Shane) crash-lands on the river they travel, Tarzan in pursuit trails her along. There’s an Italian mistress (Scilla Gabel) and a mother-loving skipper (Al Mulock), the previous owners of the mine were tracing copper just before the end. A marvelously intricate film, the ending goes into Boorman’s Deliverance. Cheta is a very young and touching performer, seen at the beginning.
The Day They Robbed the Bank of England
Gaels burrow along the forgotten River Walbrook under the City and into the bullion vault on “Thread-Me-Needle Street” to extract a million pounds’ worth of “the Queen’s yellow”, dislodging a “Holy Roman” carved lady’s head from the clay whilst doing so, but a bored and dimwitted lieutenant in the Guards on night picket duty at the bank has been contemplating an intellectual career, affably, and it dawns on him.
Dim night still reigned in A.H. Weiler’s brain at the New York Times, he found it “dull”.
Sir John Soane makes a sort of cameo appearance, Irish Home Rule is the point in question as far as “the movement” is concerned, the Gordon riots and toshers and Putney all have a bit of it, even angling, and Guillermin repeats the exploit in El Condor.
Never Let Go
A car theft racket, a Ford Anglia, a cosmetics salesman dropped for a “scientific” colleague, a motorcycle gang, and the “legitimate business” that fronts the ring, a garage.
A small-town caper, mostly filmed on a single city block somewhere, London, it’s said.
The principle of organization is involved in a big way, then it’s a powerful analysis of Kazan’s On the Waterfront and no mistake.
Guillermin discovers a discontinuous champ contre champ toward the end that is exacerbated by Hutton in The First Deadly Sin.
Crowther (New York Times) spoke of “the itch to play Hamlet”, referring to Peter Sellers as the little crime boss, whose littler opponent is Richard Todd.
Waltz of the Toreadors
An unfailingly gallant general, and thus unfaithful all his life long, is nevertheless abstemious toward the love of his life, who marries his son and aide-de-camp.
Thus the peculiar logical or logistical problem described. The episode of the two missionaries recounted in the general’s memoirs may, and indeed should, be properly compared with the anecdote that is at the root of Anderson’s Conduct Unbecoming.
A fine part for Peter Sellers with a notable thematic preparation for Clouseau in the brief bedroom farce with Dany Robin and John Fraser, as well as the balcony scene with rain and rain barrel. Margaret Leighton as the mournful wife and Cyril Cusack as the bright healthful doctor fill the bill.
Tarzan Goes to India
A rajah, an engineer, a building project, these are the elements of Fritz Lang’s Journey to the Lost City (cp. Tarzan’s Three Challenges, dir. Robert Day). The delight and danger are just this, the Hitlerian conundrum, the trains that carried the Jews ran on time.
Tarzan’s sole task is to move a herd of elephants out of an animal preserve about to be flooded by a new hydroelectric dam.
Variety didn’t like Sy Weintraub’s Tarzan, “counterfeit” is the word used in its review of this film.
The theme is related to Ronald Neame’s Mister Moses. Jock Mahoney as Tarzan is in the line of Gordon Scott, rather more than a vision of the forest primeval, an understanding of it.
Guns at Batasi
The surrealism is confirmed by a Buñuelian conclusion, if you want to find yourself in England (or any other civilized country) you must defend the other guy’s right, a parable of the Majority and the Minority, a “fact-finding” mission by a lady MP, a night with a UN secretary, the British Army amid a change of political parties in Africa.
The theme is intensively worked in great detail as a political action greatly exceeding authority, answered by a military action that neutralizes the threat. This is vividly filmed and freely acted with satisfactory realism a surprising keynote all round, so that some critics have taken it at face value.
An experiment, in the most perfect sense of laboratory usage, to isolate the condition of the title from the sequence of absurd or tragic events in the drama, which is laid on the Brittany seacoast for the most part, also a French town of appreciable size.
A daft, unhappy girl, the ravishing housemaid, the retired liberal judge with a guilty conscience, and a sailor in trouble with the law who takes shelter with them.
The girl’s bliss is to stand on the cliff with the gulls crying overhead, a perpendicular down-angle expresses this.
The sun in her lonely memory, her father’s old black suit in an upstairs trunk for a scarecrow in the garden, generate for her the sailor (like Dorothy of Kansas, she knows what’s what, really). The great world is cumbersome, hard, bright, and noisy, the sailor is dead on the rocks (shot by a gendarme) where her father had smashed a doll of hers previously. The girl is too old for dolls, why the sailor came back is the point of the film.
“Gloomy all the way,” says Halliwell’s Film Guide, “and if it’s art it needs explaining.”
The Blue Max
The action quickly shifts from a German infantryman’s simple desire for wings over the trenches to his graduated admiration of the medal above all things, “Pour le Mérite”.
Pure Guillermin from the outset, sharply illustrated and boldly drawn with the utmost authenticity and frankness.
Most daring in its close derivation, outside the line of thought obviously relating it to Peckinpah’s Cross of Iron and Rouse’s The Oscar, from a singular identity with Annakin’s Battle of the Bulge, and that is the stainless-steel models in both films that represent the latest German weapon. This is the very crux of The Blue Max, and here the manufacturing prototype supplies the dénouement and climax as a full-scale silver monoplane.
Critics have never attempted an analysis, let alone an understanding, and so the tightrope subtlety of the drama remains a secret in one of the most beautifully filmed works of the cinema.
Sydney Pollack’s Sketches of Frank Gehry reveals a psychology of the architect whose Guggenheim retrospective was funded by Enron, and whose silver Walt Disney Concert Hall was toured by Pollack with a video camera.
A very low-grade Marine, MP in Korea, now scraped-out P.I. in New York. Detweiler is his name, he owes everybody money, he’s practically the State Beach out West roared over by jets from LAX, the end of the runway, Dockweiler.
“The con is over,” he announces.
You recognize him as one of those palookas in Farrow’s Wake Island, no bright boy, tough.
Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times saw no great film in this, but a Bogart role well-played. Tom Milne (Time Out Film Guide) thought the cat dragged it in. Nothing to Halliwell, who quotes Judith Crist, “the plot doesn’t make any sense.”
P.J. Detweiler is hired by a corporate moneygrub to shepherd his mistress, there have been attempts, the moneygrub owns people.
Fine score by Neal Hefti.
House of Cards
Consequences of a Fascist takeover, one has to choose between death in a ditch or the romance of South America (also it’s bad for tourism).
The towel thrown in, a tutoring job to an eight-year-old in “one of the first families” (kid plays with a gun, shooting at cars). Quickly vetted viva voce, weighed and measured.
Guillermin opens with a dying view from the Seine, one of the most extraordinary sequences, brief as it is, in all of the cinema.
A.H. Weiler of the New York Times wrote blearily of his weariness with films in which “the good guys triumph in good causes, more or less,” perhaps as a newspaperman it goes against the grain, journalistically speaking. The film was “merely exemplary of professional technique and dialogue rather than memorable characterization and emotion,” a “satisfactory entertainment... vague... foggy... casually... long, improbable... in which complicated incidents often mystify rather than excite a viewer... almost a stereotype... largely a stereotype.”
Variety couldn’t follow the plot and blamed Guillermin for that (“cannot get the conversational and plot-laying bits off the ground”) but noted “quite a measure of excitement and style, though the screenplay... has plenty of scraggly ends. However, there are elements of a Hitchcockian thriller.” Notorious, for example.
Kubrick’s Dr. Strangelove identifies the motivation, so to speak.
Halliwell’s Film Guide ignores the kinship to Russell’s Billion Dollar Brain but fancies The 39 Steps as the fruitless model (“makes little of it”).
The Hitchcockian escape with a twist, not “frighted with false fire.”
North by Northwest is all but cited at the train station in Rome.
Before Huston’s The Mackintosh Man and Peckinpah’s The Killer Elite, the circumstances of the general’s demise.
The Forum in Rome. St. Peter’s Square, the widow’s mite. Fontana di Trevi.
“This was once a seminary. Curious, isn’t it. That was a room for contemplation, and now it’s our communications center. You see, Mr. Davis...”
“... we also have a mission.”
A fat fruit at the back of it all, not lean and hungry (cf. Rossellini’s Roma—città aperta). The Colosseum at dawn, combat in the corridors.
Another Harry Palmer (Furie’s The Ipcress File) for the ending, which is approximately where Michael Anderson’s The Quiller Memorandum begins, with an echo of Rossellini’s Germania anno zero.
The Bridge at Remagen
The first Rhine crossing, the last German bridge.
The great dramatic point is the rushing American invaders are totally exhausted, the retreating Germans worn out. The dreamlike point of contact is Remagen.
This rather went by the reviewers for Variety and the New York Times. Images of a collaborator at Stadt Meckenheim and a German innkeeper at Remagen foretell the imminent end of the war.
The opening sequence of American tanks racing along the river toward the penultimate bridge and fired upon from the opposite bank, returning fire without stopping, sets up the gradual revelation of weariness at the front.
The camera opens on a rattlesnake, then tilts and pans to a prison camp. The modulation is by way of Leone’s The Good, the Bad and the Ugly. Luke (Jim Brown) escapes (the camera follows him heading for the hills, then zooms out to lose him in the desert).
The saloon scene pivots on Furie’s The Appaloosa into Huston’s The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, which is the main gag of the first part. Jaroo (Lee Van Cleef) is a miner beset by banditos and helped in a running gunfight by Luke in rocky hills and caverns.
Luke and Jaroo get caught swiping goods in a general store (actually Luke is innocent) and both are tarred and feathered. Still they make their way to the Apache nation where they propose an attack on the Mexican Army fort, El Condor, where all the gold is hidden.
The fort’s commander, Chavez (Patrick O’Neal), is seen on horseback in the bullring, mustachioed and martial, with his lady love Claudine (Marianna Hill) looking on. Guillermin gives close-ups of wildflowers and sagebrush that focus out to Indian faces in war paint. They attack a column of troops, and acquire a large chest full of—clothing, which Luke and Jaroo carry on toward the fort.
From the ramparts looking inward, Henri Persin’s camera pans left on soldiers down below, continues as more race up the steps toward it, tilting up withal to an officer on the wall, who fires a cannon as the camera goes on panning left and zooms in to the far distance where the ball explodes amid the interlopers. So begins the cannonade that sends them flying over the prairie and deposits them in a heap with articles of clothing descending on them.
They’re brought in as prisoners, followed by a handheld camera. Again from the ramparts, Guillermin conveys a vague M.C. Escher quality of El Condor with all its blank walls and stairs at various angles. Claudine is struck by Luke’s smiling demeanor. The prisoners are staked out in the desert (J. Lee Thompson paid tribute in Firewalker), but manage to escape. In the village, soldiers select women for the night and hold the townspeople at bay. Luke, Jaroo and the Apaches catch them in bed (Guillermin cuts to empty uniforms laid on chairs and tables). Disguised as troops, the Apaches bring back the prisoners, who have concealed grenades. Inside the fort, they blast things to bits, then beat a retreat.
White flag negotiations show Jaroo an underground vault full of gold bars, and they plan a sneak attack. From her high bedroom, Claudine sees them coming and opens her window, then her dress. She stands as bare as Susan George in Straw Dogs, and every soldier in El Condor stares at her. The fort is stormed, the officers flee through a rent in the walls after a battle modeled on nineteenth-century paintings, and victory is won.
The Apache chief Santana (Iron Eyes Cody) draws a knife over the gold and Jaroo shoots him. The Apaches depart. The officers return with a troop, and Luke bluffs Chavez into single combat. Badly cut, he wins, after learning the gold is painted lead. Jaroo is undone, comes gunning for him, and dies. Luke and Claudine are alone amid the carnage of the wrecked fort in a grand variant of The Maltese Falcon filmed with a great eye for the landscape that transforms Spanish locations into Mexican vistas.
From National General Cinema and André de Toth, a masterpiece of the rare and brilliant kind that is so exhilarated by its own genius as sincerely not to have a care for the critics’ disregard.
Truly, Guillermin can here be said to “have left nothing undone.” His idea of action cinema is cinema full of action, everything moves, he’s on the ball all the time, the editing is frequent but unhurried and carries the discourse at times with wonderful rapidity, as during the scene when Luke and Jaroo approach the fortress—it’s a silent conversation of assault and defense in a matter of seconds, which has El Condor saluting them with cannon fire that sends them scurrying and tumbling head over heels.
Earlier, Luke rescues Jaroo by setting off a cascade of boulders on the pack of banditos. Guillermin gives you a view from below as the rocks start to fall, then cuts to the reverse angle on the cascade, and as the banditos are deluged with boulders and dust he zooms down in the direction of the movement.
Brown’s Indian wrestling match is filmed as an expert catalogue of stunt coordination in a complex running gag.
The conception of characters is subtle and commanding. Marianna Hill’s doll-like face is seen in close-up to have a more tendentious aspect. Patrick O’Neal holds the camera on the point of his saber, literally.
Amidst the epical destruction in the second part (which caused Judith Crist to maunder incontinently about abattoirs), a sublime reflection of Beau Geste emerges.
Someone had to treat this material to a certainty, and Guillermin has a taste for variation that’s inexhaustible. Within these spatial confines he enjoys nothing but freedom to invent every shot brand new, cross-checked by an editing plan like air traffic control. He starts a dolly or maneuvers a hand-held camera, cuts to another proposition, resumes on a new angle—he takes full responsibility for the film.
The actors have a relatively comfortable time in such a case, or anyway the idea is to throw into relief James Brolin’s Section 8 bomber, a balmy, screwy creation that’s just the ticket.
It’s all an exquisite calculation from the elegant opening of preparation and takeoff to the amazing evocation of an instrument landing, and the finale on the tarmac.
Nothing’s on automatic pilot. When the stewardesses slide out in the freezing rain, Guillermin records their faces once they’ve left. Brolin’s heroic fantasy comes up three times like the wheels on a slot machine, berries-berries-lemon.
The flashbacks (which were imitated in Zucker-Abrahams-Zucker’s Airplane!) expeditiously create the second theme of an affair in about a minute with two or three lines of dialogue.
Altogether a film masterpiece somehow overlooked, and later remade in a car dealership as Donaldson’s Cadillac Man.
Shaft in Africa
A tight little
action film from a director who, in the rather more discursive El Condor,
gives you (in Jim Brown’s meeting with the Indians) a running catalogue of Gags
and How to Film Them. Shaft in Africa is superstreamlined for another purpose, but Guillermin still
gives you in a few frames the expert gag of Shaft’s car crashing into Amafi’s balustrade.
Silliphant’s screenplay exercises formal muscles to take the detective model that stumbles into truth (“not James Bond, just Sam Spade”) and exacerbate it by placing the hero knowingly in the position of a victim, then it compresses once again by having him known to the opposition in advance. What this gives you, in a story about modern-day slave labor, is Schoedsack’s The Last Days of Pompeii with an unexpected key.
Still further compression is added with a well-filmed allusion to Wyler’s Ben-Hur in the galley as the workers are transported from Ethiopia into Italy in the hold of a tramp steamer. The scene of their ultimate arrival in Paris was parodied by Cassavetes in Big Trouble.
The Towering Inferno
Irwin Allen’s ithyphallic masterpiece on the perturbations of the building trade.
Nabokov has the theme in a late novel, the altitudinous position, the fire, the escape.
“We Build For Life” is the costcutter’s slogan.
It’s set in San Francisco, where the firemen’s monument is.
You have to tie yourselves down, which is something like René Char’s “inclinez-vous”.
A game of snakes and ladders.
The critical spectrum is very dim at best, petering out altogether in sneers.
Adventures of the Petrox Explorer, out of Houston by way of Surabaya.
18% is the going rate on a Petrox credit card, plus charges.
“The biggest person in my life.”
The metaphor is oil, petroleum.
The persistent musical theme is “As Long As He Needs Me”.
Petrox Tower, how it’s climbed.
Death on the Nile
It begins where it ends, on the waters of the Nile.
A divers amusement, which rises to Bette Davis’ Parthian shaft, “she’s just unfamiliar with the married state!”
And still more, be it observed, Guillermin and Shaffer and Cardiff can take this cast up the Nile on a delightful paddlewheel steamer after climbing a pyramid and seeing the Sphinx, in all the wit and grandeur that the metaphor will afford (it’s a honeymoon trip), and not one critic will notice.
L’amour c’est la mort, Poirot does not say. There is a charming reflection of Lumet’s Murder on the Orient Express (Poirot mentions the case), the heiress is hated and envied by all (frauds, thieves, fools, hypocrites), hers is the first of several bloody murders that culminate in the death of the lovers.
The true Guillermin is seen after an almost conventional exposition, suddenly the encyclopedic action director unreels an amazing night assault on a prison by Sheena and an elephant with chimpanzee support, the electrified fence is smashed in a shower of sparks, various monkeyshines dispatch the guards, etc.
Sheena is about to be dropped from a helicopter onto the Zambouli Falls, the tribesmen are gathered as witnesses below, she summons flamingoes from their watering hole, they attack the pilot exactly as in The Birds.
The plot is akin to Robert Gordon’s Tarzan and the Jungle Boy. Guillermin himself directed two of the finest Tarzan films, Tarzan’s Greatest Adventure and Tarzan Goes to India.
The “healing earth” of the Zambouli land ruled by the king of Tigora is threatened by his murderous brother the prince, who wants to mine it for mere titanium. A reporter and cameraman for Sports World stumble on the coup, their elevator stops at the wrong floor, for example, the door opens briefly on a mercenary army. The prince played football in America.
Sheena’s parents found the healing earth and perished in a cave-in, the little girl was long ago foretold to the tribe as a protectress.
The prince is in league with the king’s bride, to do away with the Zambouli their lady shaman is set up for the king’s assassination. The Sports World cameraman accidentally films the real apparatus.
Sheena, who rides zebras bareback, must fight the armored column of the prince’s mercenaries. The reporter follows a trail of pawprints, thinking it’s her zebra, the camera takes him to a lioness’s muzzle.
Sheena draws a magic circle around his Land Rover. “It even keeps the mosquitoes out,” says the cameraman. A rhinoceros walks up to this clearing, lions have draped themselves on the car.
Maslin looked down a very long nose at this for the New York Times, the herd of critics followed her lead, it appears.
King Kong Lives
As you will recall, Kong (a symbol of primitive tyranny) became an advertising symbol for Petrox Oil, ran amuck and died at the World Trade Center. But you did not know that he was kept barely alive at the Atlanta Institute for ten years. After the credits (to the tune of Summer of ’42), King Kong receives an artificial heart the size of a compact car in a scene of incredible bravura (the crane supporting this apparatus has a small American flag painted on it, like something on the space shuttle).
Lady Kong is discovered, and she fancies her discoverer (Brian Kerwin). Kong awakes on his warehouse-sized hospital bed, sees the moon through the skylight, frees himself from his medicinal trappings, and escapes.
The two apes repair to Honeymoon Ridge. She munches greens, he brings her a snake, she rebukes him. The makeup worn by the actors allows great expressivity, and the scene is very charming.
Guillermin adopts something of Godzilla. The crowd on the tarmac as Lady Kong is flown in has a subtle, Lilliputian air, and of course at the end when the scion is born...
Never, it may be, has a film of such distinction received so little regard from the public and its reviewing monkeys.