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Trivia / King Kong (1976)

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  • Adored by the Network: This was one of many films AMC aired endlessly from 2005 to 2009, in contrast to the original being popularly aired by TCM.
  • Romance on the Set: The tabloids speculated at the time, that Jeff Bridges and Jessica Lange had an on-set affair. It was later revealed to be false, she was in a relationship with Russian Ballet dancer Michael Baryshnikov, and he was engaged, and married in 1977. They have remained friends since making this film.
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  • Shoot the Money: Averted. A giant animatronic version of Kong was built and cost 1.7 million dollars to make, but because it didn't look convincing enough, it was only seen in a couple of seconds-long shots.
  • Technology Marches On: The biplanes are replaced by specialized attack helicopters with gatling guns.
  • Uncredited Role: Kong's vocal sounds were recorded by an uncredited Peter Cullen, straining his throat so badly, that he coughed up blood in the recording studio.
  • Unintentional Period Piece: Thanks to the '70s disaster movie-style large cast, the hairdos, the version of Carl Denham's character (renamed to Fred Wilson and changed from a movie director, to an Corrupt Corporate Executive) being far more of a villian rather than a well-intentioned Anti-Hero, and the updates to the original story, such as the reason for searching for Skull Island being about finding Oil (this film was made right after the 1970s Oil Crisis), and changing the building Kong climbs up at the end to the former twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York.
  • What Could Have Been:
    • Dino De Laurentiis asked Ray Harryhausen to animate Kong in stop motion for the film, but he declined since he would only be given a 12 month window to work, which was far too short for the complicated animation needed for stop motion.
    • Kong's original design was a complete departure from being a giant ape as the director felt the audience couldn't sympathize with an animal, calling for the titular character to instead look more like a giant, hairy human. Gradually he was talked out of it, but one can still see the effect in that this movie's King Kong is inexplicably a biped. Early concept art and stills of the robotic Kong show the earlier iterations' look.
    • Potential directors included Sam Peckinpah, Roman Polanski, Steven Spielberg and Michael Winner.
    • The then-unknown Meryl Streep auditioned for the role of Dwan, but producer Dino De Laurentiis turned her down because he thought she wasn't beautiful enough. Bo Derek was also offered the role (and ultimately got a part in De Laurentiis's next beast flick). Kim Basinger, Farrah Fawcett and Melanie Griffith auditioned and Barbra Streisand was considered.
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    • Fay Wray was offered a Remake Cameo role, but turned it down, because she didn't like the script.
    • Universal was preparing a Kong remake at the same time that De Laurentiis was preparing his, which led to a big lawsuit because both parties claimed to have obtained remake rights from RKO. A court case determined that the story lapsed into the public domain, but Universal ultimately negotiated with De Laurentiis and cancelled their planned remake. Universal's version was intended to be titled The Legend of King Kong and was going to be set in The '30s like the original film. Later, it was determined that the story wasn't in the public domain, and the owner of the property sold the film rights to Universal, leading up to the studio producing Peter Jackson's King Kong.


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