24 FRAMES WITH STEVE VERTLIEB:
"A TRIPLE LIFE" by STEVE VERTLIEB
HAS BEEN NOMINATED AS "BEST ARTICLE 2014"
WITH THE RONDO HATTON CLASSIC HORROR AWARDS
Founded in 2002 by USA TODAY front page editor Dave Colton, the
"Rondos" annually celebrates the best in genre film, TV, journalism,
graphic arts and more. Enjoy this multi-media
KONG treasure trove - which includes film clips from the 1933,
1976 and 2005 films; music score suites by Max Steiner, John Barry and
James Newton Howard; audio commentary by Ray Harryhausen, Ken Ralston and director Cooper; archival film interviews with Roger Ebert, Forrest J.
Ackerman, Leonard Maltin and George Turner; photos from Steve's personal
collection and more.
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"BEST ARTICLE, VERTLIEB - KONG".
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Views On Film:
24 FRAMES - WITH STEVE VERTLIEB
(Film Commentary on Classic Cinema
former on-air TV reviewer of film as well as magazine publisher, Steve
Vertlieb's learned, literate and much published dissertations on cinema
over the last near half-century have made him a much sought after
consultant on numerous projects, including an appearance in the 2006
award winning documentary KREATING KARLOFF, and as consultant on TCM's
75th Anniversary Restoration of Merian C. Cooper's original KING KONG. Widely considered one of the nation's foremost experts on the legendary
"Great Ape", his numerous articles on the subject (including that in the
still definitive volume THE GIRL IN THE HAIRY PAW) is referenced to
this day by film makers, teachers and cinema students alike.
Divided into three departments - "Reviews", "33 1/3rd: The Art &
Craft of the Film Score", and "Vertlieb Considers" (editorial commentary
on classic and contemporary cinema), It is the honor of the GullCottage /
Sandlot to include Steve Vertlieb's 24 FRAMES as an integral addition
to our online film magazine and ever growing cinema reference and
* Connect with Steve Vertlieb at info@GullCottageOnline.com
* Learn more about the documentary
STEVE VERTLIEB: THE MAN WHO "SAVED" THE MOVIES
on Facebook and at the film's official web pages.
"A TRIPLE LIFE"
KING KONG's Trinity Of Reincarnation On Film
Few creations in the long history of cinema have had the lasting cultural significance and profoundly enduring influence of the original 1933 production of KING KONG Released during the heart of the great depression in the financial Winter of 1933, the heroic fantasy adventure generated unprecedented box office receipts and long lines at the box office at a time when Americans simply lacked the resources to eat regularly, let alone frequent the nation’s increasingly empty movie theaters. KING KONG was so powerful in its originality, and in its persuasive power to lure a poverty stricken populace out of their homes and into darkened movie theaters, that it quickly became a social phenomenon, inspiring imitations, sequels, and prequels for decades to come. Of them all, three features, running the gamut from "magical" to "misguided", have emerged as the "tentpole" depictions of the King.
Merian C. Cooper’s celebrated gorilla was born in the mind of his creator perhaps as early as 1927 when his friend, W. Douglas Burden, a Director of The Museum of Natural History in New York City, published his book The Dragon Lizards of Komodo. Burden’s historical volume on the nine foot carnivorous lizards occupying Komodo Island in the East Indies set the film director’s fertile imagination ablaze with thoughts of giant, prehistoric creatures marauding through a lost island, set apart from the rest of the world, and unchanged since the beginning of time. Cooper and his partners, Ernest B. Schoedsack and Marguerite Harrison, had been filming acclaimed documentary features concerning primitive cultures and civilizations for “silent” cinema. GRASS - released in 1925, and CHANG - released two years later in 1927, recounted their encounters with prehistoric tribal customs passed from generation to generation, untouched by societal evolution.
Cooper & Schoedsack in GRASS: A NATION'S BATTLE FOR LIFE (1925)
Purchasing two cameras and fifty thousand feet of film, the adventurous trio ventured courageously to the Persian Gulf where they filmed the annual migration of the Bakhtiari people. Upon completion of the “shoot,” Cooper, Schoedsack, and Harrison returned to Paris where they processed the footage by themselves. Jesse L. Lasky purchased the finished print for his Paramount Studios, and the film, now titled GRASS, enjoyed a successful run both in The United States and abroad.
Excited by their success, Lasky dispatched the team to Siam to film a scripted action / adventure yarn in the deep jungles of the region. Released in 1927 by Paramount, CHANG again drew huge audiences and probably inspired later features and serials featuring the jungle exploits of both Frank Buck and Clyde Beatty, as well as MGM’s decision to green light TRADER HORN and its enduring series of TARZAN films.
Not content to rest on their collective laurels, Cooper and Schoedsack once again journeyed to the “Dark Continent” in order to film “location” footage for their big budget film version of THE FOUR FEATHERS. Billed by Paramount as “The last of the big silent films,” the adventure classic tale of cowardice under fire, released in 1929, featured Richard Arlen and Fay Wray as war time lovers torn apart by false accusation and bravado. Cooper’s growing experience as a film producer would inevitably lead him to more fertile fields of live action production and story telling, and so he embarked upon a most dangerous game of chance. Working from a premise involving the turning of tables in which the hunter might now become the hunted, the cinematic adventurers decided to produce a film based upon Richard Connell’s classic tale of role reversal.
Published as a short story in 1924 as THE HOUNDS OF ZAROFF, THE MOST DANGEROUS GAME was a natural progression for the maturing wild life film makers. Man would become the prey, while a crazed big game hunter, bored by matching wits with four legged predators, might now trap and destroy “the most dangerous game of all,” his own species. Directed by Irving Pichel along with Ernest B. Schoedsack, and released by Radio Pictures in 1932, THE MOST DANGEROUS GAME Starred Joel McCrea as a celebrated big game hunter deliberately ship wrecked at sea in order to lure him to a private island owned by the mad Count Zaroff.
Leslie Banks as the demented recluse welcomes “guests” to his deserted island in order to hunt them down by dawn, and add their heads to the walls of his hidden trophy room. Fay Wray once again was the object of mutual desire, while Robert Armstrong as her often inebriated brother, provided Banks with his less than satisfactory prey. With a thrilling score by Max Steiner, as well as a cast and crew that would soon become family, THE MOST DANGEROUS GAME was setting the sound stage for its sister production, being filmed simultaneously on those most dangerous sets.
KING KONG (1933) - re-release trailer