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King Kong (1933)

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This information is for the Laserdisc release, not a DVD release.

NOTE: This commentary was only on the Criterion Collection laserdisc, now out-of-print. A different commentary track is available on the November 2005 Special Edition DVD releases.

Commentaries on this disc:

Commentary 1: Film historian Ronald Haver Rating:7.8/10 (11 votes) [graph]Login to vote or review
Reviewed by scroll2b on August 15th, 2005:Find all reviews by scroll2b
Make no mistake readers, this is the very first commentary ever recorded in the history of commentaries. Here are some of the first words ever spoken:

"Hello ladies and gentlemen, I'm Ronald Haver, and I'm here to do something which we feel is rather unique. I'm going to take you on a lecture tour of King Kong as you watch the film. The laserdisc technology offers us this opportunity and we feel it's rather unique - the ability to switch back and forth between the soundtrack and this lecture track..."
Reviewed by bigyin74 on October 3rd, 2006:Find all reviews by bigyin74
If you're a fan of King Kong, then this commentary is a must. I was very fortunate to obtain this Laserdisc before I sold my machine. I've listened to it on several occasions and gets better with each viewing.

This scene specific commentary is by the late film historian Ronald Haver. Ron covers every aspect of the film's production, covering the cast, production design, script and special effects. It is well paced and highly informative.
Reviewed by badge on September 25th, 2011:Find all reviews by badge
When Haver announces that this is to be an audio "lecture", you might wonder if this commentary is going be a little dry, but you'll be pleasantly surprised. It doesn't follow the freeform chat that we're accustomed to in commentaries now - instead it spends one third of the running time carefully detailing the antecedents of KONG and its creator (Merian C. Cooper). When the jungle drums start on the island and the crew leaves the ship, the commentary then switches gear and becomes scene-specific. There is a wealth of material to be found here, and Haver points out all kinds of things I never knew (or noticed) before - having interviewed a number of the people involved in KONG, he really has some insight into the production. As the first-ever home video audio commentary, it's fitting that the honour should be given to the classic larger-than-life KING KONG, and the bar was raised high from the outset. This was a time when commentaries were delivered by experts, historians, writers, critics, and enthusiasts who prepared the work and had a lot to say - it's a shame that many commentaries now appear to be 'obligatory extras' on DVDs that regularly feature a bunch of actors back-slapping each other and making jokes for an hour and a half.