There can't be many more films that deserve the title 'classic' than the 1933 version of King Kong. The image of King Kong swinging from the Empire State Building swatting aeroplanes must be one of the best know film clips of all time. However, the film was a milestone in many respects, not least the score penned by the great Max Steiner, which was one of the first to use a full orchestra and also to demonstrate the dramatic effect music can have in under-pinning high tension scenes. It is surprising, therefore, that such an important score has not been the subject of a high profile release before now, although there has been at least a digital re-recording released in 1996 and an earlier re-recording dating from 1976.
Rhino Movie Music and Turner Classic Movies have put together a magnificent release that combines the story and music from the film. The first eleven cues are more than forty-five minutes of dialogue, sound-effects, screaming and music which virtually give an audio version of the film. Played at a reasonable volume, it certainly scares the neighbours!
The last nine cues on the CD contain a 24 minute 'King Kong Music Suite' which, is billed as previously unreleased. This suite illustrates Max Steiner's genius which, after almost seventy years, still reeks of power and suspense. These tracks represent virtually all the surviving music threaded together into a highly enjoyable suite. While the sound quality is not up to modern standards, great efforts have obviously been made in restoring the recordings. Rhino have also supplied a superb 38 booklet packed with reproductions of stills, publicity material and extensive notes on the film and its production. This is a great package and highly recommended for any classic film buffs.