The original win

Remakes will always be remakes. The originals are the real McCoy. Director Peter Jackson, with his virtuoso triple act in The Lord Of The Rings has famously said that he started making films only because of the very first King Kong. Watching it today, you can see why: every single frame of the film, made in 1933, oozes with vitality.Those who've only seen Jackson's remake, itself quite a film, will be struck by the fact that Merian C Cooper's King Kong was made at a time when 'special effects' were done by a bunch of studio hands, not an army of highly-paid, highly-specialised techies. The other fearsome creatures on King Kong's remote island—the serpent which terrorizes anything that falls in the lake, and the dinosaur which goes after trespassers on land— look like inflated rubber toys to our sophisticated eyes. But not King Kong. Though you can see he has been assembled as rudimentarily as well, but his fascination for the blonde haired Ann Darrow is very human. He is the beast, she is the beauty, and he knows it. But like every unworthy lover, he still wants her. Sigh.

For a creature feature, King Kong also has that rare thing:a sense of humour. The boatmen, who get off at the island, make funny cracks while running for their lives. And when a heavy-set fellow treads on her feet in his eagerness to see the giant in chains, a bejeweled lady in the audience says —"A gorilla? Aren't there enough in New York already?"

Another classic which has been remade, thought not quite as successfully, is The Big Sleep, a faithful adaptation of one of Raymond Chandler's most noir-ish stories. Chandler wrote hard-boiled detective fiction (he practically invented the genre) as if he knew that one day his words will turn into screenplays. You can recognise images and scenes from the story: this is a great specimen of fiction turned into crackling cinema.

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