Extra Scenes in Long
|Nowadays, with the advent of DVDs, it is standard to release versions of a film with added scenes. Once again, King Kong 1976 anticipated the future. As all good Kongoisseurs know, an expanded 3 hour version of King Kong (4 hours with commercials) appeared on TV twice with 45 minutes of restored footage. It was shown first over "two colossal nights" on NBC on Sat. Sept. 16th and Sun. Sept. 17th, 1978. Then it was repeated, again over two nights, Thurs. May 8th and Fri. May 9th, 1980. Later, in 1983, the shorter theatrical version was shown on a single three-hour night Sun. May 2nd, 1983 to coincide with the Oscars where Lange had been nominated for Tootsie (which had been in theatres in 1982, the year before). While mostly the expanded version is padded with extraneous footage, such as showing Kong batter the Skull Island wall endlessly, some extra scenes, left on the cutting room floor, were restored and make it worth hunting down a copy if you can. The following is a list of the main extra scenes. (Note: The TV Guide ad on the left is for the 4 hour 2-part version shown in 1980. Big thanks to Jim Avey for the scan and to Kirk Jarvinen, Raymond Dowaliby, Jim Avey, Don Mankowski and Jerry for finally tracking down the dates. Way to go, guys!)|
Update: a French version 2-disc DVD is now available including most, though not all, of the deleted scenes. For example, it doesn't include the cool shot of Kong striding down a NY street. It's available online from dvdrama.
Adventure of a lifetime! The Passion! The Peril! The
Kong! Jessica Lange is the beauty possessed by the beast of
Jeff Bridges is the hero, torn between love and power...in the greatest
adventure a woman could ever know! King
Kong! In two colossal nights...beginning tonight!"
NBC commercial spot, 1978
Watch her bring out the animal in him! As obsessive desire
unforgettable 3-hour movie spectacular! And this tall dark
takes this Oscar nominee to new heights! In the colossal
NBC commercial spot, 1983
Extra Scenes from 3-Hour TV version
Jack Prescott is shown in a bar, secretly watching one of
the Petrox's crew who is wearing a company jersey. Jack has
paid off the bartender to slip a knockout drug into the crewman's drink. While this
scene makes it clear how Jack got ahold of a Petrox jersey, presumably
it was decided that the audience really didn't care and so it was
edited out of the theatrical release.
Some of the Petrox crew are playing cards on deck when Captain Ross,
over the ship's speaker,
orders them to assemble for a meeting. They are mystified because
the ship is changing course. This scene
actually remains in the published screenplay, so it must have been
dropped fairly late. Also, you'll notice that the voice over the
loud speaker isn't really John Randolph ("Captain Ross"). They
must have edited the scene out before getting Randolph to loop his
dialogue and, when they put it back for the TV long version, they just
kept the voice which the actors had used for cueing.
Earlier, Wilson told his men to "Take him below and lock him up until
he's hungry enough to stop spouting apeshit." Later, the camera pushes
through a porthole to show Jack locked up and getting more and more
pissed off. He rises
and bangs on the door, demanding some food, then takes off his jersey
and lies down on the bunkbed. The scene was probably dropped just
because it didn't really serve any purpose (except maybe to give the
female viewers a thrill. You may recall, in later life, Bridges was
famous for his washboard abs.)
Having rescued Dwan from the life-raft, you will recall we are treated
to a montage of idyllic scenes aboard the Petrox Explorer. This scene
was cut out in which Jack comes upon a crewman, Garcia, peering upside
down through the porthole into Dwan's cabin to watch her shower in the
nude. A second crewman holds Garcia's legs. Jack, the
gentleman, sneaks up on them, hands a life-preserver down to Garcia,
then tickles the other crewman until he drops Garcia into the water. It's
a cute scene and it's a shame they dropped it. They may have felt
it just wasn't believable because, in reality, it would be very
dangerous. For a moment, it looks as if Garcia is going to be
sucked into the ship's prop!
After Kong escapes from his escape-proof cage, there is pandemonium.
Wilson tries to flee but comes face to face with an irate Petrox exec
brandishing a cane, who tells him, "Petrox will find you! You can
hide on the moon! We'll find you!" Obviously,
once it was decided to have Kong kill Wilson, this scene became
pointless. Even so, it is awkward. If you were trapped in a
panicking mob with a forty foot gorilla stomping around, would you stop
to chew out your employee?
In the theatrical release, Wilson was stomped by Kong. In the
published screenplay, we think Wilson was stomped, then
realize only his hat was crushed. In this long version, the foot
comes down on Wilson, then lifts to reveal -- the crushed hat. It
is a very confusing shot. Was Wilson still alive, but just off camera,
as in the screenplay? Or are we to infer that Wilson literally
stuck to the bottom of Kong's foot! Either way, they left the
crushed hat on the editing room floor.
As Kong stomps down a New York street, he encounters a car which he
picks up and
throws into the side of a building. They may have dropped this
scene because the car looks like a toy car when Kong picks it up.
Also, they may have felt it was unnecessarily malicious on Kong's
a shame because it's a pretty cool scene. Strangely,
publicity shots from this scene cropped up in magazine articles
advertizing the movie, from which I suspect it must have been dropped
A military top brass is shown cancelling the jet fighters and
sending in helicopters instead. This is followed by shots of the
"standing down". It is an oddly pointless scene. However, I
have heard that originally the filmmakers were going to use jet
fighters to strafe Kong on the WTC. Unable to get American
fighters, they had planned to use Canadian aircraft. This deal
fell through and they went with helicopters. But that explains why
early versions of the movie poster show only jets, the helicopters
being added in later. Also that explains why the jet in the
posters is red and white -- the colours of Canada.
8) As Jack and Dwan run down a NY street, Jack tries to hotwire a car without success. The scene was probably dropped just because it wasn't needed.
9) Kong is shown striding down a New York street with Dwan in hand. This was one of the most difficult effects shots, requiring the compositing of three moving elements: a moving background, a walking Rick Baker in ape suit, and a struggling Jessica Lange in the ape's paw. In American Cinematographer, the filmmakers explained how difficult it was to do, and how pleased they were with the result. Alas, it simply wasn't good enough. It simply doesn't look like Kong is really walking. As a result, difficult or not, it ended up on the editing room floor. Nonetheless, I think it is the coolest of the extra scenes!