King Kong (Modern Library Classics) (英語) ペーパーバック – 2005/8/16
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Introduction by Greg Bear
Preface by Mark Cotta Vaz
The giant prehistoric gorilla King Kong is one of the most recognized images in our culture. So great is the mighty Kong’s hold on the popular imagination that his story–a gripping yarn of man versus nature, coupled with a fantastical update of the Beauty and the Beast legend–has been thrice made into a motion picture (most recently in 2005) and referenced endlessly in every medium, from books to prime-time sitcoms.
Beneath King Kong’s cultural significance, however, is a tense and surprisingly tender story. One cannot help but be frightened by Kong’s uncontrollable fury, be saddened over the giant’s capture, mistreatment, and exploitation by venal showmen, or sympathize with the beast’s ill-fated affection for the down-on-her-luck starlet Ann Darrow.
This Modern Library edition of a true colossus among adventure stories is reprinted from the original 1932 novelization of the movie script, and includes a Preface by Mark Cotta Vaz, the preeminent biographer of Merian C. Cooper, producer of the original 1933 classic film.
Greg Bear is the author of more than twenty-five books, including Darwin’s Radio and Dead Lines. He has been awarded two Hugos and five Nebulas for his fiction.
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Wallace _did_ co-author an early screenplay of the movie with Merian C. Cooper, the original creator of _King Kong_. Shortly after turning in the first draft of this screenplay, Wallace died suddenly of pneumonia in 1932. A more complete screenplay was done by James A. Creelman and Ruth Rose. By this time, very little of the Wallace storyline and characters had survived. Delos W. Lovelace was then hired to write the novelization of the movie for the then-princely sum of $600.00. He used various versions of the movie scripts for his raw material, but it is doubtful that he relied very much on any material by Wallace. Unlike most movie novelizations today, the book was released a year _before_ the movie. It was considered to be good publicity.
I rather expected to be disappointed when I read Lovelace's version of _King Kong_ (1932). I was pleasantly surprised. Lovelace tells his story in a brisk, no-nonsense style of writing. The action sequences are all well-handled, and the dialogue is snappy (if a touch old-fashioned). The characters are rounded just enough so that we can distinguish them from one another and identify with them. And then there is King Kong. He is one formidable beast:
Kong came lumbering up the slope, and at sight of the men on the log roared out and beat his chest. Stopping at a lightning-riven tree he placed Ann's unconscious form in a notch as high up as his great arms could reach and then lunged forward to attack this new enemy so unexpectedly appearing to threaten possession of his bright-haired prize. Still angry from his earlier fight with the tricerotops, he was doubly enraged now by the men. And at the further sight of the three-horned beast charging toward the ravine his rage broke all bounds. (94)
Loveless includes one scene in the novel that was cut from the movie on the grounds of being too strong for audience tastes. It is a scene in which Kong hurls hapless sailors to their deaths into a pit filled with giant spiders and lizards. Merian Cooper decided that this scene would be too much of a "show stopper" for audiences of the day after an initial preview. But it seems to work well enough in the book.
The ending of the novel is perhaps a little bit _too_ brisk, a little bit _too_ rushed. But all the basic elements are there, including Kong's famous epitaph.
I recommend the Modern Library Classics edition, which is handsomely bound and which contains excellent introductory material by Mark Cotta Vaz and Greg Bear. I can't quite bring myself to call the novel a real classic, but it is certainly no time-waster, either. Wallace couldn't have done better if he had written it himself.
Some Notable differences:
The Spider Pit Scene is in tact
Instead of Kong wreaking mayhem on the streets of New York, he actually hops from building to building until he reaches the Empire State Building.
Kong climbs the empire state building at night
Why Cant we read this is English class?
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