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Colorizing Kong

December 08, 1990

Thanks to Ted Turner and company, King Kong is back. But a different Kong. This Kong roars in stereo and is brown (or is it purple?). Yes, it's true, Ted Turner and his set of magic markers finally got ahold of old King Kong.

Look what they've done to my Kong, Ma.

I can remember the day vividly as yesterday, 19 years ago when I first saw "King Kong." With subsequent viewings, my horror and entrancement turned into appreciation--appreciation of the magic the filmmakers used in turning a 13-inch puppet into a ferocious beast.

But now, due to Ted Turner, the magic is gone. By his colorization process, he shines a bright light on the magic of the film, showing every trap door, every mirror, every visible wire. You now know without question where they used paintings, sets, miniatures, mattes, etc. Not only are they visible, but the crude special effects now distract from the narrative. Using black-and-white film was an advantage for the filmmakers, not a hindrance.

Ted Turner has turned Kong into a 13-inch puppet.

When Denham proclaims at the end of the film "it was beauty that killed the beast," I'll know differently. It was Ted Turner that killed the beast.

PATRICK A. McMAHON

Redondo Beach

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