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King Kong Producer Dies

Posted by: Loren Coleman on November 11th, 2010

Breaking News:

Dino De Laurentiis, producer of some of Italy’s best-known films including works by Federico Fellini and Roberto Rossellini, has died in Los Angeles aged 91, the media reported on Thursday, November 11, 2010.

Cryptozoologically and Forean filmwise, De Laurentiis’s name has been tied to the legendary King Kong (1976) remake, which was a commercial hit; the killer whale film Orca (1977); The White Buffalo (1977); the disaster movie Hurricane (1979); the remake of Flash Gordon (1980);  David Lynch‘s Dune (1984); and King Kong Lives (1986).

The Oscar-winner produced several famous mainstream films in the United States, including Serpico with Al Pacino in 1973, Three Days of the Condor with Robert Redford and Faye Dunaway in 1975 and Ridley Scott’s Hannibal in 2001.

“Cinema has lost one of its greats,” said Walter Veltroni, an Italian lawmaker and former mayor of Rome who founded the Rome Film Festival.

“The name of Dino De Laurentiis is tied to the history of cinema,” he said.

De Laurentiis was born on August 8, 1919 in Torre Annunziata near Naples and moved to the United States in the late 1960s. His parents were pasta makers. He started out in film aged 20 and became one of the leading producers of Italy’s post-war cinema boom and the neo-realist genre.

De Laurentiis produced more than 500 films over his entire career.

King Kong (1976) starred Jessica Lange, Jeff Bridges, and Charles Grodin. Intriguingly, famed sci-fi movie man Forrest J Ackerman played an uncredited fleeing extra in crowd and award-winning makeup artist Rick Baker was the uncredited actor inside the more human-sized model of the King Kong outfit. Dino De Laurentiis was the credited producer for the film, and, as the poster of the time noted, it was his production company that was responsible for this film version of King Kong.

Plot: An expedition of the “Petrox” company, is exploring in search of petrol. A strange island where they arrive is the home of a giant ape, King Kong, that is captured by the expedition in order to make money exhibiting it to the world.

About Loren Coleman
Loren Coleman is one of the world’s leading cryptozoologists, some say “the” leading. Certainly, he is acknowledged as the current living American researcher and writer who has most popularized cryptozoology in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Starting his fieldwork and investigations in 1960, after traveling and trekking extensively in pursuit of cryptozoological mysteries, Coleman began writing to share his experiences in 1969. An honorary member of Ivan T. Sanderson’s Society for the Investigation of the Unexplained in the 1970s, Coleman has been bestowed with similar honorary memberships of the North Idaho College Cryptozoology Club in 1983, and in subsequent years, that of the British Columbia Scientific Cryptozoology Club, CryptoSafari International, and other international organizations. He was also a Life Member and Benefactor of the International Society of Cryptozoology (now-defunct). Loren Coleman’s daily blog, as a member of the Cryptomundo Team, served as an ongoing avenue of communication for the ever-growing body of cryptozoo news from 2005 through 2013.


2 Responses to “King Kong Producer Dies”

  1. Kopite responds:

    RIP Dino.

    I was always a fan of Dino’s Kong 1976. Sure, it wasn’t a patch on the original and was overall a disappointment but I’d still rather watch it instead of the the overblown sillyness of Peter Jackson’s 2005 Kong. It was reasonably successful at the box office (one of the biggest hits of 1976/77) and not the flop than some today accuse it of being.

    Besides the lack lustre FX (though the facial closeups of Kong were excellent) the story is actually told quite well and there are generally decent performances all round, especially from Bridges and Grodin. Lange gets better as the movie progresses. It has good pacing and a nice script (beyond a few cheesy tongue in cheek lines) and at least it tried to be re-imaginitive rather than just copy the original.

    It always got about a 6/10 or a 7/10 for me. Good film let down by the so so FX but let’s face it there was never going to be any way in the mid 1970s to pull off a convincing Kong. Even Jaws had the benefit of being able to hide the shark for the most part.

    I can’t forgive him for the dreadful Orca though. A transparent Jaws cash in if ever there was one. The idea of Richard Harris trying to emulate Robert Shaw by shooting harpoons into a great white shark was laughable. No wonder it flopped.

    But again, RIP Dino.

  2. thatericn responds:

    Yes, rest in peace.

    I personally think the first third/half of Kong ’76 is very well done, building mystery and suspense quite nicely.

    Thanks for posting, Loren, if only for that Jessica Lange image. Wow!



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