MERIAN C. COOPER E EDGAR WALLACE
PETER JACKSON, FRAN WALSH E PHILIPPA BOYENS
PETER JACKSON, FRANCES WALSH, CAROLYNNE CUNNINGHAM E JAN BLENKIN PER WINGNUT FILMS, UNIVERSAL PICTURES, BIG PRIMATE PICTURES
ITALIAN DIALOGUE BY:
FABRIZIO DE FLAVIIS
VITTORIO DE ANGELIS
After the worldwide success of the legendary fantasy saga, “The Lord of the Rings”, Peter Jackson must have thought it natural to film the remake of another cinema legend like “King Kong”. In fact, Merian C. Cooper and Ernest B. Schoedsack’s film classic had made a big impression on the young Peter at an early age. More recently, Jackson had tried several times to convince Universal (the major blockbuster film distributor) to finance the film but film flops like “Godzilla” and “Mighty Joe Young” (Big Joe) did not convince the major. However, after the success and the Oscar for the direction of “The Lord of the Rings” things obviously changed and the director received the go-ahead. In order to stick to the original movie produced in 1933 by RKO, written by the same Cooper with Edgar Wallace, Jackson has done everything with maximum respect. First of all, choosing the same era as the original, the 1930s and recreating the same characters, adapting them to modern taste. Ann Darrow is still an actress looking for work, Carl Denham is still the director prepared to go to any length to have his film. Jack Driscoll has a different role. He is in love with Ann and here is the scriptwriter of the film that Denham wants to direct; a dreamer and a romantic, pushed by love to become the hero in the hunt for the Big Beast who has abducted the object of his love. Nearly all like the original script, complete with the tragic and moving gran finale on the top of the Empire State Building where Kong is riddled with bullets fired by the aeroplanes. What changes and what makes the remake a film to be seen is the intensity of the relationship between the gorilla and the girl. Thanks to special digital effects Kong has been majestically created and is “real” before our eyes (the actor Andy Serkis has given Kong mimic and movement using the “motion capture” technique seen before in “Polar Express”) and Ann is not the desperate screaming girl of the original film who just wants to save herself. After Kong saves her from T-Rex, Ann feels something for him and the scene where the two of them find themselves in a confusing New York and Kong lets her ice-scate is an incredibly effective sensation of tenderness. One could say that the original Ann is real, meaning that Kong, an out-of-this-world imaginary symbol, was the monster to be eliminated. Here Kong becomes Ann’s dream come true, the simple and tender being who takes her away from the misery and famine of the Great Depression to show her the sunset, be it from the highest rock in the jungle or the highest peak of the Empire State Building.
The Italian version
Carried out by Cast Doppiaggio with dialogues and dubbing under the direction of Carlo Cosolo, the Italian version of the film wins on all fronts for the richness of the voices, the talent of the interpreters and the perfect integration of the acting with Dolby Digital special effects, not always easy but here, an enormous success.
There are no major box office stars in this King Kong, even though the actors have been seen before in other films and Adrien Brody (Jack Driscoll) won an Oscar for his magnificent interpretation of “The Pianist”. Jack Black makes Carl Denham a different character from the original film enrichened by the Orson Welles touch (actor-director always ill treated by his production company which was RKO). Boastful, decisive enthusiastic, Black gives us a sublime interpretation and with the dubbing we find a superb FABRIZIO VIDALE who recreates tones and pauses in perfect adherence to the gesticulation of the actor. CLAUDIA CATANI, Naomi Watts/Ann Darrow is exemplary. With her huge wide open eyes, Watts was a perfect choice for the role of an out of work actress, in need of money (with furthermore, an incredible likeness in more than one shot to Nicole Kidman) and Catani gives us a splendid interpretation with a wide range of tones from the resigned feeling at the beginning, the comical effects of the scene in which Watts tries the lines with which she has to present herself to her idol Jack Driscoll in front of the mirror, to the total change from the moment Kong enters the scene: this is where the magic of dubbing is released and set free in all its glory and Claudia becomes Naomi: terror, exasperation, apprehension and at the end tenderness and love. All these states of mind transpire from the interpretation and inevitably capture the spectator who, with Claudia, Naomi, Ann lives the sad tale of Kong, the beast who dies for the love of his belle. Her simple whispering “beautiful” to Kong whilst watching the sunset and her desperate “no!” of pain whilst the planes hit him are difficult to forget.
Another grand voice is that of Adrien Brody’s in the role of Jack Driscoll, the writer in love with his first actress, quite a different role from the original film character which was that of a rough unrefined sailor. MASSIMILIANO MANFREDI gives us another fine interpretation and it is always a pleasure to listen to him. He has dubbed Adrien both in “The Pianist” and in “The Village”.
Other famous voices are those of Roberto Pedicini (the captain, a likeable rogue absolutely perfect for him), Stefano Crescentini (Preston), Fabrizio de Flaviis (the tender Jimmy) and Massimo Corvo (Hayes). Vittorio De Angelis (the grandson of the first dubber of Carl Denham!) adds humorous touches to the role of the star Bruce Baxter, interpreted by Kyle Chandler. It’s always a pleasure to re-listen to old friends, in smaller roles, like Sergio Graziani and Ludovica Modugno to name just two.
The simple dialogues by Carlo Cosolo manage to recreate the atmosphere and the language of the original classic in black and white which was dubbed by CDC in 1949 (one of the first dubbed films) with the unforgettable voices of Renata Marini (Ann Darrow), Gualtiero de Angelis (Carl Denham) and Giorgio Capecchi (Jack Driscoll). We’re sure that the young stars of today, dubbing this colossal film, have ideally dedicated their work to their glorious colleagues of the past who have preceded them in their roles, just like the film in the credit titles is dedicated, with affection, to the makers of the 1933 classic and in particular to the incomparable Fay Wray.
[original review in Italian by Nunziante Valoroso]