Archive for August 23rd, 2011
Last night, at the New Beverly Cinema in Los Angeles, Kevin Smith told his people, the latest sold-out crowd for his new film, Red State, in so many words, “If you build it, they will come.” It certainly worked for him, so why shouldn’t he say it? But it sounded like bullshit when I first saw Field of Dreams, and it sounds like bullshit coming from Smith. I remember a discussion between Orson Welles and Merv Griffin on the latter’s talk show in the early Eighties. Griffin said that nowadays everyone is heard from. Welles knew that was bullshit. Just the other day I read someone who was saying the same thing, that now, finally, thanks to Twitter and Facebook and the internet in general, everyone has a voice. I’m sure in a 100 years someone will be saying the same thing is finally true thanks to whatever happens to be the latest invention. Unfortunately, it probably will be no truer then than it was in Welles’ time or is in our own. When someone like Smith says, “If you build it, they will come,” it sure sounds inspiring, doesn’t it? But it’s still bullshit.
You don’t often find King Kong and The Searchers linked together, but this is an oversight which I intend to correct here. Consider these points:
1. In King Kong, aborigine Kong abducts a woman. In The Searchers, aborigine Scar abducts several women.
2. In King Kong, a rescue party is formed to save the woman, but eventually this search party dwindles in size to one. In The Searchers, a rescue party sets out to rescue the women, but eventually dwindles in size to two.
3. Kong is killed, and the woman is saved. Scar is killed, and the woman is saved.
Perhaps you think these broad similarities are pure coincidence. Did you know that one of the producers of The Searchers was the main force behind King Kong?
King Kong was co-directed and co-produced by Merian C. Cooper. Cooper is also credited with the story idea, which he said originated in one of his dreams. (There’s the Surrealist connection.) Years later, Cooper was executive producer on The Searchers. Several years earlier, in fact, during the thirties, Cooper had formed Argosy Films with John Ford, and it was Cooper who convinced C. V. Whitney to put up the money to produce The Searchers. I have not been able to determine who it was that “found” the source novel by Alan Le May, but I would not be surprised if it was Cooper. The Searchers was the last film that Cooper and Ford made together, but one of their earlier collaborations was Mighty Joe Young (not directed by Ford, but produced by Argosy Pictures), which has an obvious link to King Kong.