Juxtaposition Blogathon: Double Features: King Kong and The Searchers
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.