This is a beautifully produced album that nicely compliments the modern
reconstruction recordings of King Kong made by Gerhardt, Fred Steiner
and the Morgan/Stromberg/Marco Polo team.
It comprises 11 tracks devoted to a radio play-like version of King Kong
with dialogue and sound effects as well as the Steiner score demonstrating
the remarkable ground-breaking effectiveness of Max's creation. No other
film or score from that era seems to have made such a lasting impression.
The remaining 9 tracks take in music for the approach to the Forgotten Island,
the Jungle Dance, the pursuit into the Jungle, fights with prehistoric monsters
and the final music as Kong is killed atop of the Empire State Building.
In a message at the beginning of the lavishly produced booklet which is part
of the slim-line board-backed presentation (the CD slips rather too tightly
into a pocket on the inside front cover), Danny Elfman aptly considers Steiner's
King Kong score to be the first real film score. Elfman goes
on to remark: "
the entire concept of a full-blown, synchronised film
score was really defined with King Kong
it also happens to be
a truly great score
It is by turns, rhythmic and hypnotic; propulsive
and whimsical; moody and evocative. Most importantly, it clearly defines
the personality of Kong, and his world, bringing the audience into
an alternative reality
I think it is important to remember that when
Steiner sat down to score King Kong, there were no references. He
was practically starting from a clean slate - uncharted territory. So many
things that Steiner did, along with Waxman and Korngold and other incredibly
gifted early explorers, we take for granted now that the language has been
defined. I personally owe Max Steiner and the score to King Kong a
great personal debt, I have often quoted from it and used it for inspiration.
Steiner really is the granddaddy, the godfather of this wonderful, maddening,
crazy art that so many of us are still fans of today." The 20-page booklet
also contains many movie stills and star photographs, storyboard illustrations,
drawings and poster illustrations. Of particular interest are: the
pre-première advertisement listing attending celebrities, plus another
listing of the fabulous special effects the audience would see; the programme
of the on-stage, pre-film entertainment; and an unauthorised published account
of behind-the-scenes techniques (with inaccuracies) from the May 1933 edition
of Screen Book Magazine. Detailed essays on the production of the
film and Max Steiner's music are included together with full cast and production
For King Kong and Max Steiner fans this is a compulsory purchase