Detractors of this 1976 remake are probably right in thinking this one is pure camp, although it's not as bad as all that. According to Susan Sackett's 'The Hollywood Reporter Book of Box Office Hits (1990 edition),' producer Dino De Laurentiis' 'King Kong' is the third highest grosser of that year, made for $24 million, and cleared a $12,915,000 after film cost. Contrary to my initial assumption, this is a Paramount Pictures production, the Kongfrontation amusement park ride is at Universal Studios.
As with 'Jaws,' their were malfuntions with the respective mechanical 'animal,' in this case a 40 foot tall gorilla robot, necesitating makeup artist Rick Baker to don several self-made costumes in order to 'ape' the film's monster. The giant 'machine' is seen briefly in the Shea Stadium sequence when Kong escapes from his cage, and leaves much to be desired in the special effects department.
There are a few set pieces in this ambitious yet inferior movie: A muddy Dwan's (heroine played by then twenty-seven-year-old ex-model Jessica Lange) waterfall bath, assisted by the title lug, is endearing and a little funny (check out Kong's lecherous smile as he helps her out of the water); Baker's meticulous primate designs; and Dwan's sedation and initial reaction at the 'altar.'
Overall, the pace and drama are fairly tame to today's film standards. If you've got a young family, maybe 'King Kong' will go down better with plenty of popcorn! At any rate, introduce it to your children.