Blackstone Audiobooks‘ release of King Kong, from way back in 2005 (read our review of it HERE) is something I’ve just now finally got my grubby mits on. I was especially excited to get a hold of it because of last disc in the 5 CD set – it contains the “special features” – and they are, quite possibly, the most special of features ever to have been added to an unabridged audiobook. The narrator/producer, Stefan Rudnicki, has tracked down some of the biggest names in Science Fiction and Fantasy Fiction and asked them to give their opinions of the original King Kong. The resultant disc is some of the most interesting and insightful film commentary I’ve ever heard. The creators of the Peter Jackson King Kong DVD were utter fools not to have hired Rudnicki to produce just this sort of material for the bonus features. Not only does “disc 5” give fond memories of an absolutely iconic fantasy film, it also dispenses deeply insightful criticism and sharp commentary from those who were influenced by the film. There are even some funny related real-life stories. Harlan Ellison, for example, talks about his overwhelming need to watch the original film whenever it airs on TV – as well as his hatred for remakes of ‘perfect movies’ in general. Stop-motion animation god Ray Harryhausen steps in to talk of how the original character of Kong became the tipping point for his amazing life’s work. And Orson Scott Card boldy dismisses the original film as irrelevant to his life and work. Indeed this is perhaps the finest collection of commentary on Kong ever collected – and that it could be recorded in the commentators’ own words, and in their own voices (except for Williamson) makes this a true treasure for the ages. Kudos to Blackstone Audiobooks, they could have just cashed in on the Kong-kraze but instead they kicked it up a notch, creating something worthy of its own page in the first printing of The Encycolpedia Galactica (publication date 2362).
Well played Blackstone, truly well played.