Konga (1961)

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Konga
The poster for Konga
Directed by John Lemont
Producer Herman Cohen, Nathan Cohen, Stuart Levy
Written by Herman Cohen, Aben Kandel
Music by Gerard Schurmann
Distributor Anglo-Amalgamated DistributorsUK
American International PicturesU.S.
Rating Not Rated
Budget $500,000
Running time 90 minutes
(1 hour, 30 minutes)
Aspect ratio 1.66:1
Rate this film!
2.00
(3 votes)

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Not since "King Kong" has the screen exploded with such mighty fury and spectacle!
„ 

— Tagline

Konga is a 1961 British science fiction monster film produced by Anglo-Amalgamated Productions. It was released to British theaters on March 26, 1961 and to American theaters on May 3 of the same year by American International Pictures as a double feature with Master of the World.

Plot

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To be added.

Staff

Staff role on the left, staff member's name on the right.

  • Directed by   John Lemont
  • Written by   Herman Cohen, Aben Kandel
  • Produced by   Herman Cohen, Nathan Cohen, Stuart Levy
  • Music by   Gerard Schurmann
  • Cinematography by   Desmond Dickinson
  • Edited by   Jack Slade

Cast

Actor's name on the left, character played on the right.

  • Michael Gough   as   Dr. Charles Decker
  • Margo Johns   as   Margaret
  • Jess Conrad   as   Bob Kenton
  • Claire Gordon   as   Sandra Banks
  • Austin Trevor   as   Dean Foster
  • Jack Watson   as   Superintendent Brown
  • George Pastell   as   Professor Tagore
  • Vanda Godsell   as   Bob's mother
  • Stanley Morgan   as   Inspector Lawson
  • Grace Arnold   as   Miss Barnesdell
  • Leonard Sachs   as   Bob's father
  • Nicholas Bennett   as   Daniel
  • Kim Tracy   as   Mary
  • Rupert Osborne   as   Eric Kenton
  • Waveney Lee   as   Janet Kenton
  • John Welsh   as   Commissioner Garland
  • Paul Stockman   as   Konga (uncredited)


Appearances

Monsters

Weapons, vehicles, and races

  • Growth serum
  • Semi-machine guns
  • Bazookas


Development

After the success of Herman Cohen's previous British-made film that also starred Michael Gough, Horrors of the Black Museum, Nathan Cohen (who was no relation to Herman Cohen) of Anglo-Amalgamated Productions approached and asked Herman Cohen to make another exploitation film. As Cohen had admired the film King Kong for a long time, he thought of a film about a giant ape shot in color. Due to the success of Herman Cohen and American International Pictures' past film, I Was a Teenage Werewolf, the film was initially pitched as "I Was a Teenage Gorilla", which was also its working title.[1] Cohen also brought in British director John Lemont. Cohen then paid RKO Pictures a total amount of $25,000 for the name of King Kong so he could use it for exploitation purposes. Anglo-Amalgamated and AIP each provided half of the funding for the US$500,000 film, with each studio receiving distribution rights in their respective hemispheres.

Production

The film was shot at Merton Park Studios, a British film production studio that was located in Merton Park, South London.

The scene in the film where Konga grows to giant size, destroys Decker's manor and breaks through the glass sealing of his greenhouse was done using a built set, but when Konga treks throughout London, because of the tight budget it was accomplished with traveling mattes, an effective but difficult process that dragged on long after principal photography ended. "It took over a year and a half to get those bloody special effects done perfect," according to Cohen; Cohen also said "Konga was in color and that's a whole different bag of beans. To have Konga hold Michael Gough, what I had to do there was matte five different scenes on one frame." When Konga holds people, the people were replaced with dolls. The scene where Konga dies was shot in the Embankment of London; Cohen's production manager warned him that he would never get permission from the police to have them shoot in the streets, but Cohen did just that. They accepted, but because they shot semi-machine guns and bazookas at the sky, more than a few people were startled. In Cohen's words, he said "I had a lot of apologies to make."[1]

The uncredited actor in Konga's suit, Paul Stockman, revealed how he got to be in the gorilla suit in a interview. After introducing himself, he said "How I came to get the part of Konga: my agent told me there was an American producer looking for a six-foot actor. Would I go to Mac’s Rehearsal Rooms, Leicester Square, London? So I toddled along; I walked into the room and there’s 20 six-foot tall blokes! I thought, “Oh, dear, it’s a lineup!” Anyway, the producer Herman Cohen came in carrying a big cardboard box. He said, “The actor I need must be exactly six foot, so if you’re six foot, one or five foot, eleven, thank you for coming but you won’t do.” So everybody left except three, two other guys and myself. The producer then opened a cardboard box and took out the gorilla headpiece. He said, “Now I’d like all three of you to try this on because the guy who gets the part will have to wear this six to eight hours a day, so see how you feel with it.” So, we each put the gorilla head on. The other two had blue eyes and I’ve got brown eyes. And we all knew a gorilla has brown eyes. So that was how I got the part!". He also said "From that, interesting, too, we had an assistant director called Buddy…Buddy was one of those guys, very efficient, he kept pushing me around and said, “Over here! Over there!” And I got fed up with him. And I decided on the last day of filming I was gonna give him one. However, the last day of filming, he wasn’t there. I said, “Where’s Buddy?” And they said, “He’s gone to work on a new film.” So we finished the film and the next day we had the special wrap party. All the actors and crew got together, made a special party, and somebody came and tapped me on the shoulder and said, “Paul, you’re wanted on the phone.” I thought, “What? Who could be phoning me here?” So I picked up the phone, and said, “Hello?” And the voice said, “Hello, Paul, it’s Buddy!” I said, “Buddy?” He said, “Yes!” He said, “Buddy! I don’t know if you know it, but they just started working on a new film, and they need a guy to play the monster, it’s called Dr. Blood’s Coffin. And I told the producer what a lovely, sweet-natured guy you were! And he’s agreed to see you.” And guess what! I got the part. So it shows you, always be nice to everybody. You never know how it’s going to turn out!".[2]

In a 2017 episode of the BBC's TV series The One Show, Jess Conrad revealed that he was scheduled to sing a song for the film, but it was cut.

Gallery

Main article: Konga (film)/Gallery.

Alternate titles

  • Giant Ape Monster Konga (巨大猿怪獣コンガ,   Kyodaien Kaijū Konga) (Japan)
  • King Kong (Spain, Turkey)

Theatrical releases

  • United Kingdom - March 26, 1961
  • United States - May 3, 1961
    • Boston - March 22, 1961
  • Portugal - January 3, 1978

Adaptations

A 144-page paperback tie-in novelization of Konga was published by Monarch Books in 1960 and was written by Dudley Dean McGaughy under the pseudonym Dean Owen. Charlton Comics published a 24-issue Konga comic book series from 1960 to 1965. While the first issue is a adaptation of the film itself, subsequent issues would revolve around the adventures of a second Konga who was created after the first one died and various other monsters making appearances. The last issue of the series would be renamed Fantastic Giants and would feature four stories, 2 of them are reprints of the first issues of Gorgo and Konga, the other 2 are original stories. The series would later be followed up by a three-issue spin-off miniseries called The Return of Konga (later retitled Konga's Revenge after the first issue).

Video releases

Warner Home Video VHS (1990)

  • Tapes: 1
  • Audio: English
  • Notes: Out of print.

MGM DVD (2005)

  • Region: 1
  • Discs: 1
  • Audio: English (PMC Mono)
  • Subtitles: English, French
  • Notes: Out of print.

MGM DVD (2007) [Midnite Movies Double Feature]

  • Region: 1
  • Discs: 1
  • Audio: English (Mono and Stereo), Spanish (Mono)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
  • Special features: None
  • Notes: Packaged as a two-sided disc with Yongary, Monster from the Deep on Side A. Out of print.

Kino Lorber DVD/Blu-ray (2019) [Kino Lorber Studio Classics]

  • Region: A
  • Discs: 1
  • Audio: English (2.0 Mono)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Special features: Theatrical trailer, radio spot, image gallery, theatrical trailers for A*P*E, Dinosaurus! and The Land Unknown
  • Notes: Out of print.

Network Blu-ray (2022)

  • Region: B
  • Discs: 1
  • Audio: English (2.0 Mono)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Special features: Theatrical trailer, U.S. version's radio spot, image galleries, interview with Jess Conard, eight-page booklet
  • Notes: Out of print.

Reception

The film was reviewed in The New York Times, in which film critic Eugene Archer noted that it played to "misplaced guffaws". Archer also stated "... the British 'Konga' is nothing more than an overblown 'King Kong,' hammily played by Michael Gough and an improbable-looking ape."

In a review by time out magazine, Konga was considered to be a "Inept, silly, and ludicrously enjoyable monster movie, with Gough as the mad boffin who injects a chimp with a growth serum, only to see it turn into an unaccredited actor in a gorilla suit. Thereafter the ape grabs a Michael Gough doll and heads for Big Ben. Deeply political."

On the website Rotten Tomatoes the film holds a 33% approval rating, and on IMDB it holds a weighted average of 4/10 stars.

Videos

Trailers

Konga trailer

Trivia

  • The gorilla suit used for Konga in this film was used in several other films in the past
  • The German import DVD release of the film has a Super 8 version of the film (German language only) as a bonus feature.
  • When Dr. Decker is showing his movies of his adventures in Africa, many of the stock sequences come from footage taken of inhabitants of Papua New Guinea or nearby islands.
  • When Konga arrives at Big Ben, the time shows about 11:38. However, in about five minutes movie time, Big Ben strikes 12:00 midnight as Konga lies dead by the side of Dr. Decker.

References

This is a list of references for The King of the Monsters/Sandbox/Konga (film). These citations are used to identify the reliable sources on which this article is based. These references appear inside articles in the form of superscript numbers, which look like this: [1]

Comments

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