King Kong Escapes (1967)
|King Kong Films|
The Arctic, South Seas and Japan―three enraged giant monsters of the century! Amazing! A breathtaking duel! (北極・南海そして日本―怒り狂う世紀の三大怪獣！すごいッ！息づまる驚異の大決闘！)
— International tagline
King Kong Escapes (キングコングの逆襲 is a Kingu Kongu no Gyakushū, lit. King Kong's Counterattack)1967 tokusatsu kaiju film co-produced by Toho and Rankin/Bass Productions. It is a loose adaptation of episodes of Rankin/Bass and Toiei Animation's cartoon series The King Kong Show. The film was released to Japanese theaters on July 22, 1967 and to American theaters on June 19, 1968.
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Staff role on the left, staff member's name on the right.
- Produced by Tomoyuki Tanaka
- Directed by Ishiro Honda
- Music by Akira Ifukube
- Special Effects by Eiji Tsuburaya
- Written by Takeshi Kimura
- Assistant Director of Special Effects Teruyoshi Nakano
- Art Director Takeo Kita
- Wireworks Director Fumio Nakadai
- Special Effects Set Designer Yasuyuki Inoue
Actor's name on the left, character played on the right.
- Rhodes Reason as Commander Carl Nelson (Japanese voice actor: Kei Taguchi)
- Akira Takarada as Lt. Commander Jiro Nomura
- Linda Miller as Lt. Susan Watson (Japanese voice actor: Akiko Santou)
- Hideyo Amamoto as Dr. Who
- Mie Hama as Madame Piranha
- Ikio Sawamura as Old Man of Mondo Island
- Yoshifumi Tajima as Chief
- Nadao Kirino as Dr. Who's assistant
- Sachio Sakai as Dr. Who's assistant
- Naoya Kusakawa as Dr. Who's assistant
- Susumu Kurobe as Dr. Who's subordinate
- Toru Ibuki as Dr. Who's subordinate
- Kazuo Suzuki as Dr. Who's subordinate
- Shigemi Sagawa as Dr. Who's subordinate
- Yoshio Katsube as Dr. Who's subordinate
- Haruo Suzuki as Dr. Who's subordinate
- Jun Kuroki as Jet helicopter crewman
- Takuya Yuki as Jet helicopter crewman
- Masaki Shinohara as Carrier sailor
- Andrew Hughes as United Nations journalist
- Al Kramer as United Nations journalist
- Ryuuji Kita as Police inspector
- Shoichi Hirose as Submarine Explorer crewman
- Rinsaku Ogata as Submarine Explorer crewman
- Ousmane Yusef as Submarine Explorer crewman
- Yutaka Oka as Submarine Explorer crewman
- Kazuo Hinata as Headquarters guard
- Akio Kusama as Headquarters guard
- Masaaki Tachibana as Self-Defense Force soldier
- Tadashi Okabe as Self-Defense Force soldier
- Hideo Shibuya as Self-Defense Force soldier
- Haruya Sakamoto as Self-Defense Force soldier
- Keiichirou Katsumoto as Curious spectator
- Haruo Nakajima as King Kong / Curious spectator
- Hiroshi Sekita as Gorosaurus / Mechani-Kong / Headquarters guard
Weapons, Vehicles, and Races
Following the success of their animated series, The King Kong Show, co-produced with Toei Animation, Rankin/Bass approached another Japanese studio, Toho, to produce a live-action film adaptation of the series. Toho, who had previously produced the hit film King Kong vs. Godzilla in 1962, began production on a film entitled Operation Robinson Crusoe: King Kong vs. Ebirah, pitting King Kong against the giant lobster Ebirah on a tropical island inhabited by a terrorist organization called the Red Bamboo. The film would have also featured Toho's popular monster Mothra. Rankin/Bass, however, felt the proposed film did not follow the animated series closely enough, and rejected the screenplay. Rather than completely discard the project, Toho repackaged it as a Godzilla film, replacing Kong with Godzilla, and produced Ebirah, Horror of the Deep in 1966. Toho went back to the drawing board and attempted to produce a film closer to The King Kong Show. Toho borrowed several concepts from the show, including the location of Mondo Island and the recurring villains Dr. Who and Mechani-Kong, and produced King Kong Escapes in 1967.
- Main article: King Kong Escapes/Gallery.
- Main article: King Kong Escapes (Soundtrack).
- King Kong's Counterattack (Literal Japanese Title)
- King Kong: Frankenstein's Son (King-Kong: Frankensteins Sohn; Germany)
- The Revenge of King Kong (La Revanche de King Kong; Belgium)
- King Kong: The Giant of the Forest (King Kong: Il Gigante della Foresta; Italy)
- Wrath of the Monsters (Canavarlarin Gazabi; Turkey)
- The Return of King Kong (El Regreso de King Kong; Mexico)
- King Kong on the Island of Terror (King Kong Kauhun Saarella; Finland)
- King Kong on Terror Island (King Kong på Skräckens ö; Sweden)
King Kong Escapes opened in the United States in June 1968 on a double-bill with the Don Knotts comedy, The Shakiest Gun in the West. Contemporary American reviews were mixed. New York Times film critic, Vincent Canby gave it a particularly insulting review, calling Toho's Kong an "Uncle Tom," and commenting, "The Japanese... are all thumbs when it comes to making monster movies like 'King Kong Escapes.' The Toho moviemakers are quite good in building miniature sets, but much of the process photography—matching the miniatures with the full-scale shots—is just bad... the plotting is hopelessly primitive..."
The July 15, 1968 Film Bulletin, however, gave it a more positive review, saying "Grown-ups who like their entertainments on a comic-strip level will find this good fun and the Universal release (made in Japan) has plenty of ballyhoo angles to draw the school-free youngsters in large numbers..."
DVD & Blu-ray Releases
Toho DVD (2001)
- Region: 2
- Audio: Japanese (2.0 Mono)
Universal DVD/Blu-Ray (2005/2014)
- Region: 1 (DVD) or A/1 (Blu-Ray)
- Discs: 1
- Audio: English (2.0 Mono)
- Special Features: None
- Notes: French and Spanish subtitles are included. The DVD is sometimes packaged with King Kong (2005) and King Kong vs. Godzilla.
Though King Kong Escapes is not available on Blu-ray in Japan, an HD version of the film can be rented or purchased on the Japanese versions of Amazon Video and iTunes.
- King Kong Escapes was released as part of Toho's 35th anniversary celebration.
- Akira Ifukube would later reuse and rewrite Mechani-Kong's theme for his score to Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla II.
- In this film, the dinosaur monster Gorosaurus' name is never spoken. He is only referred to by name in the 1968 film, Destroy All Monsters.
- Mechani-Kong was Toho's first robot duplicate monster, and inspired Mechagodzilla in the 1970's.
- After plans for a remake of King Kong vs. Godzilla in the 1990's fell through, Toho planned to produce a film pitting Mechani-Kong against Godzilla. However, Toho found they would be unable to utilize even King Kong's likeness for the film, and it was scrapped.
- King Kong's battle with Gorosaurus is a restaging of the famous battle in the original King Kong between Kong and the Tyrannosaurus rex. The two battles have many similarities, in particular the conclusion where Kong defeats his opponent by breaking its jaw. The battle with the Giant Sea Serpent is also reminiscent of Kong's bout with the Elasmosaurus in the original film.
- The battle with Gorosaurus also has echoes of Kong's battle with Godzilla in King Kong vs. Godzilla, most noteworthy is that Gorosaurus utilizes a drop-kick, a reference to Godzilla's famous stop-motion drop kick. This "kangaroo-kick" would later become a trademark of Gorosaurus' character, as he utilized one at a critical moment in the battle against King Ghidorah in Destroy All Monsters.
- The King Kong suit from this film would later be reused for the monster Gorilla in the Go! Greenman episode, Greenman vs. Gorilla.
- King Kong Escapes was re-released at the Winter Toho Champion Film Festival on December 20, 1973 alongside a theatrical version of episode 25 of Ultraman Taro titled Burn On! The Six Ultra Brothers, and various cartoons.
This is a list of references for King Kong Escapes. 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: 
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