I’ve only seen Bruce Springsteen once; when he opened for David Bromberg in Boston in 1973. Bromberg was touring in with the band he’d used on his new release, “Wanted, Dead or Alive.” The cover of “Wanted, Dead or Alive” parodied “King Kong,” showing David Bromberg atop the Empire State Building as angels, not airplanes, circled around him.
Springsteen, Bromberg and Kong are back together again — this time at the Montclair Film Festival. A movie about the making of Springsteen’s album, “Darkness at the Edge of Town,” is showing on Saturday and Sunday night. The movie, “David Bromberg: Unsung Hero”, by Montclair filmmaker Beth Toni Kruvant, was enthusiastically received by a sold-out crowd at the Claridge on Friday. And a restored version of the 1933 “King Kong” will be shown on the big screen on Sunday afternoon at 4:30 at the Bellevue Theater.
“King Kong” is shown frequently on television, but rarely in a theater. Its inclusion on the Montclair Film Festival schedule provides a great opportunity to see it as it was meant to be seen. Here are a few reasons to put it on your moviegoing agenda.
1. King Kong is about a giant gorilla. While it is fun to watch the movie at home on tv, the truth is, Kong wouldn’t fit in your living room. To see him on a scale approaching full size, you have to see him in a theater.
2. You get to hear the great Max Steiner soundtrack at something approaching true orchestral volume.
3. Oh sure, there were great fight scenes in “Rocky” and in “Raging Bull”, but the ultimate smackdown is King Kong vs. T-Rex, choreographed by the great Willis O’Brien. It’s a remarkable battle, and it was all done in stop-time animation.
4. Fay Wray: That face! Those legs! That scream!
5. What a cast: Robert Armstrong as Carl Denham; Bruce Cabot as Jack Driscoll, Frank Reicher as Captain Englehorn, Noble Johnson as the Skull Island tribal leader, and in best supporting role as an NYC icon, The Empire State Building.
6. Carl Denham said it, and I can’t say it any better: ”It’s money and adventure and fame. It’s the thrill of a lifetime and a long sea voyage that starts at six o’clock tomorrow morning.”
7. Kong: The 8th Wonder of the World!
Go to the Montclair Film Festival’s website for times, venues and tickets.
Bob Mellman, a lawyer, lives in Montclair and is an active member of the local music scene.