Friday, August 29, 2008


Matt Zoller Seitz has inadvertantly contributed, in his own very special way, to a conversation some of us were having around here last week regarding the merits of the 1976 John Guillermin-directed, Dino De Laurentiis-produced King Kong. Just press play for some musical insight, courtesy of Chet Baker and Matt's imaginative juxtaposition of familiar yet heretofore unrelated sound and picture, into the interior workings of Kong's love for Dwan and the emotional underpinnings of that great climb up the World Trade Center. Thanks to MZS (the Insominiac Dad) for a lovely piece. (You can follow the comments, including some from Matt himself, where the piece was originally posted at The House Next Door)

P.S. How goes things, Matt? Long time no hear!

(Thanks, Don, for the late-night tip!)


Matt Zoller Seitz said...

Dennis: How goes things, Matt?

Pretty well. Doing some freelance editing work (print and video), making some video essays (a few paid, most for grins), participating in a potentially very interesting series of short comedy-dramas that reunites me and some of my collaborators from Home, pitching documentary and feature ideas to pretty much anyone who'll listen, and generally trying to make this whole career transition thing work for me. I expect it'll take a while to establish myself in a different context, but that's OK. I'm a patient person and I'm in it for the long haul.

Thanks for your support of the short films, Dennis. There'll be plenty more where the last two came from. I'm getting a workflow and a rhythm going -- I tend to work best late at night, as the YouTube handle indicates -- and I intend to do a lot more of this sort of thing: some straight criticism, some experimental/mash-up like the Kong piece.

I'm glad you took the latter piece in the spirit in which it was intended -- which is to say, sentimental and straightforward. I was concerned that it would be interpreted as a form of derision, and I absolutely didn't mean it that way. I love the movie, and I happened to be listening to Chet Baker when got the disc in the mail from Netflix, kept the music going as I checked the disc to make sure it played all right, and thought, "This song could apply to Kong, or maybe even to Dwan, and certainly to the Twin Towers."

Jesus, that poor ape.

Anonymous said...

As a kid, I used to do stuff like this, replace the original sound with alternate music or sound effects. Of course not as good as Matt.

I always found it intriguing.

Although it's not really the same idea as Matt's, a couple of years ago I shot some video at a cousins retirement party with an older digital camera that had no sound. In the video my family was dancing at the time to a really bad disco song so I dropped in Tom Petty and the Heartbreaker's version of the beatles "I Need You." I think it worked out nicely. Matt, what do you think?

One thing to point out that I always am amazed about. The white haired woman in this video was 83 years old at the time this was shot. She's still around and dances whenever she can.

BTW... wasn't Dino's quote "People Gonna Cry When MY Kong Die"

Matt Zoller Seitz said...

driveindude: I'm not 100% sure that the real Dino said that, but on "Saturday Night Live," John Belushi-as-Dino proclaimed, "Nobody cry when Jaws die...but when my Kong die, everybody cry!"

Dennis Cozzalio said...

I seem to remember the quote, attributed to Dino, from the Time magazine cover story on Kong, but this could be another one of those cobwebs of my mind that has stubbornly resisted the feather duster of history. I do remember Belushi's version, however...

Either way, I got it wrong!

Anonymous said...

"No one cry when Jaws die," Dino says, his voice rising in passion as he develops his theme. "But when the monkey die, people gonna cry."

Looks like we all were a bit off. Here's the link to the Time Magazine article from October 25 1976: