It is the question that has puzzled the ancients, especially if they have lived to the year 2007. What is the best version of King Kong ever committed to celluloid? Is it the thirties version with its stop motion wizardry, unreal and gloomy atmosphere and perfect length and structure, yet undeniable black and whiteness and a vegetarian dinosaur that eats people. Is it the noughties version with its superior special effects, realistic ape behaviour, emotional relevance, acrobatic dinosaurs and three hours longness. Or is it the seventies version with its big snake?
I believe the most effective way to measure the relative merits of each film is to see which Kong could have the others in a fight.
Now the noughties Kong is a bit of a bruiser and can give the slap to several tyrannosaurs at once. The thirties Kong had a bit of trouble with only one tyrannosaur until it fatally broke its jaw and jam came out. The seventies Kong fought a big snake.
But the thirties and seventies Kongs could band together and pull the plug on the expensive computer that houses the not really there noughties Kong. And for good measure they could break the neck of the computer nerd who created him. But then the seventies Kong, who is a man in a suit, could take hold of the thirties Kong, who is 12 inches tall and made of plasticine, and throw him out of the window to the street below, where he would be run over by a Fiat Panda.
So there you have it. The 1976 version of King Kong, with Jeff Bridges and Jessica Lange, is best.