You want big movies? They don’t get any bigger than the original King Kong which set a giant stop-motion monkey loose in the jungles of our imagination and hasn’t left since. A pair of “meh” remakes — one helmed by Peter Jackson, no less — aptly demonstrates that some things just can’t be duplicated. It opened at Radio City Music Hall 85 years ago today in 1933.
If giant monsters aren’t your thing, you can always take a trip down Salzburg way for a little sing-along with the von Trapps. The Sound of Music opened today in 1965, on its way to shattering box office records (it was the highest grossing film of all time for five years), winning the Best Picture Oscar and securing a spot in the hearts of anyone who needs some Do-Re-Mi every now and again. Admit it: you’re singing that song in your head right now, aren’t you?
Need more? We got it! How about Norma Rae, Martin Ritts’ ode to the power of organized labor that won Sally Field her first Oscar and opened today in 1979? Or Eyes Without a Face, Georges Franju’s supremely unsettling horror movie about a young woman scarred in an accident and her plastic surgeon father desperately hunting beautiful young women for a replacement face? (It opened in the director’s native France today in 1960). Or The Hunt for Red October, John McTiernan’s crackerjack adaptation of the Tom Clancy novel about a Soviet submarine commander who goes AWOL, featuring grand turns by Sean Connery, Alec Baldwin, Sam Neill and Scott Glenn among others? (It opened today in 1990.) If you can’t find something to love in a list like that, you need to consider another hobby.