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Ubi es, Konga?

We've all heard it/said it; a million channels on TV and not a thing on to watch.

     Which made me think of Konga. (1961)

     A quick synopsis; scientist guy who had been presumed dead returns to London after having discovered a way to make plants and animals bigger. Like, way bigger. He has with him a pet chimp named Konga. The scientist experiments with his serum on carnivorous plants because . . . well, he's a mad scientist, what the hell you expect him to do? Use it on shrubbery? Like all mad scientists, the doctor gets slighted and sinister shenanigans follow. Growth serum gets injected into chimp Konga and he becomes 7 foot tall gorilla Konga. The scientist then hypnotizes Konga (no, seriously) and sends the ape off to kill those that have annoyed him. Things go bad, somehow, and the chimp to gorilla to hypnotized killer gets enlarged to seriously-that-is-a-freaking-big-gorilla size and goes berserk. He carries off the scientist a'la Fay Wray and lumbers around London. The scientist gets crushed and Konga gets shot down.  The End.

big ape, D'uh

     I wonder what the pitch session was like when they came up for the movie title. Couldn't come up with an alternative name like Muggo or Ook-Ook or Garmunga, nope.

"I'd like to make a monster gorilla movie and capitalize on the Kong name. But how?"
"Gee boss, just call it Kong and put an 'ah" at the end. Konga."   
"Maxie, you're brilliant!"

     The scientist's serum is indeed wonderful, it not only makes critters bigger but also cross species. If he had given it to a horse, it probably would have become an elephant. Worms become fish, sparrows becomes vultures, it's all madness. And there is no flaw to the plan of sending a seven foot tall hypnotized gorilla to murder, because no one would suspect a gorilla walking the streets of London. ( It was a very different time back then ) I was very young when I first watched this move and had thought that Konga was a female Kong ( Claude - Claudia, Victor - Victoria, Fred - Freddy, Kong - Konga , you get the idea ). Was this a film before its time in regard to striking against the accepted social mores of sexual orientation in early 60s England? Konga did not run off with a pretty blond woman, but his beloved male professor.
     No, of course not, well maybe, basically I'm saying I don't know.  What I'm getting at is it was a silly little fun movie to watch. Now stations show the same movies over and over ( I loved the Mummy movies with Brendon Frasier, but do these movies need to be on every week? ) and I miss the pool of B Movies that were shown on the UHF channels. Of course, I'm waxing nostalgic here. Back then, I would be wanting other movies to be shown. ( Ah crap, it's the bloated chimp movie again! )
     Guess that's what DVD collections are for.

     I shouldn't sell Konga short, it was director John Lemont's opus. He never directed another movie after Konga, figuring he had reached the pinnacle of his craft the man discretely withdrew from the movies. His mark on cinema ensured.
     Seriously, this guy didn't do anything after the movie came out. Nothing. Zip.
     I imagine that he lived out his life in a small rented apartment, surround by Konga movie memorabilia, eating his meals while wearing a shoddy gorilla suit.


what hell
Eldon Litchfield

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