One vignette involves Miss Raines dressing up as a tart to attract the attention of a sleazy drummer. This leads to what he believes is a romantic encounter, one similar to other such encounters in hundreds of other movies. I like the way it's handled here, though, better than I usually do, for Raines doesn't become the tart to the point where we wonder if she isn't one, really; it's obvious from the get-go that she is disgusted by what she's doing, succeeding only because the man is focused on other things.
One reason Wells didn't like The Island of Lost Souls was a single line of dialogue equating Moreau with God. Here, that equation is central to the story, and it is ridiculous on its face. Man has trouble enough taming his animal instincts. How, exactly, could exacerbating that problem with animal DNA elevate him in any way?
This film tells us that it's okay to skip out of the country when facing criminal prosecution and extreme financial liability. That's what Denham does, who is on the hook for the many people Kong killed as well as the damage Kong caused in New York City. Would it make any difference if he planned to come back? But, so far as we can tell when he hops aboard Capt. Englehorn's ship, he doesn't. Not definitely anyway.
Sexism isn't always a bad thing. A world without sexism is a world without sex. But sometimes it's just annoying. Like here, where we expect to find a powerful woman (just look at the poster, let alone the character she's supposedly based on) and get instead an ordinary, confused girl whose mind is controlled by a man.
If you're a fan (I'm not) of John W. Campbell's idea (Campbell was the author of "Who Goes There?" and the long-time editor of Astounding Science Fiction) that mankind is inherently superior to other life forms, you may love this film, which just might contain the boldest expression of this idea in any movie, ever.
I read the revised edition and it is, I suppose, a tribute to the editors that I was shocked to discover that this book is over 40 years old. You'd never know it. And that, of course, is despicable and a disservice -- to its young readers particularly, who could profit from the casual history of reading a novel from another time. Reissue, yes; revise, no.
Many have noted parallels between this film and the recent Presidential election, but it cannot be said that this film in any way predicted Donald Trump. Redford's character, a lawyer and activist, is a viable candidate in spite of his inexperience. Had he been a childish businessman with no public service at all on his record, one with an aversion to the truth and little if any substantive knowledge of policy, this film would have been laughed off movie screens all across the country. How things have changed in the last 40 years.
"I'm your father" -- Not
One thing I’ve loved about this book for years is its unequivocal statement on the matter of Luke’s father/Darth Vader; to wit, that they were two different people. Wit, for Lucas, ended the moment he decided to change this dynamic and turn Vader into Luke’s father (and, god help us, Leia into his sister). So it was with mixed emotions that I learned — only when writing my review — that Lucas didn’t actually write the book. I wasn’t happy for whatever ammunition that might give the poor, misguided souls who bought into Lucas’ soap opera shenanigans. Oh, I think the film is statement enough: only if Ben Kenobi lied to Luke could it be otherwise, and I don’t believe Ben would lie (nor do I see any evidence in the movie to support the notion that he would). Still, it was nice having the book to back this up, where Lucas (no, damn it, Foster) states plainly that “unlike Owen Lars,” Luke’s uncle, Ben “was unable to take refuge in a comfortable lie.”
I used to believe that political correctness was just as silly as the next guy; I still do, sometimes, but, thanks to the recent campaign for President, not nearly so often. Take this example. Remember the flack Trump took when, in the third and final debate, he spoke about "bad hombres" in reference to Mexican criminals? I couldn't help but smile when, early in this book, a character refers to Doc as a "might-ee shrewd hombre." Isn't that equally problematic? Actually, no. It's one thing to appropriate a Spanish word to say something flattering about a white man, but it's another to turn someone's own language against them as an insult -- because, for one thing, it expands the insult to the entire culture, which is unfair. This PC crap is subtle, but that doesn't mean it isn't real.
This book was translated into English by Torrès' husband. The Feminist Press edition of 2005 includes an interview with the author by Joan Schenkar in which Schenkar is surprised to learn that the sexier parts of the novel were actually faithfully translated; she had guessed that they were added by Torrès' husband in translation to appeal to men. So much for all women sharing any given feminist perspective.
On the other hand, Schenkar was delighted to learn that the novel's rare moralistic remarks -- including words like "inversion" and "perversion" -- were, in fact, added by her husband. But not because it was he who wanted them inserted; rather, the publisher did. Torrès said she wrote the book without judgment. Something to keep in mind as you're reading.