King Kong Escapes, (released in Japan as King Kong's Counterattack (キングコングの逆襲 Kingu Kongu no Gyakushū?), is a 1967 Kaiju film. A Japanese/American co-production from Toho (Japan) and Rankin/Bass (USA). Directed by Ishiro Honda and featuring special effects by Eiji Tsuburaya, the film starred both American actors (such as Rhodes Reason and Linda Miller) alongside Japanese actors (such as Akira Takarada, Mie Hama and Eisei Amamoto). The film was a loose adaptation of the Rankin/Bass Saturday morning cartoon series The King Kong Show and was the second and final Japanese-made film featuring the King Kongcharacter.
The film was released theatrically in the United States in the Summer of 1968 by Universal Pictures.
An evil genius named Dr. Who creates Mechani-Kong, a robotic version of King Kong, to dig for a highly radioactive Element X, found only at the North Pole. Mechni-Kong enters an ice cave and begins to dig into a glacier, but the radiation destroys its brain circuits and the robot shuts down. Who then sets his sights on getting the real Kong to finish the job. Who is taken to task by a beautiful female overseer, Madame Piranha. Her country's government (which is not named but may be North Korea) is financing the doctor's schemes, and she frequently berates him for his failure to get results.
Meanwhile, a submarine commanded by Carl Nelson arrives at Mondo Island where the legendary King Kong lives. Much like the original 1933 film, the giant ape gets into an intense fight with a dinosaur, a large serpent, and falls in love with a human. In this case, Lt. Susan Watson (played by Linda Miller) following in the footsteps of Fay Wray.
Dr. Who subsequently goes to Mondo Island, abducts Kong and brings him back to his base at the North Pole. Kong is hypnotized by a flashing light device and fitted with a radio earpiece. Hu commands Kong to retrieve the Element X from the cave. (Apparently, Kong understands English perfectly.) Problems with the earpiece ensue and Who has to kidnap Susan Watson, the only person who can control Kong.
After Watson and her fellow officers are captured by Who, Madame Piranha unsuccessfully tries to seduce Nelson to bring him over to her side. Eventually Kong escapes and swims all the way to Japan where the climactic battle with Mechni-Kong transpires. Standing in for the Empire State Building from the original film is theTokyo Tower where the two giants face off in the finale.
- Rhodes Reason - Commander Carl Nelson (voice actor: Kei Taguchi)
- Akira Takarada - Lt. Commander Jiro Nomura
- Linda Miller - Lt. Susan Watson (voice actor: Akiko Santou)
- Eisei Amamoto - Dr. Who
- Mie Hama - Madame Piranha
- Yosihumi Tajima - Chief
- Nadao Kirino - Dr. Who's assistant
- Andrew Hughes - United Nations journalist
- Ryuuji Kita - Police inspector
- Masaaki Tachibana - Self-Defense Force soldier
- Haruo Nakajima - King Kong
- Yū Sekida - Mechani-Kong and Gorosaurus
The story is partly a remake of the animated series (itself a retelling of the original 1933 film) about a tamed Kong who is befriended by a boy and directed to fight for the forces of good. That concept (minus the boy) is combined with a mad scientist story with elements from the then-popular spy film genre. The sinister Dr. Who (not to be confused with the British television series or its main character) is patterned afterJames Bond villains Dr. No and Ernst Stavro Blofeld. His partner, Madame Piranha, is an Asian spy played by Mie Hama, fresh from the Bond film You Only Live Twice (1967). Submarine commander Carl Nelson is similar to Admiral Nelson, commander of the Seaview sub in Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, a series that also featured giant monsters and stories about international espionage.
Veteran voice actor Paul Frees dubbed the voice of Dr. Who in the American release.
- Eiji Tsuburaya - Special effects director
- Sadamasa Arikawa - Secondary special effects director
- Teruyoshi Nakano - Assistant special effects director
- Takeo Kita - Art direction
- Fumio Nakadai - Wireworks director
- Yasuyuki Inoue - Special effects sets
Toho reissued the film in 1973 as part of the Urutoramantaro Moero! Urutora roku-kyoudai film festival.
Outside of Japan and the U.S, the film received a wide release in most International markets where it went by different titles. The film was released in Germany as King-Kong, Frankensteins Sohn (King Kong: Frankenstein's Son), in Belgium as La Revanche de King Kong (The Revenge of King Kong) - a direct translation of the Japanese title, in Italy as King Kong il gigante della foresta (King Kong, the Giant of the Forest), in Turkey as Canavarlarin Gazabi (Wrath of the Monsters), in Mexico as El Regreso de King Kong (The Return of King Kong), in Finland as King Kong kauhun saarella (King Kong on the Island of Terror), and in Sweden as King Kong på skräckens ö (King Kong on Terror Island)
R1 America - Universal Pictures
- Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 (Anamorphic) [NTSC]
- Soundtrack(s): English Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono
- Subtitles: English, French and Spanish
- Case type: Keep Case
- Notes: Also available in a double feature 2-pack (separate Keep cases) with "King Kong vs. Godzilla AKA Kingukongu tai Gojira (1962)".
- Aspect Ratio: 2.35.1 (High-Def Widescreen)
- Soundtrack(s): English DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 Mono
- Subtitles: English SDH, Francais
Universal is releasing on April 1, 2014.