Willis O’Brien
Guy Lochhead, 02/09/10
Not much is known about O’Brien – he was never interviewed in depth about his life or working process. He worked as a cartoonist, marble sculptor and a guide to palaeontologists in the Creater Lake region before beginning work on film. He began by making stop-motion educational films for Thomas Edison. He then attempted his masterpiece ‘Creation’, before running out of funding and using some of the footage making the ground-breaking ‘King Kong’, which was released in 1933. He followed the film with ‘Son of Kong’. During production, his first wife shot their two sons and herself. She survived, but died shortly afterwards. O’Brien continued to be involved in films all through his life until he died of a heart attack in 1962. An extraordinary man, and an important figure in cinema and animation. Include ‘King Kong’ 2005 DVD release (includes censored/restored scenes from an original copy of the film found in the UK).

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