One of the greatest joys of my movie-watching life can come from getting the kind of piece of insight or new read on a scene that can only come from an audio commentary. If there's an audio commentary on a DVD or Blu-ray, odds are I'm going to watch, doubly so if it involves a critic or scholar, and triply so if it's a movie I adore. The Criterion Collection has been a pioneer of great audio commentaries since way back in the golden age of laserdiscs, and that continues to this day. But with so many people forsaking physical media for streaming, does that mean audio commentaries are gone?Absolutely not, I say, answering my own question. FilmStruckâ€”the absolutely essential streaming service for film buffsâ€”allows subscribers to watch movies with select audio commentaries through the Criterion Channel, and are even bringing back tracks from long-out-of-print discs. Beginning Friday, October 12, you'll be able to watch the classic 1933 King Kong both with the Warner Bros. audio commentary and the commentary from the very first Criterion commentary track ever recorded!
Enjoy a clip from one of King Kong's most famous scenes, with commentary by film historian Ronald Haver, reflecting on the film's special effects techniques.[brightcove video_id="5843894815001" brightcove_account_id="3653334524001" brightcove_player_id="rJs2ZD8x"]The rest of that track is wonderful, featuring effects wizard Ray Harryhausen, star Fay Wray, and producer-director Merian C. Cooper along with Ralston. Since Cooper, Harryhausen, and Wray are no longer alive, it's a chance to watch the movie along with them.Both tracks will be available on FilmStruck on Friday. If you don't have FilmStruck, we would love to point you to this link to get a 30-day free trial. If you're as big a film nerd as I amâ€”and you probably are if you clicked on this articleâ€”you'll want to check it out, and will probably subscribe once the 30 days are up.King Kong is a true pillar of classic film, a towering achievement in early special effect spectacle, and a movie well worth watching while listening to people who know what they're talking about. Enjoy!