Watching Movies: The 1970s Version Of ‘King Kong’ Includes A Monster Of A Rolex
Jeff Bridges wears a Submariner in our watch-related film of the week.
The 1976 remake of King Kong takes the basic premise of the 1933 classic and makes it, well, more ’70s. Instead of a rag-tag film crew on a mission to make an unsanctioned motion picture, we have a greedy capitalist on an oil barge with a stowaway scientist in tow – off to discover an uncharted island. Little do they know that what’s hiding on that island isn’t oil…
Why We’re Watching
This week saw the release of the blockbuster Godzilla vs. Kong both theatrically (setting box office records for the past year) and on HBO Max. Meanwhile, we spent a week with Rolex’s newest Submariner ref. 124060, taking it around Kong’s playground of New York City.
What does one have to do with the other? Look no further than Jeff Bridges, in his starring role as scientist Jack Prescott in the 1976 film. In it, he plays a shaggy paleontologist dead-set on discovering a mysterious primate rumored to exist on the “Beach of the Skull.”
Bridges is actually a known Rolex guy and has been seen wearing a number of different watches both on and off-screen – including a two-tone Submariner. In Kong, Bridges sports what appears to be a Rolex Submariner 5513 on an oyster bracelet. In the 1970s, this was still very much a tool watch – and one without an exorbitant price tag. If you were going to select a timepiece to take out in the middle of the Indian Ocean for your encounter with a gigantic monkey, this would’ve been a reasonable choice.
When We’re Watching
The movie opens at a shipping dock in Indonesia. The camera introduces us to a seedy bunch of characters ready to head into the open water. On cue (0:01:36), The Dude himself stumbles out of a taxi cab with an era-appropriate tight-fitting tee on his torso – and the Submariner prominently on wrist. He proceeds to bribe the security guard and sneak onto the ship, where his adventure begins.
Later in the film (01:53:20), as Kong dismantles the New York City subway, Bridges and co-star Jessica Lange take off on a motorcycle. The two inexplicably find time to enter an empty bar for a drink and conversation about the state of their relationship. Both inside and outside of the bar, it’s hard not to notice the Sub. Bridges’ character doesn’t wear a whole lot of shirts with sleeves in the movie (and when he does, they’re rolled up), so the watch gets plenty of screen time – especially during a scene when he’s photographing a certain ritual on the island.
The ’70s King Kong is a relic, but it’s still fun to revisit – especially if you’re all hyped up about the new Kong movie (or, for that matter, about our Week on the Wrist vid). The film features solid performances from a pre-Lebowski Jeff Bridges in peak form, Jessica Lange in her on-screen debut, and comedic actor Charles Grodin playing against type as the villain. Plus the Submariner and, of course, one great ape.
Lead Image: Getty/Silver Screen Collection