Hollywood will sorely miss Dino de Laurentiis, who died this week at the age of 91. De Laurentiis was a prolific producer who gave life to such films as the 1976 remake of “King Kong,” “Serpico” and “Dune.” De Laurentiis died in his home of undisclosed causes.
He was synonymous with a new form of producing in which the overseas rights to the movie were sold prior to production to help finance the movie. De Laurentiis made it a point to not let old age slow him down, and produced movies well into his late 60s and 70s.
One movie that I remember in particular that he produced was “The Dead Zone.” With this movie, two brilliant minds came together. With the writing talents of Stephen King and the cinematic talents of de Laurentiis, the 1983 film was way before its time in visual effects, quality, and brilliance. The movie was masterful and though I was not old enough to see it when it first came out, I’ve watched it time and time again over the years. There is something to be said about his selection process when it comes to actors as well, and his ability to choose actors who were able to carry the role.
Another movie of his that I am fond of is his famed adaptation of “King Kong.” He took a concept which was not all that brilliant and made it into a film that was actually worth watching. While the first version of the movie in 1933 was considered to be a great piece of cinema, the actors chosen to portray the characters in de Laurentiis’ version of the film were brilliant, and there was an added quality of masterpiece to it. I do not particularly like the story of “King Kong,” but the de Laurentiis adaptation captured my attention and made it well worth my while.
One thing that Hollywood will be missing after the death of Dino de Laurentiis is his spirit of never giving up. He came from nearly nothing to make himself a household name. His innovative ideas completely changed the way the cinema is handled today, and through his pioneering of practices, he made thousands of movies possible that may not have been before. Hollywood will certainly miss his revolutionary way of thinking and his strict negotiating.
Dennis McLellan, Blockbuster film producer Dino de Laurentiis, 91, dies, www.seattletimes.nw