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King Kong (1933)
Action,Adventure,Fantasy,Thriller
USA / English
"A Monster of Creation's Dawn Breaks Loose in Our World Today! "
A film crew goes to a tropical island for an exotic location shoot and discovers a colossal giant gorilla who takes a shine to their female blonde star.
Fay Wray Ann Darrow
Robert Armstrong Carl Denham
Bruce Cabot John 'Jack' Driscoll
Frank Reicher Capt. Englehorn
Sam Hardy Charles Weston
Noble Johnson Skull Island nation leader
Steve Clemente Witch King (as Steve Clemento)
James Flavin Second Mate Briggs
Director: Merian C. Cooper,Ernest B. Schoedsack
Producer: Merian C. Cooper,Ernest B. Schoedsack
Writer: James Ashmore Creelman,Ruth Rose
Tongue in cheek movie about Hollywood.
"He was a king and a god in the world he knew, but now he comes to civilisation merely a captive, a show to gratify your curiosity," the director says to the vaudeville house, before a curtain goes up and we see Kong suspended with his arms nailed out, as if on a cross.

Self-reflection and satire of Hollywood is everywhere, which came as a great shock to me. There is a great subtext: the story is about a filmmaker who travels to overseas locations, such as jungles, to film his movies - he cares nothing for the cultures he may be violating, all he cares is capturing the spectacle on film. If he is unable to capture it on film, he tells us early on in the picture, he'll destroy it without a second thought. This is a film about the emptiness and recklessness of Hollywood, yet the satire is not bitter, but tongue-in-cheek in a way that follows James Whale's advice for putting subtexts in genre films, ie, not spoiling it for those viewers who don't "get the joke." So Kong can be enjoyed as a pure genre picture. The performances have false moments, but as an adventure picture it develops well, taking us gradually further towards the mystery of the legend of Kong, then follows Kong as the whole drama of his attempted capture plays out. The music also, is great, and along with mist and good cinematography helps create a mysterious atmosphere. The beginning is fairly talky, but it picks up. And the lovely Fay Wray offers reason enough to watch this on her own. If I was Kong, i know i'd beat the hell out of any dinosaur there was in order to protect her!

Luckily, King Kong came in the period between 1930 and 1934 when there was no production code in Hollywood, so content was not censored. A couple years later we wouldn't have had the pleasure of seeing Fay Wray clad in a torn to shreds jungle jane costume, and especially not then falling in the water wearing said outfit! And probably not the degree of violence we have here: in one particular fight Kong has with T-rex he breaks the dinosaur's head by pulling its jaws so far open!

The vintage special effects are great. They're so fun for quaintness value, but in places they're actually really good. The wrestling match with the T-rex, when Kong cracks a giant snake's back, and especially when he shakes the men off the log - all these sequences in particular were very well done. When I think about it, these effects aren't as quaint next to today's as you might initially think. How would we do a convincing giant ape onscreen (how will Peter Jackson do it in 2005)? By computer? Most of our completely computerised creatures at this writing are ridiculously fake looking. Try the ridiculous creature in Hulk? Everyone commented on how fake it looked. I'll go for the much more fun stop-motion Hickenlooper Kong over Hulk anyday.

And the famous climax in New York City, which ends on the Empire State Building with Kong swatting at planes, is marvellous.

Personal
Seen it:Nej
Nr of disks/tapes:1
Storage device:Divx 4
Loan
Movie
Imdb rating: 8.1
Musician: Max Steiner
Running time: 100 min / 104 min (restored version)
Technical
Everything else:
Last modified: 2007-07-18 22:31:3