King Kong (1933)
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
later we wouldn't have had the pleasure of seeing Fay Wray clad in a torn
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
pulling its jaws so far open!
The vintage special effects are great. They're so fun for quaintness
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
the men off the log - all these sequences in particular were very well
When I think about it, these effects aren't as quaint next to today's as
might initially think. How would we do a convincing giant ape onscreen
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
And the famous climax in New York City, which ends on the Empire State
Building with Kong swatting at planes, is marvellous.
|Nr of disks/tapes:||1|
|Storage device:||Divx 4|