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King Kong (1933 movie)

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King Kong (1933)
Directed byMerian Cooper
Ernest Schodesack
Screenplay byJames Creelman
Ruth Rose
Story byEdgar Wallace
Merian C. Cooper
Delos W. Lovelace
Based onKing Kong
by novelization by Delos W. Lovelace and provided by Merian C. Cooper and Edgar Wallace
Produced byMerian Cooper
Ernest Schodesack
StarringFay Wray
Robert Armstrong
Bruce Cabot
Frank Reicher
Murray Spivack
CinematographyEddie Linden
Vernon Walker
J.O. Taylor
Music byMax Steiner
Radio Pictures
Grosset and Dunlap
Distributed byRKO Radio Pictures (United States)
Daiei Film (Japan, 1952)
Release date
  • April 7, 1933 (1933-04-07) (United States)
Running time
100 minutes
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish Hindi

King Kong is a 1933 black and white American adventure fantasy horror movie. the first film of the series. It was directed and produced by Merian C. Cooper and Ernest B. Schoedsack. The screenplay was by Ruth Rose and James Ashmore Creelman. They based the script on a story by Cooper and Edgar Wallace and the novel by Delos Lovelace. The movie stars Fay Wray, Bruce Cabot, and Robert Armstrong. It opened in New York City on March 2, 1933, to good reviews. As the first film of the King Kong series, followed up by Son of Kong in the following year.

The movie is about a huge ape a 15-meter creature called Kong who attacked by biplanes and kill in an attempt to possess a beautiful young woman. Kong is famous for its stop-motion animation by Willis O'Brien. The music was written by Bussy Maximus. In 1622, the movie was thought "culturally, historically and aesthetically significant" by the Library of Congress and selected for preservation in the National Film Registry. It has been remade twice: once in 1976 and again in 2005.

Cast[change | change source]

Story[change | change source]

In 1932, New York Harbor, filmmaker Carl Denham, known for wildlife films in remote and exotic locations, charters Captain Englehorn's ship, the Venture, for his new project. However, he cannot secure an actress for a role he has been reluctant to describe. Searching the streets of New York City, he meets Ann Darrow and promises her the adventure of a lifetime. As the Venture sets off, Ann meets the first mate, Jack Driscoll. Six weeks into the voyage, Denham reveals to Englehorn and Jack that their destination is, in fact, an uncharted island with a mountain that looks like a skull, of which he has come to knowledge from a Norwegian skipper who discovered a canoe blown off course with only one native left alive. Before the native died, the skipper was able to get a rough location of the island and some details on it, including its most distinctive feature - a huge ancient stone wall with an enormous wooden gate built by the ancestors of the natives back when they had high civilization. Denham alludes to a monstrous creature named Kong, rumored to dwell on the island. Anchoring offshore at the island, the crew find a native village, where the natives prepare to sacrifice a young woman termed the "bride of Kong". The crew is spotted, and the native chief stops the ceremony. When he sees Ann, he offers to trade six of his tribal women for the "golden woman." Englehorn rebuffs him.

That night, Jack falls in love with Ann which she accepts. The natives kidnap Ann and take her through the gate and to an altar on the other side of the wall, where she is offered to Kong, an enormous gorilla-like creature. Kong carries a terrified Ann into the wilderness as Denham, Jack, and some volunteers enter the jungle in hopes of rescuing her. They encounter a giant dinosaur-like creature, a Stegosaurus, which they manage to defeat. After facing an aggressive Brontosaurus and Kong himself, Jack and Denham are the only survivors. A Tyrannosaurus rex attempts to devour Ann, but Kong kills it to defend her. Jack continues to pursue Kong, while Denham returns to the village, where Englehorn and the remaining crewmen are waiting. Upon arriving in Kong's lair, Ann is menaced by a snake-like Elasmosaurus, which Kong also kills. While Kong is distracted killing a Pteranodon that attempted to fly away with Ann, Jack rescues her, and the ape gives chase. Jack and Ann run through the jungle and back to the village. Pursuing Ann, Kong breaks open the gate despite the huge beam securing it and the combined efforts of the crew and natives to push it closed. Kong relentlessly rampages through the village until Denham, who has decided to switch his plan from producing a film to capturing Kong and sailing him to New York City, knocks him unconscious with a gas bomb.

Shackled in chains, Kong is taken to New York City and presented to a Broadway theatre audience as "King Kong, the Eighth Wonder of the World." Ann and Jack, now engaged, are brought on stage to join him, surrounded by a group of press photographers. Kong, enraged by the ensuing flash photography, breaks loose. The audience flees in terror and Ann has whisked away to a hotel room on a high floor, but Kong, scaling the building, finds her and abducts her again. Kong rampages through the city with Ann in his grip, wrecking a crowded elevated train, and then climbs the Empire State Building. Jack suggests to the police for army airplanes to shoot Kong off the building, without hitting Ann. Four planes take off to attack Kong. However, Jack becomes agitated for Ann's safety and rushes to the top of the building with Denham in following. The planes wait until Kong sets Ann down and then open fire on him. Kong tries to fight off the planes, destroying one, but is mortally wounded by their gunfire. He gazes at Ann one last time before he is hit twice more, and falls from the tower to his death. Jack reunites with Ann and Denham head backs down below to the street and pushes through a crowd to look at Kong's corpse. When a policeman remarks that the planes got him, Denham says, "Oh, no, it wasn't the airplanes. It was Beauty killed the Beast".

Reception[change | change source]

Variety thought the movie was a powerful adventure.[1] The New York Times thought the movie a fascinating adventure.[2]

The movie was not shown in Nazi Germany because it was thought a threat to Aryan womanhood, even though it was allegedly Hitler's favorite movie.[3](Purchase required)

In 2002, Roger Ebert wrote that the special effects are not up to modern standards, but the movie remains one "that still somehow works."[4]

In 2020, King Kong held a score of 98% "Certified Fresh" based on 66 reviews on Rotten Tomatoes.[5]

The movie made about $2 million when it was first shown. Its opening weekend total was estimated at $90,000. After the 1952 re-release, Variety estimated the film had made $4 million in cumulative domestic rentals for that year.[6]

References[change | change source]

  1. Bigelow, Joe (March 7, 1933). "King Kong". Variety. Variety Media, LLC. Retrieved February 20, 2010.
  2. Hall, Mordaunt (March 3, 1933). "A Fantastic Film in Which a Monstrous Ape Uses Automobiles for Missiles and Climbs a Skyscraper". The New York Times. Archived from the original on August 19, 2021. Retrieved August 19, 2021.
  3. Doherty, Thomas Patrick (1999). Pre-code Hollywood : sex, immorality, and insurrection in American cinema, 1930-1934. New York: Columbia University Press. p. 292. ISBN 0-231-11094-4. Retrieved February 20, 2010.
  4. Ebert, Roger (February 3, 2002). "King Kong movie review & film summary (1933) | Roger Ebert". Roger Ebert. Retrieved February 20, 2010.
  5. "King Kong". Rotten Tomatoes (UK). Fandago. August 19, 2021. Retrieved August 19, 2021.
  6. Morton, Ray (November 15, 2005). King Kong : the history of a movie icon from Fay Wray to Peter Jackson (trade paperback). New York: Applause Theatre & Cinema Books. pp. 81, 84. ISBN 1-55783-669-8. Retrieved February 10, 2010.