Kong-athon: KING KONG (1933)



I remember when I was little whenever I thought of the name, King Kong, I would only think back to that picture where Kong was on top of the Empire State Building fighting off the planes shooting him down. I only got to see the original version once and it was when I was just starting college. For an all time classic, this was really hard to find. I know that I can always get the movie off Amazon, but I prefer going to an electronics store like Best Buy or Fry's Electronics to find my movies first (too bad that there is no F.Y.E. anymore).


We all know the story of King Kong. A film crew sail to an undiscovered island filled with hostile natives, dinosaurs, and a giant gorilla that will fight off anyone and anything that comes between him and an actress that he becomes infatuated with. Fay Wray plays as Ann Darrow, the actress that Kong falls in love with. She and Kong are practically THE stars of the movie since they spend the most time together. Robert Armstrong plays as Carl Denham, the director of a movie that he was supposed to shoot and later becomes the mastermind to bring Kong back to New York City. Robert Armstrong reprises his role in, The Son of Kong, but as the good guy instead of the technical bad guy. There really is no good guy and bad guy in this movie.


The cinematography is really amazing. The dinosaurs and Kong were done by special effects specialist, Willis O'Brien, whom would go on to mentor Ray Harryhausen (Known for Mighty Joe Young, the Sinbad series, and Clash Of The Titans). After King Kong, he would work on the sequel, The Son of Kong, and then Mighty Joe Young along side Ray Harryhausen. On the day that O'Brien received the first printed footage of King Kong in motion, he noticed that the fur on the puppet moved because it was disturbed by his fingers during filming. He had to show it to the film's producer that day and was worried that he was going to get fired because of that mistake. Instead, the producer applauded him and showed appreciation to O'Brien on his attention to detail exclaiming that he was amazed that he even managed to make Kong's fur blow about in the wind. Kong and the dinosaurs were all done with puppets and used a technique called, stop motion. Stop motion is a technique that requires taking a series of pictures of an object/objects to make it appear that it is moving on its own. There was even one scene that was cut out of the original, but was put in later on in the 2005 remake was a scene where the film crew were in the pit after Kong threw the log over and a giant spider came crawling out attacking them. The reason that this was cut out was because of time constraints. This kind of cinematography was never done before during the time and because of this style of cinematography, King Kong along side The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms will go on to be the inspiration for a Japanese film company, TOHO, to film their own monster movie called, Gojira or Godzilla King of the Monsters in the English version.


So how does the movie hold up? It felt sort of out dated, but the charm of the movie is still there. It doesn't seem all that realistic now thanks to the advancement of computer imagery. At the time, however, I bet it looked very real. The story is captivating and never gets boring. There is always something going on and it had me watching the whole thing making sure I never missed a moment.


King Kong is a movie that everybody must watch at least once in their life. It is not a very long movie. It is an hour and forty minutes long. That is two and a half hours less than the 2005 remake. If you have the time, I highly recommend checking it out.

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