Kong-athon: Son of Kong (1933)
Son of Kong came out in 1933, the same year King Kong came out. King Kong was such a big success that RKO wanted a sequel to come out by Christmas. Merain C. Cooper, the producer of King Kong and the executive producer of Son of Kong, was given less than half the budget than King Kong to make the film. During the production, Willis O' Brien was going through some horrific family issues. I am not going to go into detail about the issues since it's very gruesome, but O'Brien's protege, Ray Harryhausen, had many questions about the film which were left unanswered because of how his memories were too painful for O'Brien to relive. O'Brien would seldom show up for work and Buzz Gibson had to finish the work without him. He asked Cooper to remove his name from the credits and he refused to do so. The script writer, Ruth Rose, had no intention in making the movie serious. She stated, "If you can't make it bigger, make it funnier."
Robert Armstrong reprises his role as Carl Denham and this time he becomes the main character of the movie. It takes place a month after the events of King Kong and Carl Denham has been chased by news reporters that want his reaction to the events and all of New York City are suing him for property damage caused by Kong. After hearing about his indictment, he decides to escape on a ship and sail to Dakang with Capt. Englehorn, played by Frank Reicher. Long story short, some mutiny happens, Carl and other people are stranded on Skull Island, Carl finds a baby Kong and helps it out of the quick sand, the baby Kong watches over and protects them, and the island sinks. It was pretty good for the budget and time that they had to work with. The movie doesn't take itself seriously like the first one did and was only an hour and nine minute movie.
I liked the baby kong's personality. It is so goofy that it makes you feel attached to it more than the characters, but he doesn't show up until 42 minutes into the movie. Son of Kong does not have many fight scenes. There were only two in this one that the baby kong had to fight. The first fight was with a bear and the second one was with some dinosaur that looked like a snake with legs. Just like in the first movie, the stop motion effects are really well done. To make the puppet for the baby kong, they reused the "long face" Kong model used for the T-Rex battle in the first movie.
All in all, it is a fun watch, but the length of the movie is a little too short. I say rent it if it is on Netflix or Hulu, but it is definitely not one of the memorable titles in the King Kong franchise. I am betting that I will forget what this was about in the next couple of days or so.
Join me for next week's review. It's East vs. West as Japan brings the two kings together for an epic clash in the 1962 film, King Kong vs. Godzilla.