“King Kong” Kicks Ass

I’m talking about the original 1933 version of King Kong. It is a great movie and a hell of lot more violent and gruesome than I ever thought. It must have shocked and scared the crap out of audiences in 1933. I never realized what an incredible movie it is.

The stop-motion special effects are executed with style and drama that are so expressive, “the beast” comes across as a sensitive guy. There isn’t much of a story until Kong comes into the picture — and then you can watch the movie with the sound down if you feel like it because everything unfolds in broad strokes: 1) Island natives capture Fay Wray for sacrifice to Kong; 2) Kong runs into the jungle with Ms. Wray, protecting her instead of eating her; 3) A rescue party runs into the jungle and are killed off one at a time by Kong; 4) Kong is captured and brought back to the US… and so on. Although King Kong is sometimes considered a B-quality monster movie, it’s operatic and poignant as well. I’d love to see it in a theatre someday.

About Phillip

Phillip Cairns is a beekeeper in St. John’s, Newfoundland, who writes about beekeeping at mudsongs.org.

2 Replies to ““King Kong” Kicks Ass”

  1. It is a classic in every sense of the word. It was revolutionary for its time. Stop-Motion, Rear Projection, extensive use of miniatures and dummies -all of these things hadn’t been done to any great extent before this film. It firmly placed Willis O’Brien as the father of stop-motion. The acting is a bit campy, even for its time, which is my only complaint.

    I believe the film was edited a bit and was re-released later in the 1930’s. Apparently gorillas biting off people’s heads and stripping the clothes off young ladies was frowned upon back then.

    I show this film to my students each year when we study stop-motion and special effects. Most of them can’t stand it because it so old but a few really like it and understand its place in cinema history. They always ask me to show Peter Jackson’s remake. I have never seen that one so I don’t know how it compares.

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