Classic Film Review: King Kong (1933)

‘For a film now standing at over 85-years-old it looks amazing’

King Kong, 1933

Directed by: Merian C. Cooper, Ernest B. Schoedsack

Starring: Fay Wray, Robert Armstrong, Bruce Cabot

 

While there have been CGI-filled remake after remake, the original came back in 1933, where Carl Denham (Robert Armstrong) takes a team of filmmakers to an unknown island not located on any map to capture a picture of a mythical beast known as Kong. When they arrive on the island, though, they are greeted by sights and events beyond their imagination.

For a film now standing at over 85-years-old it looks amazing. The monsters, Kong and the other dinosaurs, are beautifully presented with stop-motion animation. Yes, there are moments where it’s obvious the monsters in the background are on a green screen compared to the men at the front, but for its time it’s remarkable what they managed to be able to film. However, the biggest praise needs to be given to its soundtrack; it’s absolutely amazing. Each scene is made all the more perfect with the soundtrack and it perfectly captures each emotion and action in each scene.

King Kong, 2

The fight scenes are nicely captured, with Kong acting as you’d expect (and I loved him checking to see that they were dead, afterwards), and he has a whole host of animals to fend off, with multiple dinosaurs including a pterodactyl (which are my favourite dinosaurs) attacking him. It doesn’t do a great job in explaining why these animals don’t normally fight one another (there would be only a few remaining if they did fight naturally), or telling what exactly Kong wants with Ann (Fay Wray), aside from the fact she’s a blonde (he rejects the initial wife-offering in favour of the blonde). There are storytelling elements which aren’t perfectly told, with the action being at the forefront of the film, but it’s still such an entertaining ride, and still more than holds up when compared against the remakes for enjoyability.

I didn’t take too strongly to Fay Wray’s performance, though, as she simply screams throughout the film, and the transition between Kong attacking in the jungle and Kong attacking New York City is too short, but they don’t take away anything from the overall enjoyment of the film. An action-packed ride from the moment they arrive on the island and a beautiful stop-motion presentation, especially given its age.

 

Personal: * * * *     Acting: * * *     Writing: * * *     Presentation: * * * *

Overall Rating: * * * ½

 

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