King Kong (1933)
Critic Consensus: King Kong explores the soul of a monster -- making audiences scream and cry throughout the film -- in large part due to Kong's breakthrough special effects.
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as Ann Darrow
as Carl Denham
as John Driscoll
as Charles Weston
as Capt. Englehorn
as Native Chief
as Witch King
as 2nd Mate Briggs
as Dock Watchman
as Woman Dropped by Kon...
as Theater Patron
as Theater Patron
as Native Dancer
as Police Captain
as Native Woman
as Dock Watchman
as Flight Commander
as Chief Observer
as Witch King
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Critic Reviews for King Kong
The story, like Frankenstein and Dracula, has taken on the significance of a modern folk tale, layered with obvious moralizing and as familiar as personal history.
"King Kong," as spectacular a bolt of celluloid as has thrilled audiences in a couple of sophisticated seasons, is the product of a number of vivid imaginations.
It might seem that any creature answering the description of Kong would be despicable and terrifying. Such is not the case. Kong is an exaggeration ad absurdum, too vast to be plausible. This makes his actions wholly enjoyable.
Kong mystifies as well as it horrifies, and may open up a new medium for scaring babies via the screen.
Willis O'Brien did the stop-action animation for this 1933 feature, which is richer in character than most of the human cast.
Audience Reviews for King Kong
An impulsive director whisks an unknown actress to an unexplored island to capture a mythic beast on film. The Jurassic Park of its day, King Kong is the original monster movie. Unfortunately the very element that no doubt wowed audiences of the time are now its greatest handicap; the visual effects. Special effects have obviously moved on a great deal over the last 80 years, consequently the creaky stop-motion animation is rather shocking by today's standards and the close ups of the beast's face look like a glove puppet manufactured by someone whose sole information about a gorilla's visage was supplied by an attention deficit toddler. That's not to say that the original Kong is not without its charms; it has a real sense of nostalgic adventure, the other effects have fared rather better than the creatures and Fay Wray manages to be extremely sexy despite being dis-robed by a plasticine primate! Although it's no doubt sacrilege to suggest, but Peter Jackson's re-invention is actually rather better despite its penchant for unnecessary excess and not just because of the visuals. It has better dialogue, greater depth of character, stronger performances and thanks to the talents of Andy Sirkis, a much more emotionally engaging ape. Still, King Kong can be seen as a real benchmark in the evolution of cinema and as such will always be worth a viewing.
As far as I'm concerned, "Action/Adventure" as a genre begins here: this is the strange and beautiful that directors like Spielberg, and Lucas, and Cameron (and unfortunately, Roland Emmerich, too) have kept striving to capture on screen - the sublime, the unimaginable, the terrifying. Animated by stop-motion, (cutting edge for its day), Kong is the Hollywood monster all others wish to be - he even takes down a T-Rex! But leaving aside my childish joy, I can complain that the pre-historic animal fight scenes were a bit extraneous and stretched the movie out longer than it needed to be. It's a small knock on a film for the ages, though. I watched it on Turner Classic, and before it started Ben Mankiewicz said this was the first film for which a score was composed (all previous used other music). It's worth noting because the music is as big a part of the thrill from this movie as any other, setting the pace and quickening your pulse as the story ticks along. Also, the film contains one of the best foreshadows you'll ever see, when Ann (the novice actress) is practicing screaming for the tests. It gives you goosebumps before you arrive on the island and the intrigue begins for real. The scenes with the natives are absolutely riveting, and the effects, though rough, are surprisingly good, allowing for an expressive monster when we finally meet him. In all, it's an age-old story, one of the greater ones ever told, and as soon as enough time has passed, we could probably put it into the class of "archetype." Visionary, brilliant film that should never be forgotten, and essential viewing for anyone who claims to enjoy movies.
The granddaddy of all the big budget special effects films and they are still pretty impressive today. The interesting part about this action/horror classic is that the real monster is the movie director and not the 50 foot ape.
King Kong Quotes
|Police Captain:||Well, Denham, the airplanes got him.|
|Carl Denham:||Oh no, it was beauty killed the beast.|
|Carl Denham:||No, it wasn't the airplanes. It was beauty killed the beast.|
|Carl Denham:||It was beauty killed the beast.|
|Ann Darrow:||Do you always take the pictures you sell?|
|Carl Denham:||Ever since a trip I made to Africa. I'd have got a swell picture of a charging rhino, but the cameraman got scared. The darn fool, I was right there with a rifle! Seems he didn't trust me to get the rhino before it got him. I haven't fooled with a cameraman since; I do it myself.|
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