Thursday, 23 October 2014

Film Review: "Merian C. Cooper & Ernest B.Shoedsack" King Kong 1933

Figure 1: Film poster of King Kong (1933)

King Kong (1933) directed by "Merian C. Cooper & Ernest B.Shoedsack" is easily one of the most iconic and recognisable films of its time and today. The film starts of with an incredibly arrogant and in some respects reckless film director called "Carl Denham" (Robert Armstrong) who is planning a journey to a mythical island were man has wondered if it was a legend or real. Before he leaves with his crew and cast he decides that the issue and thing that went wrong with his last film was the fact that it lacked a female character witch is were he find a beautiful pauper lady who is having to steal to eat called "Ann Darrow" (Fay Wray) it is clear Dunham uses the fact Ann is struggling financial and promises her fame and wealth by playing his female lead in his knew film. When they get to the island they find it inhabitants are savages who take "Ann" and offer her as a sacrifice so the "Great Kong" which is were the acting hero behind the camera "Bruce Cabot" (John Driscoll) is forced to go an epic adventure to rescue her. 


Figure 2: the savages facing Ann

"Modern viewers will shift uneasily in their seats during the stereotyping of the islanders" (R. Erbert, 2002) which is incredibly true as when this film was made in 1933 U.S.A still had segregation and was still a heavily white powered racist nation so what they classed as being acceptable on the screen compared to today's modern society it is completely different. For example the way the tribesman costumed were designed and the way they acted was just like normal tribesman from Africa not these brutal savages that the screen was trying to depict them as. This is an extremely touchy subject and you would have been thought to be quiet an awkward thing to correct but "Peter Jackson" really does true justice when recreating this film to stick to the original film but when it came down to depicting the natives rather then stereotyping them as tribesman he created them into much more unhuman like savages which re brutal and don't know how to interact with the outside world. 

Figure 3: Kong fighting a pterodactyl

"Although there are vivid battles between prehistoric monsters on the island which Denham, the picture maker, insists on visiting, it is when the enormous ape, called Kong, is brought to this city that the excitement reaches its highest pitch." (Mordaunt Hall, March 1933) Even to this day there are many films relate able to this as films need to discover there middle ground and when watching this film you will begin to become bored of all the action and all the fight scenes as well there all the same weather Kong be fighting a Tyrannosaurus, a giant snake or a fleet of spit fighters. There is one film maker who has been criticised with allot of his recent work which is Michael Bay as he has the exact same problem he has to many explosions and to much action and just not enough story or character build up so we get a sense of feeling and empathy for the characters were watching on the screen.

Figure 4: Kongs final fight

"Kong proves to be a gentleman and a stalwart defender of his Beuty" (D. Thompson, The Guardian 2010) This is the best quote to summarise the ending of this film as the misunderstood and miss treated beast dies protecting the only thing he loves.

Illustration List

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R. Erberts (2002):

Mordaunt Hall (March 1933):

D. Thompson, The Guardian (2010) :

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