Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Film Review: King Kong (1933)

King Kong is where it all began as far as the ‘Beauty and The Beast’ concept was concerned. The special effects during this time were very powerful in moving their audience in the sense that they were the first of their kind to ever be presented to an audience on the silver screen.
The beginning of the movie shows a film director who is required to find an actress in 24 hours to star in his upcoming movie. He wishes to obtain a 'fresh face' with beauty that cannot be compared to any other.

Fig 1: King Kong Movie Poster
 After searching for a long while in the city of New York, he finally comes across a woman by the name of Fay Wray. She is homeless and desperate for work and thus accepts the director's offer to work in his movie. They set sail to an island at dawn.
The local tribes of the island where they set off to, worship a 'monster' called Kong whom Carl Denham (The director) wants to use for his film. They refuse to let the crew work on the island and say that they will only agree to do so if they are willing to trade Fay for four of their women.
Obviously refusing the offer, the crew return to their ship. At night time, however, the members of the tribe kidnap Fay with the intention of offering her to Kong as his wife.
Fig 2: Kong and Fay
 As the crew comes to realize Fay's absence, the tribe has already tied Fay to a post in order for Kong to 'collect her'. The forest does look rather prehistoric and surprisingly alive. According to reviewer Robert C. Cumbow, "the dinosaur encounters of the 1933 film, for which Willis O’Brien’s model animation was perfect."- Cumbow, Robert. (2011).Review: King Kong (1976)
At this point, Fay has screamed about a million times. In fact, all she ever does do in the movie is scream. It is a very good scream, however, you know what they say about having too much of a good thing.
The idea of capturing a man in a gorilla suit and enlarging him up to ten times larger, was a concept first heard of at the time and does serve as a bench mark in the history of film making. As James Berardinelli rightly states, "the concept of Rick Baker in a monkey suit works pretty well."- Berardinelli , James.(1996). King Kong (1976).
The crew manage to rescue Fay and capture Kong as well. They do seem surprisingly well equipped to catch animals for a film crew.

Fig 3: Kong attacking the crew members
On returning to New York, Denham reveals Kong to the public as an attraction and as it is required for the plot to be carried on further, Kong releases himself from the chains that bind him and goes about New York in search of his beauty Fay.
At this time, Fay just becomes paralytic and lets Kong take her. The frustration in the audience at Fay's helplessness is unbelievable.
There is the question of beastiality. However, it is the animal that loves the human, therefore,
it may be termed as 'Humanity' The movie does make the audience realize how human an animal can be. According to Roger Ebert, "King Kong is more than a technical achievement. It is also a curiously touching fable in which the beast is seen, not as a monster of destruction, but as a creature that in its own way wants to do the right thing."- Ebert,Roger. (2002). King Kong.

Fig 4: Kong fighting a dinosaur
 For a film in 1933, the models of the dinosaurs are rather accurate. Besides the realism in the movement, they could work as the dinosaurs for Steven Speilberg's Jurassic Park.
King Kong is a ground breaking movie in terms of concept and effects for it's time.

Bibliography and Illustration List


Berardinelli , James.(1996). King Kong (1976). Available online at: http://www.reelviews.net/movies/k/kong_76.html (Accessed 8th November 2011)

Cumbow, Robert. (2011).Review: King Kong (1976) Available online at http://parallax-view.org/2011/09/05/review-king-kong-1976/ (Accessed 8th November 2011)

Ebert,Roger. (2002). King Kong. Available online at http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20020203/REVIEWS08/202030301/1023 (Accessed 8th November 2011)

Illustration List

Fig 1: Cooper, Merian. Schoedsack, Ernst. (1933).King Kong http://collider.com/king-kong-1933-blu-ray-september-28th/29810/

Fig 2: Cooper, Merian. Schoedsack, Ernst. (1933).King Kong http://cinemovie.tv/cinemovie_new/videos/69-new-on-dvd/959-new-blu-ray-original-king-kong-movie-dvd

Fig 3: Cooper, Merian. Schoedsack, Ernst. (1933).King Kong http://cinemasights.wordpress.com/2010/04/16/king-kong-1933/

Fig 4: Cooper, Merian. Schoedsack, Ernst. (1933).King Kong http://www.filmedge.net/kong/DVDrev1.htm

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