Police Lieutenant: Well, Denham, the airplanes got him.
Carl Denham: Oh no, it wasn’t the airplanes. It was beauty killed the beast.
I LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOVEEE King Kong!!!
I grew up watching this film and owned a VHS that had a King Kong on it that growled when you pushed on it.
The film all started with Merian C. Cooper’s idea of a giant ape on top of the world’s tallest building, fighting airplanes. He worked backward from there, to develop the rest of the story.
The name comes from producer, David O. Selznick, who decided King Kong was better than just Kong.
I know a lot of people hate the effects and such-but I don’t care. It was amazing in 1933 and it is amazing now!!
So without further ado-here we go!
So we open our film on 1930s New York City. There is a ship heading out to go on location to film, Carl Denham (Robert Armstrong) is in charge of it. Everyone is talking about it as the ship has three times the crew needed to sail.
Denham has explosives and gas bombs-he doesn’t care about legal issues, morality-he cares about money and his film. Its in his blood.
He needs an actress and no agent will help him hire one-as Denham has a reputation for being recklessness and he’s so private about where they are going. Everyone is afraid of what might happen. Go who knows where, to do who knows what, and stuck on a boat full of men. Yeah, I’d pass too.
The first mate is John “Jack” Driscoll (Bruce Cabot) and he doesn’t think they should bring a woman on board. They are bad luck. I think Mrs. Croft would not agree.
They can’t see why Denham needs a girl, as none of his other pictures has them. He says that he’s tired of people going on that if it had a love interest it would make twice as much money-so he is giving them what they want. But he need girl to do it!
“Skipper: What are you doing?
Carl Denham: I’m gonna go out and find a girl for my picture – even if I hafta’ marry one.”
He heads to a woman’s shelter as he needs someone young, hungry, and desperate. But none look right.
He heads to a fruit stand and spies a woman, Ann Darrow (Fay Wray), looking at the fruit, she gets caught by the fruit stand owner for stealing, but Mr. Denham comes to her aid. He takes her to a nearby diner to eat. There Mr. Denham questions her-no job, no family, used to act, etc. He tells her he has a job, but Ann is no fool. She needs more info. She’s not walking into a sex slavery or whatever.
Denham slows down and introduces himself and tells her about his new picture and how he needs an actress ASAP. She agrees as she has heard of him, so knows he’s legit, needs a job-and this provides food, clothes, money, etc!
On the ship Ann and Jack meet. Jack is gruff and his interactions with Ann have always made me laugh. I think it is because he’s trying to be so macho and tough, but just becomes a big teddy bear around Ann.
Ann loves being on the ship and befriends everybody. The one she gets closest to is Jack who’s compliments just sound like facts. He cracks me up. He is trying to be romantic and failing.
Jack says she is trouble, just being around. He’s trying not to like her and keep her away, bit he does. He’s just a marshmallow.
Jack doesn’t really like Denham, and hates that he hasn’t told him where they are going. It wouldn’t bother him so much, but he’s worried about Ann. Denham points it out that he likes her, but Jack deies it. Sure…
Carl Denham: [warning Jack about women] Some big, hardboiled egg gets a look at a pretty face and bang, he cracks up and goes sappy!
Which if you are paying close attention-that basically reveals the rest of the film.
So Denham finally reveals to Jack and Captain where he wants to go next. They are confused as there is nothing known out in that direction but ocean-but Denham has a secret island, that he got from a skipper who’s boat was destroyed. The place is called Skull Island. There is a giant wall that was built centuries ago, and no one knows what is on the other side but they police it and make sure it stays strong. That sounds kind of familiar…
Did you ever hear of
white walkers Kong? Denham asks. He wants to go and create a picture with this Kong, whatever it is. He doesn’t care about anything or ayone other than money and this picture.
Denham does some screen tests with Ann, with all the sailors watching. Ann practices with the famous scream scene.
Sidenote her dress kinda looks like the one in White Zombie.
She is like a zombie.
Anyways, back to the film-this screaming pierces Jack as he loves Ann, but it also makes him wonder-what is Denham planning on them seeing?
They come into a fog and look for the island, but can hardly see anything…As they get closer they hear drums, but the fog burns off and they see the island.
Carl Denham: [seeing the island for the first time] Well, Skipper, there she is… Skull Mountain, the wall… everything just like on my funny little map.
Denham and the group plan to go ashore. The skipper comes as he knows languages, they have a guy who does the gas bombs (just in case), etc. Jack wants Ann to stay behind until they have assessed the situation, but Denham won’t listen. He wants his camera and cast by his side so that at any moment a picture can be filmed.
They look at the Wall and Denham goes ape over it, wanting to film it immediately. As they go Ann holds Jack’s hand, she’s excited and slightly fearful. But Jack is very afraid, he thinks having Ann come along was an awful idea.
The group stumble on a ceremony. The people are dressed up in ape skins, beating drums, and preparing a girl for something-some special ceremony is going on. The poor girl, she looks so sad and upset, but doing her duty.
Denham films them, and Ann peaks out trying to see what is going on. But they are spotted by the native’s leader. He walks over to them and the Skipper speaks to him in the hopes of keeping any fighting from happening.
The leader asks them to leave and says that the girl is the bride of Kong. One guy is upset-he says the ceremony has been ruined as it was viewed by outsiders. The chieftain asks to purchase Ann because of her yellow hair, and they think she would make a better gift for Kong. He wants to buy her, six of women for her.
They leave as the situation is hot, and say they will be back tomorrow to make friendship.
This want of her blonde hair as they had ever seen one before reminds me of my friend Margery. Margery had beautiful red hair and traveled all over, and people in other countries where red hair was scare were always in awe of it and wanting to touch her curls.
Jack and Ann talk, and he admits that he cares for her. He scared for her and a little of her.
Jack Driscoll: [to Ann] Hey… I guess I love you.
I guess I love you?
He makes me laugh. Jack has zero clues on how to be romantic.
Ann likes him too and they kiss. Jack gets called away by the Skipper, while Ann waits for him. But little does she know the people are intent on gettig her. They want her for their god and sneak aboard the boat and snatch her.
Denham notices torches going throughout the village, and Jack finished his duties and searches for Ann. But Ann is gone.
He goes to her room-no Ann, no one has seen her. But Charlie finds a native bracelet and calls all hands on deck as he has a bad feeling about it.
So the ceremony has begin, but unlike the previous girl-Ann doesn’t want to do the duty so they have to hold her.
They pull the bar from the door back and open to reveal…..a stage, they drag her through the giant walls, looking like little dolls next to them and pull her up the steps, chaining her t it. And seal her on it.
I remember the first time I saw this and I was just on the edge of my seat, what will it be? What is it going to look like??!!!
And then you hear the noises
And then he crashes through and we see his giant scary face!!!!!!!!! Those teeth!!!!! I LOVE it! They did such a great job, and I think it still looks 100% aMAZING!
Kong is just like what is this and grabs her carrying her off.
Meanwhile, Jack leads the band to save her. The crew goes storming in, all willing to save her as all loved her. A chunk stay behind to guard the gate and make sure that it stays open for their return.
The chieftain sees them storm in and sends his own men after. You guys never should have taken their women, it ruined your whole way of life.
As they march Denham still is thinking about the picture-money, filming.
They spot a stegosaurs, but they knock him out, temporarily and shoot him.
It’s funny but like all the creatures are giant on this island, bit the humans are still human-sized. I wonder why?
They make a raft and drift dow the river, I would be very, very, very afraid to be on that river safer seeing a stegosaurus. Who knows what else is in the water.
As they drift along we see some loch ness monster type thing
I still think it looks cool. It looked cool as a kid and still does. And I don’t care about what anyone else says.
NOOOOOO it eats some of the crew!!!
Things just get worse as they are followed by a Brontosaurs. This would be the worst island of all time to be stuck on. Basically everything is giant and trying to kill you!
Everything is trying to kill me!
Meanwhile Kong has Anne and Jack and the rest are not too far behind. The chase is on!
They are crossing a tree branch above a ravine, except Jack who gets on a vine nearby, but Kong picks it up and shakes them off-some falling to their death only two managing to hold on, opps..make that one. Kong then throws the branch and they all are dead.
All but Jack.
Kong spots him and tries to grab him from his hiding spot, but Jack stabs his hand. But Jack has more serious problems when a snake like creature also goes to attack him.
Meanwhile, Ann is waiting in the tree that Kong placed her in for safekeeping, when a T-Rex comes out and tries to get her. We then have the epic Kong and T-Rex fight, YEAH!
I like T-Rexs, but..oh no, they bumped into Ann’s branch and it fell. She is almost crushed and finds herself trapped under the log.
Poor Anne, I bet she’s thinking I should have never agreed to this job. I should have just walked away from Denham and never looked back.
Oooh King Kong rips the T-Rex’s jaw apart and then plays with it not going back together. His creepy ape face with all the teeth!
Kong picks her up and caries her away screaming. Jack comes up and sends Denham (they guy has nine lives, I swear) off to get some more smoke bombs to knock Kong out.
Jack is prepared to go alone and fight the giant ape monster.
Carl Denham: [talking to Jack across the ravine] Why, you wouldn’t follow that beast alone?
Jack Driscoll: Someone’s got to stay on his trail while it’s hot!
Ladies, find yourself a Jack. Like this is the kind of bravery and love you want in a person. Can you imagine this-a giant freaking ape that could squash you like a bug-anyone could have been out but he decides to face it on his own because he loves Ann. How sweet.
Denham heads back to shore tells them the story, and Skipper is sure all they are all dead men. Everyone else is after all. Denham plans to leave at dawn with the bombs and go after them.
Meanwhile, Kong goes to his lair where he sets Ann down for a minute and another creature comes after her out o the water.
Man today is not anybody’s day!
We get another fight scene!! Yeah!! Of course after winning Kong must do a victory roar.
So now it is Ann and the monster alone she faints. And Kong picks her up looking and her. He rips her clothes off trying to figure out what they are-the other girl was in a skirt and flowers, the one that was supposed to be the bride.
This scene was one that was removed as it was too “graphic” and then added back in later.
Jack tries to sneak up on them, but knocks a boulder over. Real smooth.
Kong looks for him, and as he does Ann inches away and is attacked by a pterodactyl. Geez-it has really not been her day.
While Kong fights it, Jack sneaks in and leads her away on a vine. Kong eats the pterodactyl and Ann is grateful to be away.
See this is what bugged me in the remake, how they tried to make Ann and Kong friends. She doesn’t want to leave the giant ape monster which makes no sense to me. Like I LOVE cats, but being stranded on a desert island with a ginormous one that has bee known to devour the previous women-I don’t think that I would ever want to do that.
And let’s be serious-if I want a giant friendly ape-I’m watching Mighty Joe Young-If I want a killer monster ape, I’m watching King Kong. I don’t watch King Kong to have a girl beast love affair and ice-skating and Jack jealous of a gorilla and all that dumb stuff.
For the thousandth time
Speaking of giant cats, did anybody ever read the picture book Kat Kong as a kid? I used to check that out over and over again.
They all want to leave but Denham of course is all about the money. He wants to take Kong with them.
Carl Denham: Wait a minute, what about Kong?
Jack Driscoll: Well, what about him?
Carl Denham: We can here to get a moving picture, and we’ve found something worth more than all the movies in the world!
Captain Englehorn: [incredulous] What?
Carl Denham: We’ve got those gas bombs. If we can capture him alive…
Jack Driscoll: Why, you’re crazy. Besides that, he’s on a cliff where a whole army couldn’t get at him.
Carl Denham: Yeah, if he stays there…[looks at Ann] but we’ve got something he wants.
Jack Driscoll: [holds Ann] Yeah. Something he won’t get again.
Jack is not interested and wants to get gone. They all hurry when they hear Kong is coming. Seal the doors, run for the ship, the natives try to keep him out too-all joining together but, Kong comes and boy is he mad.
He breaks the doors down (FYI whoever built that wall you din’t build it strong enough). Everyone flees in terror! If I was the chieftain I would fire whoever come up with the idea to get the blonde woman.
RUN, the men try to protect their people and women but Kong is too strong!!!! He eats them and kills them.
Kong eventually makes it to the beaches and they throw the bombs at him trying to knock him out and accomplishing it.
Denham makes a big speech and they take him to New York.
[Kong has been knocked out by gas bombs]
Carl Denham: Why, the whole world will pay to see this.
Captain Englehorn: No chains will ever hold that.
Carl Denham: We’ll give him more than chains. He’s always been king of his world, but we’ll teach him fear. We’re millionaires, boys. I’ll share it with all of you. Why, in a few months, it’ll be up in lights on Broadway: Kong, the Eighth Wonder of the World.
One thing that has always bothered me-and they never explain in the new one either-how did they get that giant creature from the island to New York? Like he is ginormous! He’s bigger than the boat. How did they feed him?
Anyways, I don’t know how, but they do it and bring Kong to New York City.
They all come to the opening night and Ann is excited and Jack is not happy. He doesn’t care for being there and hates the suit. Jack is very humble when Denham tries to paint him as the hero and Ann the star!
The house is packed out and all are eager to see Kong. Denham gives a great speech, but like Ian Malcolm says-chaos you cant control everything. He reveals Kong-now chained to a platform-oohh the irony. Ann and Jack are engaged! Aw! Denham has the press come foward and they take pictures. Bad idea!
All the light bothers Kong and then Jack holding Ann-it gets to be to much and Kong breaks free.
Everyone goes screaming and running as Kong chases after them, Grabbing people, throwing them while searching for his girl.
Even as a kid I was always conscious of money and always wondered who’s going to pay for all the damage? Denham? Does he get arrested for the carnage and wreckage? Can you imagine if this was made today? Lawsuit after lawsuit would come running in.
Ann is upset and discussing her PTSD over the event, while Jack tries to console her-but too late. Kong has found them. Jack gets knocked unconscious and Kong takes Ann.
Jack wake up and runs off to rescue her again.
Meanwhile the police and fire department gets called in. Can you imagine the luck of being one of the people who pulled that shift this night. Getting a calls about giant apes!
Kong causes destruction and mayhem and gets caught in a train, breaking it and you just gotta love it. He’s destroying everything!
So the story says Merian C. Cooper didn’t like that the film was at thirteen reels, too unlucky! He insisted they add another shot, one he’s been wanting all along that was the train scene.
He heads for the tallest building in the world (at least in 1933) to the Empire State Building.
They don’t know what to do or how to stop him, but Jack comes up with the idea of airplanes, so the military is called in. While everyone is watching the planes. Jack sneaks into the elevator and heads to the roof.
We see Kong at the top with the planes. I LOVE this scene.
The planes shoot him and he falls, down down to his death! Jack makes it to the top and he and Ann are reunited!
Down below Denham makes it to the ape and says the famous line.
Police Lieutenant: Well, Denham, the airplanes got him.
Carl Denham: Oh no, it wasn’t the airplanes. It was beauty killed the beast.
I LOOOOOOOOVVVVEEEEEE IT!!!!!!!!!!!
You know this film made $90,000 its opening weekend, the biggest opening ever at the time. When the film opened in London, 12,000 people had to be turned away.
You know its funny, I planed to review this movie way back when I first started Horrorfest, but I just ran out of days. I had always planed on reviewing it, but never imagined it would take seven ears Oh well!
To start Horrorfest VIII from the beginning go to, Count Dracula the Propagator of This Unspeakable Evil Has Disappeared. He Must Be Found and Destroyed!: Horror of Dracula (1958)
For more monster movies, go to Once, There Was Even a Man Who Had Scissors for Hands: Edward Scissorhands (1990)