King Kong is a milestone production, a key film in the horror genre, and a monumental achievement in the advances of stop-motion animation. It’s also yet another film of measure for the casual moviegoer versus the hardcore filmophile; if you love film, and care about its history, you’ve seen this. If not, you certainly need to, as this is still an awesome spectacle when viewed through the right frame.
The film is a run-of-the-mill production until the mysterious jungle island and the titular giant ape come into play. There’s the typical romantic subplot between the female lead Ann Darrow, played by Fay Wray, and the stern and masculine first mate Jack Driscoll, played by Bruce Cabot. It’s when the island natives kidnap Ann to use as a sacrifice for the mighty Kong that the film first breaks out of its shell and becomes a grand fashion monster flick. And it’s not just Kong; there are a myriad of dinosaurs on the island as well that the rescuing crew has to deal with, all of which use a combination of stop-motion and back projection to bring them to life.
The mack daddy of monster movies, this is a seminal work that deserves to be seen by every fan and historian of movies. If you haven’t seen this, you’re missing out on an important piece of classic film history; whether or not it’s your cup of tea isn’t really important. This is certainly required viewing, and a must see before you die, though you may not think it all that impressive from a modern standpoint. Still, this was made in 1933, and for the times, I’m sure this was mind-blowing stuff.
Arbitrary Rating: 8/10