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King Kong (1933)

Fantasy | 100 minutes
3,58 647 votes

Genre: Fantasy / Adventure

Duration: 100 minuten

Country: United States

Directed by: Merian C. Cooper and Ernest B. Schoedsack

Stars: Fay Wray, Robert Armstrong and Bruce Cabot

IMDb score: 7,9 (90.799)

Releasedate: 15 March 1933

King Kong plot

"A Monster of Creation’s Dawn Breaks Loose in Our World Today!"

A wildlife documentary director named Carl Denham is handed a map showing the location of the hidden Skull Island, where the god Kong is said to live. After plucking an unemployed woman named Ann Darrow from the street for the lead role, he and his crew leave for Skull Island for filming. There they find out that Kong is a giant monkey, to which the natives want to sacrifice and woman. The natives capture Ann for this purpose and offer her to Kong.

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Full Cast & Crew

Actors and actresses

Ann Darrow

Jack Driscoll

Captain Englehorn

Ship's Cook Charlie

Mate Briggs

Charles Weston

Skull Island Native Chief

Skull Island Witch Doctor

Press Photographer (uncredited)

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avatar van Dievegge


  • 3010 messages
  • 7705 votes

Ancient adventures often involved fictional voyages of exploration to the southern seas. Today they would be distant planets rather than undiscovered islands with prehistoric monsters. King Kong was born from a nightmare of screenwriter Merian C. Cooper. As a fighter pilot during World War I, he dreamed about fighting a monster from airplanes. By placing the third act in New York, the fantastic is united with the realistic.

There's quite a bit of foreshadowing in the first twenty minutes: the little monkey, Fay Wray's anxious, upward gaze. She appears as an inept thief, though her haircut and make-up are a bit too pretty for someone who can't afford an apple. This was before the Hayscode, as evidenced by the daring dress during the photo shoot.

King Kong represents masculinity. The Empire State Building is a phallus. The beast does not fight out of evil, but to defend its territory. Jack looks like him. He is also a macho whose gentle side gradually emerges. Fay Wray became the scream queen, a weak woman in need of rescue, but also the beauty who weakens the macho. The natives are presented as primitive savages, as usually in those old-fashioned adventures.

The technical means of the time were exploited: stop-motion, miniatures, puppets, screens with moving images as a backdrop... Kong's scream is said to be a combination of the roar of a lion and a tiger, played backwards and slowed down. Even though you know that you are looking at a moving doll, you still start to sympathize with the misunderstood creature.

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avatar van Fisico

Fisico (moderator films)

  • 8407 messages
  • 4718 votes

Strong classic that has already had many remakes. And despite the fact that it all looks pretty clunky, it's all very solid and expertly made. Certainly before the period of 1933 it must have been a feat to put everything together.

Kong has undergone some positive behavioral changes over the past few decades. In the 1933 version, however, he is not very sympathetic and he is very brutal and ruthless against humanity. Surely some innocents die - also in New York - which makes Kong monstrously represented. It is of course very questionable how responsible people themselves are for this behaviour. Where in later versions the romance (at least from 1 side) gets more attention, here it is an unadulterated kidnapping. Also with Ann Darrow there is little understanding for Kong and all she could do was scream. Screaming out of fear and panic.

The other monsters and dino were also clunky, but still very entertaining and nice fights. Something will come at you anyway and the makers have not looked at one beast more or less. The swamps and the tree trunk scene were also beautifully rendered. The highlight, of course, remains The Empire State Building, legendary scene. Beautiful!

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avatar van james_cameron


  • 5996 messages
  • 9120 votes

Indestructible classic, still great. How I wish I could travel to 1933 to see this in the cinema. The impact this must have had at the time... The exciting plot, the fun characters, the beautiful production design and the first-class stop-motion effects - everything adds to the magic of the whole. And what an ambition the makers had at the time, unbelievable. To let all kinds of monsters fight against each other on this scale in 1933, it took a lot of guts. The pace is also surprisingly fast, with a relentless flow of action scenes and spectacle from the moment the main characters arrive on the mysterious island, resulting in one of the most iconic finales in cinema history.

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