King Kong is a masterpiece of movie exotica and one of the top moneymakers of the 30’s. Fortune hunters travel to Skull Island in search of the fabled giant ape “King Kong.” Enticing him with the lovely Wray, they capture Kong and bring him back to New York to become a sideshow attraction.
The rampaging ape escapes and ransacks the city searching for Wray, ending his quest swatting biplanes as he dangles from the Empire State Building in one of the most famous images in movie history.
Directors Merian C. Cooper and Ernest B. Schoedsack met as fliers in WWI Poland. They specialized in exotic documentaries and then adventure films with far-flung locations. Cooper later became a producer for David O. Selznick, and then produced John Ford masterpieces such as “Fort Apache” (1948) and “The Quiet Man” (1952), and one of the biggest hits of the 50’s, “This Is Cinerama” (1952).
The model that would represent the giant ape in King Kong (1933) was constructed by monster-maker Marcel Delgado on an 18-inch armature padded with rubber and sponge “muscles” and covered with rabbit fur.
The massive success of King Kong led to it to being quickly followed by “Son of Kong” (1934). There was also a 1976 poorly received remake, and the related monkeyshines of “Mighty Joe Young” (1949). It’s still a story that remains a drawcard for film-makers, in 2005 Peter Jackson directed a large scale version and 2017 brought us an action packed take called Kong: Skull Island.
Cast: Robert Armstrong, Fay Wray, Bruce Cabot, Frank Reicher
Directors: Merian C. Cooper, Ernest B. Schoedsack
Producers: Merian C. Cooper, Ernest B. Shoedsack
Directors of Photography: Eddie Linden, J.O. Taylor, Vernon L. Walker
Editor: Ted Cheesman
Composer: Max Steiner
Screenwriters: James Creelman, Ruth Rose
Production Designer: Carroll Clark
Art Directors: Alfred Herman, Van Nest Polglase
USA / RKO / 105 minutes / 1933