Friday, 15 March 2013

King Kong (1933)


Merian C. Cooper and Ernest B. Schoedsack

Bruce Cabot, Fay Wray, Robert Armstrong, Frank Reicher, Noble Johnson, Sam Hardy, Steve Clemente and King Kong

7 and up (but it depends)

Carl Denham (Armstrong), John Driscoll (Cabot) and Captain Englehorn (Reicher) are heading to Kong Island to film a nature documentary, but they currently lack an actress. They soon chance upon Ann Darrow (Wray) and they set off. Halfway on the trip, Ann and Driscoll fall in love. However, Ann is soon captured by King Kong (Himself), who is worshipped by a native tribe led by a chief (Johnson) and a witch king (Clemente). The crew soon starts a mad chase to save their beloved actress.

Film poster advertising the movie.
Why it’s good
Because it has less of those horrific scenes than the 1976 and 2005 versions and remakes. Those are actually good, but please, it is such a horror that you might not speak for days and you will not dare to ever go to Pacific Islands where you know big gorillas run.

This is entirely different, perhaps, not much of a scare, but rather an adventure film and thriller. King Kong looks really fake; though to some toddlers might look like an ugly beast. In addition, the scares and thrills are not that scary in today’s standards.

For today, those effects could be 0/100 for the CGI special effects where you use computers and Macs. The shots, though, might be a little too violent in some (see the parent’s guide).

But as a whole, it remains the best of the three King Kong movies.

Parent’s guide
Two of the characters kiss. Fay Wray is held by King Kong and at one point half-dressed, though unnoticeable. King Kong fights with several dinosaurs, some of the sailors and later falls off the Empire State Building, but the scenes are not at all graphic.

There is no true height of King Kong. On the island, the model of King Kong was 18 inches high. When he was chained to the wall, the model became 24 inches. When on the Empire State Building, he was more than 50 inches tall.

If you like this…

The 1976 and 2005 King Kong. If you can find it, get Mighty Joe Young (1949) with Terry Moore and Ben Johnson, which was remade later in 1998 with Bill Paxton.       


  1. I always thought King Kong was brutal for a 1933 movie, especially the part where Kong kills the T-Rex. Kong breaks the jaws while crushing in its head, (all complete with graphic cracking sounds and blood).

  2. Thank you for your comment. The 1933 version isn't that gory when you compare it with the 2005 version, I think... My mum left the cinema halfway when watching the 2005 version!