King Kong from 1933 is a classic of adventure cinema and the sci fi genre, directed by Merian C. Cooper e Ernest B. Schoedsack.
The plot of the film revolves around the figure of Kong, a giant anthropomorphic ape who is captured on the mysterious island of Skull Island and brought to New York to be exhibited in a circus show. Here, however, Kong manages to escape and sow panic in the city, until he is shot down by the gunfire of an airplane.
The film was a great success with audiences and influenced numerous other subsequent adventure and monster films. In particular, it inaugurated the “monster movie” genre, which had its maximum development in the 1950s with the advent of horror and science fiction cinema.
The character of King Kong has become an iconic figure in popular culture, so much so that the film has been the subject of numerous remakes, spin-offs and references in other media, such as Peter Benchley’s 1976 novel “Kong” or the 2005 film directed by Peter Jackson.
The plot of the 1933 film King Kong follows the story of an ambitious film crew led by director Carl Denham, who sets out in search of a mysterious island, called “Skull Island”, where monstrous creatures and primitive tribes are said to live .
Denham hires the actress Ann Darrow to star in his film and takes her with him on the ship that will take him to the island. Here, the troupe is attacked by a group of natives who kidnap Ann and offer her as a sacrifice to Kong, a giant anthropomorphic ape who lives on the island.
Denham and his men search for Ann and manage to find her in the jungle, but Kong attacks and kills most of them. Only Denham and Jack Driscoll, the protagonist of the film Ann was shooting, manage to survive and capture Kong, who is taken to New York to be exhibited in a circus show.
In the city, Kong breaks free from his cage and wreaks havoc in the crowd, causing numerous deaths and material damage. After kidnapping Ann again, Kong is pursued by the police and military, until he is shot down by gunfire from an aircraft.
Kong’s death evokes sympathy and pity among the crowd, who recognize his humanity and dignity, and the film ends with Denham declaring that “beauty killed the beast”.
The 1933 film King Kong features a number of characters, including:
Carl Denham: the director of the film at the beginning of the story, who sets out to find a mysterious island on which to shoot his new film;
Ann Darrow: the lead actress of the film Denham is making, kidnapped by natives on the island and later rescued by Kong;
Jack Driscoll: the screenwriter of the film that Ann is shooting, who falls in love with her and who rescues her with Denham from the jungle;
King Kong: a giant anthropomorphic ape who lives on the island of Skull Island and who is captured by Denham to be exhibited in a circus show in New York;
Lumpy: Denham’s ship’s cook, a comical character who provides some lightheartedness to the story;
Bruce Baxter: an actor who is part of Denham’s troupe and who, despite his arrogance, demonstrates courage and determination in dangerous situations.
There are other supporting characters as well, such as members of the ship’s crew, the natives of Skull Island, and the police and military involved in Kong’s capture in New York.
The 1933 film King Kong was produced by RKO Radio Pictures and directed by Merian C. Cooper and Ernest B. Schoedsack.
The production of the film was quite complex and expensive for the time, with a budget of approximately $670,000, which would be approximately $13,000,000 in today’s dollars. The production required numerous special effects, including modeling an entire island in miniature and making a large Kong puppet, approximately 15 feet (4.5 meters) tall.
The Kong puppet consisted of a rubber-coated steel structure and animated by numerous operators hidden within the structure itself. The realization of the special effects required the collaboration of various professionals in the sector, including Willis O’Brien, who had previously worked on films such as The Lost World (1925).
The soundtrack of the film was composed by Max Steiner and achieved great success with audiences and critics. In particular, the scene of Kong’s chase in the jungle was accompanied by a driving and dramatic music, which has become an icon of adventure cinema.
The film premiered in New York on March 2, 1933 and was a great success with audiences, becoming one of the most watched films of the year. His influence on popular culture has been enormous, so much so that the King Kong character has become an icon of fantasy and adventure cinema.
Distribution and Reception
King Kong was released in US cinemas by RKO Radio Pictures on March 7, 1933. The film was a great success with audiences and critics, becoming one of the greatest successes of the cinema history.
The film was lauded for its innovative stop-motion animation technique and the special effects used, which were called state-of-the-art for its time. Max Steiner’s score also helped create a tense and dramatic atmosphere in the film.
King Kong was nominated for four Academy Awards including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Screenplay and Best Special Effects, winning only the latter award.
The film had a huge impact on popular culture, influencing numerous subsequent films, including Jurassic Park (1993) and Avatar (2009), and becoming an icon of American culture. King Kong also helped define the genre of adventure and fantasy cinema, which has continued to influence film and television to this day.
In summary, King Kong was a great success in its time and had a huge impact on the history of cinema, becoming a classic of American popular culture.
The Style of the Movie
1933’s King Kong was one of the first films to use special effects extensively to create a fantastical and adventurous narrative. The style of the film was influenced by the genre of the adventure cinema and fantastic cinema, with the presence of mythical creatures such as King Kong and other prehistoric animals.
The film uses a linear narrative, in which director Carl Denham organizes an expedition to an unknown island to make a movie, but ends up finding something bigger than he bargained for. The presence of strong and independent female characters, such as Ann Darrow, was innovative for the time.
The film’s visual style was accomplished through the use of stop-motion animation techniques and miniature models. These special effects made it possible to create giant creatures and fantastic landscapes, giving the film a dreamlike and surreal atmosphere.
The film’s soundtrack was another innovative feature, using music to create a dramatic and immersive atmosphere. The soundtrack was composed by Max Steiner, one of the first film score composers, who used music creatively to emphasize action and tension scenes.
In summary, the style of the 1933 film King Kong was influenced by the genre of adventure cinema and fantastic cinema, using innovative techniques of special effects and soundtrack to create an immersive and atmospheric atmosphere. The film has significantly influenced the history of cinema, becoming a classic of the genre.
The director of 1933’s King Kong was Merian C. Cooper, an American aviator, producer and director known for his passion for exotic adventures and documentaries. Cooper co-directed the film with longtime collaborator Ernest B. Schoedsack.
Cooper was the project’s primary creator and worked hard to make the film, developing the idea of an unknown island filled with prehistoric creatures and a giant ape that would abduct a young woman. The King Kong character was created by Cooper as a metaphor for the destructive power of nature.
Along with Schoedsack, Cooper used innovative techniques to create the film’s special effects, including stop-motion animation, superimposing and rear projection. Additionally, Cooper insisted on using music to create a dramatic and immersive atmosphere, choosing composer Max Steiner to compose the score.
Cooper continued to work in the film business for many years after King Kong, directing and producing a number of adventure and documentary films, including The Most Dangerous Game (1932) and This is Cinerama (1952). Nonetheless, King Kong remains his most famous and influential work, a cinematic classic that has influenced many generations of filmmakers and film enthusiasts.
In summary, Merian C. Cooper was the director of 1933’s King Kong, a filmmaker passionate about adventures and documentaries who used innovative techniques to make the film’s special effects and insisted on using music to create an immersive and dramatic atmosphere. King Kong is his most famous and influential work, a cinematic classic that has influenced the history of cinema.