In 1933 New York, an overly ambitious movie producer coerces his cast and hired ship crew to travel to mysterious Skull Island, where they encounter Kong, a giant ape who is immediately smitten with leading lady Ann Darrow.
Carl Denham needs to finish his movie and has the perfect location; Skull Island. But he still needs to find a leading lady. This 'soon-to-be-unfortunate' soul is Ann Darrow. No one knows what they will encounter on this island and why it is so mysterious, but once they reach it, they will soon find out. Living on this hidden island is a giant gorilla and this beast now has Ann in it's grasps. Carl and Ann's new love, Jack Driscoll must travel through the jungle looking for Kong and Ann, whilst avoiding all sorts of creatures and beasts. Written by
Classic Extravaganza Still Greatest Movie Adventure of all time.
As a guy whose pushing 52, I'm proud to say that this movie has been a profound influence on my life and is largely instrumental into launching me into a career as an art director. I've seen this movie perhaps over 1,000 times. Before the advent of VHS, I would catch it anywhere in L.A. where there was a revival house. Saw it countless times before the "lost" footage was restored (which puts a competely different spin on the complex character of Kong). I have a rare tape recording of the original Steiner "prologue Music" lasting over ten minutes (dubbed for me by a collector friend) which I don't think has made it onto the excellent Turner/Rhino CD soundtrack. And still I see something new upon each screening. I first saw Kong in 1956 on the local "Million Dollar Movie" show, a weekly feature of KHJ TV-9 - an RKO-General station. I remember the scenes of Kong throwing the "wrong" woman to her death as still intact...as well as a few feet of film where a New York fire engine flips-over after going around the corner (I've never seen that bit since). I was in a film class being taught by Rudy Behlmer at Art Center in 1971 when he matter-of-factly screened the "lost" footage in class (he had gotten access to it). I've seen nitrate prints screened at the L.A. County Museum of Art, UCLA and MOMA. I have seen this film with Fay Wray in attendance. I don't think I've ever missed a screening anywhere locally to the best of my knowledge. What bothers me is that today's audiences may not be able to project themselves back into time and try to relive the thrilling film-going experience circa 1933. They cannot grasp or accept the dialogue or style of acting at face-value; many consider it corny...or over-the-top. Yet a comparison between Kong and say Jurassic Park III finds the latter's dialogue so stiltedly puerile and instantly forgettable that it cannot stand the test of time even in the present, let alone seventy years. In Kong, Bruce Cabot portrays a "natural" mug who plays his part beautifully as an uncouth mate aboard ship suddenly sharing his space with one of the prettiest women of all time (Fay Wray's looks are timeless, and she is still a "hottie" even by today's standards) . Is there any wonder that similarities between Cabot and Harrison Ford as "Indiana Jones" are not coincidental? If Cabot were alive today, he'd be the one earning millions. Robert Armstrong is perfect playing an impresario so full of energy he bursts at the seams. This is the way show people talked during the third decade of the Twentieth Century...full of what they used to call ballyhoo (check out Jimmy Cagney in "Footlight Parade made in the same year for the same kind of high-voltage enthusiasm). Frank Reicher is totally believable as the captain, lending an even greater amount of quasi-realism to the fable. Never discussed is fact that this movie is shot almost documentary-style...it has a mythical "preserved-in-amber" feel about it. It's as if what you are seeing is truly real...folklore-become-fact...and that the scenes unfolding actually happened once upon a time in 1933. Who cannot visit New York City today and NOT think of King Kong on the rampage close to 70 years ago? I urge anyone who has not seen "King Kong" on the big screen to do so. When you hear the any of the remarkable sound effects as you view the film, you will become a convert; for example, just listen to the all-too-real crunching of the Allosaurus' jawbone just before Kong ends its life (a death made all-the-more poignant by the way the carnivore is introduced to the audience-by innocently and realistically SCRATCHING ITS HEAD WITH ITS CLAW as it enters frame before the fight). Absolute Perfection in a movie made up of absolute perfections. I could yammer on and on. But I won't. All I can tell you is that for these and countless other reasons this film will always rate a 10-out-of-10. It is still the Greatest Adventure Movie Of All Time.
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