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King Kong
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Synopsis for
King Kong (1933) More at IMDbPro »

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In 1933, in New York harbor Carl Denham (Robert Armstrong), a fierce independent film director famous for shooting animal pictures in remote and exotic locations, who is also a shifty showman, has recruited a bunch of macho seamen but is unable to hire an actress for his newest project His usual agent Charles Weston (Sam Hardy) refuses to supply anyone because of the dangerous nature of the expedition, so Carl goes wandering in the streets of New York searching for a suitable girl.

He chances upon starving unemployed Ann Darrow (Fay Wray), as she is caught trying to steal an apple. Denham is taken with her, pays off the grocer , then buys her a meal and tries to convince her to join him on the adventure of a lifetime, offering her the lead in his project. Although Ann is apprehensive, she has nothing to lose and agrees.

They set sail aboard the Venture, a tramp steamer, and travel for weeks in the direction of Indonesia, where Denham claims they will be shooting.

Despite his ongoing declarations that women have no place on board ships, the ship's first mate Jack Driscoll (Bruce Cabot) is obviously becoming attracted to Ann. Denham informs Driscoll he has enough trouble without the complications of a seagoing love affair. Driscoll sneers at the suggestion, reminding Denham of his toughness in past adventures.

Denham's reply outlines the theme of the movie he is making: "The Beast was a tough guy too. He could lick the world, but when he saw Beauty, she got him. He went soft. He forgot his wisdom and the little fellas licked him."

One afternoon Carl wants to practice filming with Ann. As he rolls the camera, he tells her first to look around relaxed, then to look puzzled, surprised, look upwards, then further upwards, terrorized and speechless, finally to scream loudly for her life, while staring at the most horrifying thing she has ever seen . . .

After maintaining secrecy for weeks, Denham finally tells Driscoll and Captain Englehorn (Frank Reicher) that they're searching for an uncharted island shown on a map in Denham's possession. The island has three labeled features: "peninsula", "jungle", and "Skull Mountain". Denham has the only map that shows the location, originally drawn by a native of the island who had been swept out to sea.

Denham then describes something monstrous connected to the island, a legendary entity known to the islanders only as "Kong". The Captain has heard of something with that name.

As the Venture creeps through the fog surrounding the island, the crew hears drums in the distance.

Arriving at the island's shore, they see a native village on a peninsula, cut off from the bulk of the island by an enormous wall.

A landing party, including the filming crew and Ann, goes ashore and encounters the natives, who are about to hand over a girl to Kong as a ritual sacrifice.

Although Denham, Englehorn, Jack and Ann are hiding behind foliage, the native chief (Noble Johnson) spots them and approaches. Captain Englehorn is able to understand the native speech, and at Denham's urging makes friendly overtures to the chief. However, another tribe member (Steve Clemento) rushes up to the chief and tells him that the presence of outsiders has spoiled the ceremony. While translating this to the rest of the party, Englehorn says he must be the witch doctor.

The chief then gets a clear look at Ann, and he begins speaking with great energy. Englehorn translates this as, "Look at the golden woman!" The chief proposes to swap six native women for Ann, an offer Denham delicately declines as he and his party edge away from the scene, assuring the chief that they will return tomorrow to get better acquainted.

Back on the Venture, Jack and Ann openly express their love for each other. When Jack is called away to the captain's quarters, a stealthy contingent of natives captures Ann, takes her back to the wall, where she is presented to Kong in an elaborate ceremony, leaving her tied to columns behind the wall.

Kong emerges from the jungle and is revealed to be a giant gorilla.

The Venture crew returns to the village and open the huge gate on the wall; half of the crew then go after Kong, encountering an enraged stegosaurus, a brontosaurus, and a territorial apatosaurus. They get on a makeshift raft to cross a body of water, which is upended by a giant plesiosaurus.

Up ahead in a jungle clearing, Kong places Ann in a high cleft of a tree, then goes back and confronts his pursuers as they are crossing a ravine on an enormous log. Kong shakes them off into the ravine, with only Driscoll and Denham surviving.

Driscoll, continues the chase while Denham returns to get help.. Kong has become smitten with Ann, and Driscoll faces a challenge to save her from the beast and avoid being killed himself.

Meanwhile, a tyrannosaurs rex approaches a terrified Ann, whose screams alert Kong, who rushes back and confronts the tyrannosaurus. The titanic fight between the two ends when Kong pries open the dinosaur's jaw until it breaks.

Kong takes Ann up to his mountain lair, where a plesiosaurus emerges from a bubbling swamp and tries to strangle Kong, who kills it as well.

Kong then inspects his blonde prize and begins to caress her, tearing off pieces of her clothing and tickling her.

Jack interrupts the proceedings by knocking over a boulder. When the gorilla leaves Ann to investigate the noise, a pteranodon swoops from the sky and clutches Ann in its talons. A final fight ensues and the pterodactyl is dispatched.

While Kong is distracted, Jack rescues Ann and takes her back to the village. To escape, at one point, they must jump into a deep pool of water many feet below.

Kong chases them, breaks through the large door in the wall and rampages through the village, killing many natives.

Denham hurls gas bombs at Kong, knocking him out, whereupon he exults in the opportunity presented: "He's always been King of his world. But we'll teach him fear! We're millionaires, boys! I'll share it with all of you! Why, in a few months, his name will be up in lights on Broadway! Kong! The Eighth Wonder of the World!"

The next scene shows those last words in lights on a theater marquee. Along with hundreds of curious New Yorkers, Denham, Driscoll and Ann are in evening wear for the gala event. The curtain lifts, and Denham presents a subdued and shackled Kong to the stunned audience.

All goes well until photographers, using the blinding flashbulbs of the era, begin snapping shots of Ann and Jack, who is now her fianc. Under the impression that the flashbulbs are attacking Ann, Kong breaks free of his bonds and escapes from the theater, as the screaming audience flees.

He rampages through city streets, destroying an elevated train and killing several citizens. He looks into windows, his glaring eyes looming in the windows of the wrecked elevated train

Kong sees Ann in an upper floor hotel room, he reaches in the window, grabs her, and carries her to the top of the Empire State Building. The military dispatches four Curtiss Helldiver biplanes to destroy Kong.

The ape gently sets Ann down on the building's observation deck and climbs atop the upper mast, trying to fend off the attackers.

He manages to swat one plane down, but he is mortally wounded by machine-gun fire and plummets to his death in the street below.

Denham picks his way to the front of the crowd, where a cop remarks "Well Denham, the airplanes got him."

Denham replies, "It wasn't the airplanes. It was beauty killed the beast."


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