A film crew goes to a tropical island for an exotic location shoot and discovers a colossal ape who takes a shine to their female blonde star. He is then captured and brought back to New York City for public exhibition.
In 1933 New York, an overly ambitious movie producer coerces his cast and hired ship crew to travel to the 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
At around eighty minutes into the film, a man, LeRoy Mason, standing in line to see Kong complains to his lady companion, "These tickets cost me twenty bucks." At presumably ten dollars per ticket, this would have been a tremendous cost in Depression-wracked 1933. By contrast, a ticket to see the 1933 New York Yankees, which featured Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig, or to this movie itself, would have been about 35 cents. OBSERVER'S NOTE: This may have been secondary sale ticket pricing. Since this was a social event that many would have wanted to attend, it would be believable that scalpers would sell tickets priced for high demand. See more »
There were two Kong puppets, with differently-shaped heads. The "long-faced" Kong puppet was used for many of the dinosaur fighting scenes and at the top of the Empire State Building. The blunt-headed Kong was used in scenes with Ann Darrow tied to the altar and for many of the New York City climbing scenes. There was also a single full-sized mechanical head built for some of the close-ups. This Kong had extremely white teeth. See more »
Opening Card: And the prophet said: "And lo, the beast looked upon the face of beauty. And it stayed its hand from killing. And from that day, it was as one dead." Old Arabian Proverb See more »
Also scrapped from the film at the same time as the spider sequence (it is unknown how much of it was filmed) was a scene involving the search party encountering a group of triceratops right after the brontosaurus attack. Kong stumbles upon the creatures and a battle ensues. He hurls a giant rock at one of them causing one of its horns to break off. Another triceratops chases the sailors further into the jungle and stabs one of them to death with its horn. This sequence was scripted but never filmed. Cooper felt a scene such as this would take too long (and too much money) to film, as well as slow the film down. The triceratops chasing the sailor was filmed though (minus the impalement). Actually it was a test shot from the canceled CREATION (1932) film that O'Brien was working on before KING KONG. He shot test footage of a triceratops chasing a sailor and goring him with its horn after the sailor had shot and killed its baby. The sequence of the triceratops chasing the sailor was to be grafted into the film of KING KONG. This is why the men are still running long after the Brontosaurus had stopped chasing them, because a triceratops (only one) had sprung from the Jungle and chased after them. The sequence was never used because it didn't match up well the King Kong footage and thus left out of the finished picture. The CREATION test footage can be found on the Warner R1 King Kong DVD released in 2005.
Also cut was a long sequence of Ann and Jack fleeing from Kong after they jump off the cliff into the river. This sequence featured an enraged Kong climbing down from Skull Mountain after the pair. It was cut because Cooper felt it was too long and wanted to keep the pacing of the film quick, with the couple making it back to the village with an unseen Kong behind them keeping the pace of the film flowing fast.
Another scene cut from the New York sequence had Kong peering into a window and breaking up a poker game. This sequence was cut because a similar scene had appeared in the THE LOST WORLD (1925)
An alternate shot of Kong falling off the Empire State building was filmed but discarded due to less than perfect special effects, with Kong falling he looked "transparent" and thus the scene was scrapped. A still of this exists and can be found in a book about the making of Kong.
First, the 1933 version of KING KONG, is for me, the greatest fantasy film ever made. Sure, there are fantasy films with far better special effects (THE MATRIX, JURASSIC PARK) better acting (the acting here is of the period!) but KING KONG is a film of tremendous excitement. The suspense, pacing, sensuality, violence all adds up to a blood pumping experience. We all read about the film's history, being made, released, censored, restored, and how it's been picked to itsy-bits by every arm-chair film "expert".
What very few film-makers have focused on is the film-making itself in KING KONG. It has superb build-up. We are wondering what is on the island as we approach it. Then we wonder what is behind the wall on the island. Then we wonder what gigantic beast is sharing that frightening jungle with the rescuers, trying to save Fay Wray. The film is faultlessly edited. Many scenes begin or end with people running for their lives. Unneeded scenes just don't exsist (we go from Kong knocked out on Skull Island to his Broadway debut. We don't need to see what happens inbetween!) then there's Max Steiner's perfect music score. Before KONG, most music scores were borrowed snippets of classical or popular themes, but Steiner's score follows the action to an inch! Also, he does a great number of abstract musical strokes (I.e the clash of drums when Kong beats the giant snake to it's death. The lovely string piece that jumps to pulsating chase music in a milli-second.) When I hear of a friend say they never saw this film, it's like hearing a child say they never had ice cream. Long Live Kong!
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