King Kong is an adventure/monster film released in 1933 and directed by Merian C. Cooper and Ernest B. Schoedsack. This film was distributed by RKO Pictures and stars stars Fay Wray, Bruce Cabot and Robert Armstrong. The tells the tale of a beautify woman looking for an acting career, on a ship traveling to a mysterious island to make a film. The woman and the crew finds the island and discovers the monstrous creature known as Kong as he tries to possess the beautiful woman while they try to escape with their lives.
This film launched RKO Pictures' into the film industry, made RKO Pictures known by other studios and made this film the most powerful and popular film ever distributed by RKO Pictures. This film is considered to be significant in the history of American Cinema as it used stop-motion animation and had a powerful soundtrack by Max Steiner. Today, King Kong is considered one of the greatest films of all-time and changed the way audiences look at monster films.
Plot[edit | edit source]
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In New York harbor, Carl Denham (Robert Armstrong), a filmmaker famous for shooting animal pictures in remote and exotic locations, has chartered the ship Venture for his new project but is unable to secure an actress. Talent agent Charles Weston refuses to supply anyone because of the dangerous nature of the expedition, so Carl searches the streets of New York for a suitable girl. He chances upon starving, unemployed Ann Darrow (Fay Wray) 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 sail aboard Venture for weeks in the direction of Indonesia, the general region where Denham claims they will make the planned motion picture. Despite his ongoing declarations that women have no place onboard 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."
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. Denham then describes something monstrous connected to the island, a legendary entity known to the islanders only as "Kong." As 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 stone 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. The native chief spots them, gets a clear look at Ann, and proposes to trade six native women for her. 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.
However, later that night, a stealthy contingent of natives captures Ann and takes her through the wall, where she is presented to Kong in an elaborate ceremony, leaving her tied to columns. Soon after, Kong emerges through the trees and is revealed to be a giant gorilla, who carries off Ann deep into the jungle. The Venture crew returns to the village and opens the huge gate on the wall; half of the crew then goes after Kong in hopes of rescuing Ann. While trekking through the dense jungles, the crew discovers that in addition to Kong, other giant creatures inhabit the island. They encounter an enraged Stegosaurus, (whom they kill), a lethal Brontosaurus (who capsizes their raft resulting in the loss of their weapons and several deaths); and eventually Kong himself who prevents the men from following him across a ravine by shaking them off a fallen log bridge. Only Driscoll and Denham are left alive.
When a Tyrannosaurus rex attempts to eat Ann, Kong departs the ravine to fight and kill the carnivore. Calling across the ravine, Driscoll tells Denham that he will pursue Kong and Ann while Denham returns to the village for more men and weapons. Driscoll tracks the giant ape, passing the carcass of the T-Rex. Kong takes his captive to his cave at the summit of Skull Mountain where she is newly menaced by a snake-like Elasmosaurus, drawing Kong into another battle-to-the-death to save Ann.
Driscoll sneaks into the cave as Kong takes Ann to a promontory and begins inspecting her, tearing off her clothes. He then hears noises made by Driscoll inside the cave and goes to investigate. While Kong is away, Ann tries to escape but is attacked by a Pteranodon. Again Kong is alerted and he snatches the Pteranodon out of the air, freeing Ann from its clutches. After winning this latest battle, Kong inspects the dead Pteranodon while Driscoll and Ann use the distraction to escape by climbing down a vine dangling from the cliff's edge. Kong discovers the escape and starts pulling the vine back up. Ann and Driscoll let go, falling into a river and making it back to the village. Kong chases them, breaks through the large gate in the wall, and storms the village, killing many natives. Denham hurls a gas bomb at Kong, knocking him out, whereupon he exults in the opportunity presented: "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 action returns to Manhattan as those last words appear in lights on a marquee, signifying Denham's fulfilled promise to bring Kong back to civilization. Along with hundreds of curious New Yorkers, Denham, Driscoll and Ann are dressed 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 news photographers using the blinding flashbulbs of the era begin snapping shots of Ann and Driscoll, who are due to be married the next day. Under the impression that the flashbulbs are harming Ann, Kong breaks free of his bonds and escapes from the theater as the screaming audience flees.
Kong rampages through city streets, causing many casualties. He climbs a hotel and spots Ann in an upper-floor room. His massive hand smashes through the window, knocking a defending Driscoll to the floor unconscious. Kong grabs Ann and continues his rampage, destroying an elevated train. He eventually climbs the Empire State Building, still holding Ann. Listening to distressing radio reports about Kong's progress, Driscoll seizes on the idea of using planes to shoot him atop the skyscraper. The police call the field to order the air assault while Driscoll and Denham race to the Empire State Building.
A squadron of military biplanes swoops on Kong as he reaches the top of the skyscraper. Kong manages to knock one plane out of the sky, but the others rake him with machine gun fire, careful to shoot only when the giant ape has placed Ann on a lower ledge. Kong is mortally wounded. He looks at Ann one last time before falling to his death. Defying police orders not to enter the building during the battle, Driscoll arrives at the ledge and takes Ann in his arms. Below on the street, Denham makes his way through the gathered crowd to look upon the fallen Kong. A police lieutenant says, "Well, Denham, the airplanes got him." The film ends with Carl Denham's famous reply, "Oh, no, it wasn't the airplanes...it was Beauty killed the Beast."