King Kong (1933)

Fig : poster 
Ernest B. Schoedsack and Merian C. Cooper's King Kong is an interesting film from the prospective of a modern spectator. Laurie Boeder say's "it may seem melodramatic, even cheesy today", this statement is very true. The acting is over the top and at some points over done, but that is a part of King Kong's charm. Robert Ebert adds the point "Modern viewers will shift uneasily in their seats during the stereotyping of the islanders" he is correct to a point, but a modern viewer shouldn’t take it a face value, society has changed in the last 80 years, we are more socially excepting today, most can see mistakes from the past and learn from them. King Kong can be explained as the Old slightly racist grandfather of the film world. 
Fig 2: Cast
John Driscoll (Bruce Cabot) is the traditional man idea of a man, he is strong and believes that women are distractions and should be in unsafe environments. This is interesting because in the 2005 remake of King Kong by Peter Jackson John Driscoll is more of a new man Portrayed by Adrian Brody. It is interesting to note that the characters change in personality is possibly due to the change of what’s socially acceptable.

Roger Ebert made a good point when he said The story is not sophisticated”, it’s not. The special effects propel the story and make the film more interesting for the spectator. The special effects still hold up today, although some of the King Kong scenes can be seen as amusing to a modern audience. Mediaassault says that it is “the Jurassic park of its day”, when it was released it would have been a spectacle.
Fig 3: Kong

From a psychoanalytical point of view Kong can be seen as a projection of Americas need to have control or their guilt. They captured Kong, and took him away from his home, into a foreign land.  Carl Denham believed that because he captured Kong belongs to him and Carl exploits this; once Kong escapes he becomes a threat that needs to be removed/ punished. These events are very similar to many events in Americas past. As a spectator the film makes you wonder why. Why do exotic "creatures" need to be tampered with. Why  do we try and domesticate/control things we fear? It is possibly a human need to be the apex predator, the primal urge to be the strongest.

In conclusion the film is not without its faults, but as a film made 80 years ago it is impressive to see what they achieved using their technology. It is also good to see that because of this film many modern film directors were shaped and their ideas were formed.

Illustration list:
 Fig 1 king kong poster:
Fig 2 the cast:
Fig 3 Kong:


Roger Ebert (2002) (accessed on 1/10/2014)
Laurie Boeder (date unknown) (accessed on 1/10/2014) (accessed on 1/10/2014)


Popular Posts