King Kong

King Kong

Synopsis of Movie

“Why, in a few months, it'll be up in lights on Broadway: ‘Kong, the Eighth Wonder of the World!’”

The classic fairy tale Beauty and the Beast got a jungle adventure update in 1933’s King Kong. One of the most well-known movies of the 1930’s (or any other era, for that matter), the film told the story of a mysterious island, a strong-lunged starlet and one gigantic ape.

The film opens on the docks of Hoboken, New Jersey, where adventure film producer Carl Denham is gearing up for his next dangerous expedition. All Denham needs is a starlet, and when the agents can’t deliver, he finds one himself: Ann Darrow, a poor orphan on the city streets. The producer takes Ann aboard, and the crew sets sail for uncharted Skull Island, seeking the legend of the jungle god Kong.

On board, Ann meets tough guy First Mate Jack Driscoll, who believes dames have no place on a sailing ship. The two eventually make nice, however, and soon enough the ship arrives at Skull Island. On the isle, the natives are preparing to sacrifice a young woman to Kong, but the sight of blonde Ann sets their minds thinking in new directions. The local chief offers a trade—six local women for Ann—but Denham refuses.

That night, a group of natives paddles out to the ship and kidnaps Ann, delivering her to Kong as a new bride. With thundering footsteps, accompanied by drumbeats, Kong makes his first appearance. The “god” turns out to be an enormous ape, taller and more powerful than any beast on Earth. Kong takes an instant liking to Ann, carrying her off toward his lair in the heart of Skull Island.

Jack and Denham form a rescue party, but the group discovers that Kong isn’t the only threat on Skull Island. Dinosaurs and other large carnivores pick off members of the rescue operation, and Jack ends up alone. The rescue is a success, but a rampaging Kong returns to the village to find his new love. Here, Denham and his crew stun the beast with gas bombs, planning to carry him back to New York City as “Kong, the Eighth Wonder of the World!” But will chrome chains be enough to hold the captured beast? (Answer: no).

King Kong was a special effects spectacular, using stop-motion animation to convincingly portray the title character as a real creature. Whether discovering human beauty, battling a Tyrannosaurus Rex or fending off biplanes atop the Empire State Building, Kong was clearly the star of the show, and one of the most unforgettable characters of 1930's Hollywood.

The movie was a colossal financial hit, and RKO followed its success later that same year with Son of Kong. In this film, Denham returns to the sea with a few new friends to escape the lawsuits following Kong’s New York rampage. After a mutiny, Denham and his companions are thrown overboard near Skull Island, where they land to find a hidden store of treasure. Instead, they find a young Kong, who befriends the group after they save him from quicksand.

Son of Kong was more comedic and light-hearted than its daddy, but exotic adventures and elaborate special effects helped make the film another huge success. RKO got out of the Kong business after that, but the great ape continued to appear in movies and on television, in events ranging from 1962’s King Kong Vs. Godzilla to a 1966 cartoon series to a 1976 feature remake of the original film.

Movie Release History

1933 - King Kong
1933 - Son of Kong

Movie Sub Categories

live-action
action/adventure
horror

Movie Studio

RKO

Cast

Ann Darrow  Fay Wray
Carl Denham  Robert Armstrong
Jack Driscoll  Bruce Cabot
Captain Englehorn  Frank Reicher
Weston  Sam Hardy
Native Chief  Noble Johnson
Witch King  Steve Clemente
Briggs, the Second Mate  James Flavin

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