View Full Version : King Kong (1933)

05-10-2003, 09:53 PM
If you are into classics, then you know you just have to have a copy of the RKO picture, King Kong. Released in 1933, this is one gap in the Universal Classics series. What is a set of classics, without this one film?

It seems silly to go through the story of King Kong – who does not know about the giant gorilla, climbing to the top of the Empire State Building with the beautiful Faye Wray in tow? What can I say that wouldn’t sound repetitive?

So suffice it to say, this is the original Kong, this is the real deal!

The King Kong movie is actually in three parts. The first covers the planning of the trip to the island, the middle piece is the arrival on the island with the initial Kong segments, and the third is when Kong comes back to New York.

The middle of the film is where things really cook. Kong lives in a prehistoric world of Tyrannosaurus Rex and serpents. Before he gets off the island we will see him fight the Rex to its death, along with the serpent and pterodactyl. One has to wonder what kind of life Kong must have had – what with fights at every corner. Gore is intact too, amazingly.

Of course, Kong was done using stop-motion photography. This is the same stuff Ray Harryhausen used. What is really amazing is, in the context of this film, Ray Harryhausen added nothing new to the genre. Quite honestly, seeing these FX just makes you wonder how they could have done it in 1933. Not trying to take anything away from Ray Harryhausen, but man, seeing this really puts things into context.

Faye Wray is a beauty. Actually a brunette, she wore a blond wig for this film. Even by today's standards she’d turn heads. Wow!

That is probably enough about the film itself – you know all about it. The only factoid I noticed is that the segment in New York is actually much shorter than I originally recall. The film runs 1:36, and Kong does not get to New York until the last 20 minutes or so. The island stuff is just great though.

DVD: Universal “Golden Classics”. 60th Anniversary Director’s Cut. R2. 4:3. Mono.

Special features: 25 minute documentary, “It was Beauty Killed the Beast - The Making of King Kong”. And a text “The films of King Kong” which lists all the films Kong was in, with some text about the appearance.

This film is old, so yes, there are some speckles and scratches, and the sound is sometimes marked with pops. Amazingly, not as many as you would think. The best thing I could say about this is that is easily on a par with the Universal classic series. That is, if you have Lugosi’s Dracula, or Whales Frankenstein from the same period, then you know how this transfer will look. It fits in perfectly with those transfers, and truly completes the set, imho.

King Kong is also a rather sad film. Seeing him die in the end is a bit heart-rending. This is credit to an excellent film. It has adventure, humor, action, and horror. It is also wonderfully politically incorrect. For example, when the sailors and filmmakers walk into the tribal village on Skull Island, the tribal leader shows an interest in Faye Wray. The Director turns to the captain and says, “I can see why, blondes are certainly rare around here.” --LOL—

Anyway – King Kong is a classic in the truest sense of the word. If you are into classics, then you just have to have this one in your collection. It has a bit of everything, and still delivers today.

05-17-2003, 02:37 AM
Originally posted by dwatts
If you are into classics, then you know you just have to have a copy of the RKO picture, King Kong. Released in 1933, this is one gap in the Universal Classics series. What is a set of classics, without this one film?

Warner Bros. owns region 1 rights

05-19-2003, 10:55 PM
Wel - this is a true classic - deserving of a release for sure.

Daniel B
05-26-2003, 03:44 AM
Great Great Great Movie. Very good initiative to talk about it. Congrats!

05-26-2003, 03:59 AM
The uncut version is more of a horror flim, sadly it's out of print in the US!

Other offcial Kong movies were :

King Kong - The 1st and best
The Son of Kong - The sequel to the 1st one
(The same team made Mighty Joe Young, which is what Son of Kong should have been, but has nothing to do with King Kong)

King Kong Vs. Godzilla - Different much bigger King Kong fights Godzilla.
King Kong Escapes - Sequel to King Kong Vs. Godzilla

King Kong 76' - Remake of the 1st
King Kong Lives - Sequel to the Remake

King Kong 200? - New Peter Jackson remake!

06-01-2003, 06:15 AM
Has anyone heard any info or rumors about a US dvd release? or a region 0 ? I would love to have this!

06-04-2003, 10:06 AM
The R1 version was delayed until next year, I think.

06-25-2003, 05:35 AM
King Kong is a favorite of mine. O'Brian's stop motion work is great! I'm very anxious to see what Jackson can do with this.