Sunday, 15 September 2013

King Kong (1933)

Often considered to be the original and definitive monster movie, despite the animations reminding me of the old Chewits adverts, I nonetheless really enjoyed King Kong.  Only 100 min long it still manages to tell a story that feels that it should belong in a much longer film, however it is not an overbloated behemoth like PJ’s 187 min “monster” film.  Fay Wray is Ann Darrow, with whom Kong becomes obsessed; she does a very good job interacting with the animated monster.  She also manages to sell the fact that by end of the film, Kong has changed from the horrible protagonist of the first half of the film to a creature that deserves our sympathy.  Robert Armstrong as filmmaker Carl Denham and Bruce Cabot as Ann’s love interest John Driscoll are really peripheral characters to Fay Wray’s lead, but they both give solid performances and are completely believable within the terms of the movie.

I’ve mentioned how Kong is a little reminiscent of this, but the animation is ground-breaking for 1933, and the fight with the T-rex is still pretty damn impressive; especially when watching some of the animation 33 years later in One Million Years BC (yup as long again after the turn of the 20th century as King Kong).  What was also ground-breaking was composer Max Steiner’s idea to have the music to in time to the action.  For example when Kong is first trying to undress Ann Darrow; or at least this is what I have been led to believe by Neil Brand in his series on The Sound of Cinema.

A monster movie in every sense; grand in scale, grand in design and excellent performances from Fay Wray and King Kong himself!  But, well, you know, that’s just, like, er, my opinion, man.