King Kong (1933)

King Kong (1933)

5.0 15
Director: Merian C. Cooper, Ernest B. Schoedsack

Cast: Fay Wray, Robert Armstrong


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"How would you like to star opposite the tallest, darkest leading man in Hollywood?" Enticed by these words, brunette leading lady Fay Wray dyed her hair blonde and accepted the role of Ann Darrow in King Kong -- and stayed with the project even after learning that her "leading man" was a 50-foot ape. The film introduces us to flamboyant, foolhardy documentary…  See more details below


"How would you like to star opposite the tallest, darkest leading man in Hollywood?" Enticed by these words, brunette leading lady Fay Wray dyed her hair blonde and accepted the role of Ann Darrow in King Kong -- and stayed with the project even after learning that her "leading man" was a 50-foot ape. The film introduces us to flamboyant, foolhardy documentary filmmaker Carl Denham (Robert Armstrong), who sails off to parts unknown to film his latest epic with leading lady Darrow in tow. Disembarking at Skull Island, they stumble on a ceremony in which the native dancers circle around a terrified-looking young girl, chanting, "Kong! Kong!" The chief (Noble Johnson) and witch doctor (Steve Clemente) spot Denham and company and order them to leave. But upon seeing Ann, the chief offers to buy the "golden woman" to serve as the "bride of Kong." Denham refuses, and he and the others beat a hasty retreat to their ship. Late that night, a party of native warriors sneak on board the ship and kidnap Ann. They strap her to a huge sacrificial altar just outside the gate, then summon Kong, who winds up saving Ann instead of devouring her. Kong is eventually taken back to New York, where he breaks loose on the night of his Broadway premiere, thinking that his beloved Ann is being hurt by the reporters' flash bulbs. Now at large in New York, Kong searches high and low for Ann (in another long-censored scene, he plucks a woman from her high-rise apartment, then drops her to her death when he realizes she isn't the girl he's looking for). After proving his devotion by wrecking an elevated train, Kong winds up at the top of the Empire State Building, facing off against a fleet of World War I fighter planes.

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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Jason Bergenfeld
Of all the major monster films of the 1930s and '40s, King Kong stands alone as one of the most awe-inspiring ever made. Combining terror with the popular jungle themes sweeping movie palaces of the day, directors Merian C. Cooper and Ernest B. Schoedsack used groundbreaking stop-motion animation and mechanics to create cinema's first leading primate. The story swings into gear when movie director extraordinaire Carl Denham (Robert Armstrong) finds the perfect blonde bombshell actress in Ann Darrow (Fay Wray). Upon reaching ominous Skull Island, the perfect place to shoot a picture, the tribal inhabitants choose Darrow as a sacrifice to their all-powerful Kong. Rugged sea captain Jack Driscoll (Bruce Cabot) helps rescue our heroine, and Kong is brought to New York where he becomes a star attraction for the city's elite. The startling effects of King Kong left Depression-era audiences gasping in terror as, in one of the most famous images ever to grace the screen, the two-story ape climbs atop the Empire State Building, pining for an impossible love, as most tragic heroes do. Echoing the themes of tragic outcast found in Victor Hugo's The Hunchback of Notre Dame, King Kong shows itself to be not only a classic monster thriller, but a film that beats its own chest with emotion.
All Movie Guide - Mark Deming
Generally thought of as a monster movie (not difficult to understand when your title character is a 50-foot-tall gorilla with a habit of killing people who get in his way), King Kong is actually an old-fashioned adventure story on the grand scale, complete with fearless hunters in search of uncharted islands, angry natives appeasing their god, damsels in distress, and a dashing hero on hand to save said damsel. Much of this story probably seemed a bit cliché even when King Kong was first released in 1933, but directors Merian C. Cooper and Ernest B. Schoedsack tell their tale with two-fisted gusto, leavened with a genuine sense of wonder, and the result captures the imagination from the start and never lets go. It also helps that they had a cast capable of handling the heroics in grand form while knowing how to play the abundant comic relief in appropriate style; Robert Armstrong's Carl Denham is ham at its tastiest, Bruce Cabot's Jack Driscoll is a hero with his feet planted solidly on the ground (and his tongue just entering his cheek), and has any screen heroine ever screamed more eloquently than Fay Wray? Willis H. O'Brien's stop-motion effects animation was legendary in its day, and it retains its magic today; while technology has progressed considerably since King Kong, O'Brien was able to give his great ape a personality, and Kong's moments of fear, curiosity, pain, and occasional goofiness gave him a sympathetic, ultimately tragic dimension that adds immeasurably to the picture's effectiveness. And Max Steiner's bombastic score is always there to cheer the picture along when its energy starts to flag. While the 1976 remake already seems hopelessly dated, the original King Kong remains rousing entertainment with brains, brawn, and a heart.

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Product Details

Release Date:
Original Release:
Turner Home Ent
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Special Features

Closed Caption; Commentary by visual effects veterans Ray Harryhausen and Ken Ralston, with interpolated interview excerpts of Merian C. Cooper and Fay Wray; Merian C. Cooper movies and Fay Wray; Subtitles: English, Français & Español; I'm King Kong! The Exploits of Merian C. Cooper; New 7-part documentary RKO Production 601: The Making of Kong, Eighth Wonder of the World; Original Creation test footage with Ray Harryhausen commentary

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Fay Wray Ann Darrow
Donald Smith Carl Denham
Bruce Cabot Jack Driscoll
Frank Reicher Capt. Englehorn
Sam Hardy Charles Weston
Noble Johnson Native Chief
James Flavin Second Mate
Steve Clemento Witch King
Reginald Barlow Engineer
Merian C. Cooper Flight Commander
Dick Curtis Crewman
George MacQuarrie Police Captain
Paul Porcasi Fruit Vendor
Sandra Shaw Woman Dropped by Kong
Victor Wong Charley the Cook
Roscoe Ates Photographer
Lynton Brent Reporter
Dorothy Gulliver Girl
Ethan Laidlaw Mate
Vera Lewis Theater Patron
LeRoy Mason Theater Patron
Etta McDaniel Native Woman
Frank Mills Reporter
Carlotta Monti Girl
Gil Perkins Sailor
Russell Powell Dock Watchman
Sul Te Wan Handmaiden
Charles Sullivan Sailor
Harry Tenbrook Sailor
Jim Thorpe Native Dancer
Raymond Turner Native
Blackie Whiteford Sailor
Ernest B. Schoedsack Chief Observer

Technical Credits
Merian C. Cooper Director,Producer
Ernest B. Schoedsack Director,Producer
Ted Cheesman Editor
Carroll Clark Art Director
Byron L. Crabbe Special Effects
James Ashmore Creelman Screenwriter
Marcel Delgado Special Effects
Linwood G. Dunn Special Effects
E.B. Gibson Special Effects
Orville Goldner Special Effects
Alfred Herman Art Director,Production Designer
Mario Larrinaga Special Effects
Eddie Linden Cinematographer
Thomas K. Little Set Decoration/Design
Willis O'Brien Special Effects
Walter Plunkett Costumes/Costume Designer
Van Nest Polglase Art Director
Fred Reese Special Effects
Ruth Rose Screenwriter
David O. Selznick Executive Producer
Carroll L. Shepphird Special Effects
Max Steiner Score Composer
J.O. Taylor Cinematographer
Vernon Walker Cinematographer

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Scene Index

Disc #1 -- King Kong
1. Overture [4:14]
2. Credits and Foreward [1:51]
3. Girl Needed [4:39]
4. Ann Darrow [3:33]
5. Women Can't Help It [5:26]
6. Island With a Wall [2:40]
7. Scream for Your Life [2:27]
8. Denham's Island [3:48]
9. What a Show [3:00]
10. Bride of Kong [4:15]
11. Feelings for Each Other [2:09]
12. Kidnapped [3:54]
13. Tied to Two Towers [4:02]
14. Kong [2:04]
15. In His Footsteps [2:32]
16. Stegosaurus [2:29]
17. Watery Menace [4:57]
18. Log Bridge [2:24]
19. T-Rex Battle [4:54]
20. On Kong's Trail [3:11]
21. Cave Serpent [3:02]
22. Looking the Lady Over [2:20]
23. Pterodactyl and Rescue [3:05]
24. Gate Crasher [3:32]
25. Village Rampage [2:22]
26. Subdued by Gas [1:06]
27. Up in Lights [3:11]
28. On Stage [2:34]
29. Flashy Escape [2:35]
30. In Kong's Hands Again [2:38]
31. Train Takedown [2:17]
32. Atop the Empire State [2:40]
33. A Mighty Fall [2:58]
34. Beauty Killed the Beast [:41]
35. Cast List [:30]
1. King Kong (1933) [1:32]
2. Son of Kong (1933) [1:45]
3. Flying Down to Rio (1933) [1:29]
4. Fort Apache (1948) [1:44]
5. 3 Godfathers (1948) [3:21]
6. Mighty Joe Young (1949) [1:39]
7. She Wore a Yellow Ribbon (1949) [2:30]
8. The Searchers (1956) [2:45]
Disc #2 -- King Kong - Bonus Features
1. All True [2:27]
2. Compensating Physically [2:43]
3. To War [7:44]
4. Adventureer; Ra-Mu [2:12]
5. Grass [3:59]
6. Chang [3:17]
7. King Kong [11:07]
8. Running RKO [2:30]
9. Technicolor, World War II [5:01]
10. John Ford Films [4:12]
11. Mighty Joe Young [2:27]
12. This is Cinerama [8:19]
13. End Credits [:56]

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King Kong (1933) 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 15 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
73 years after it first premiered, “King Kong” is still a blast to watch, a marvel of economy and narrative action. In terms of innovation, influence, and overall contribution to the genre, “Kong” deserves to be called the greatest monster movie ever made. This Turner DVD version is restored and digitally remastered from a British-distribution copy, and the film has never looked or sounded better. For the Kong aficionado, it’s a great holiday gift, jammed with second-disk goodies, including “RKO Production 601: The Making of Kong, The Eighth Wonder of the World”, and “Creation” test footage with commentary by Ray Harryhausen, Dynarama inventor and protégé of Willis O’Brien, Kong’s creator. It’s all good, but best of all is “Kong” 2005 remake director Peter Jackson’s stop-motion re-creation of the Lost Spider Pit Sequence, a scene reportedly cut from the original film by producer Merian C. Cooper before release. A 1933 screening audience could not get over the horror of huge spiders and insectoids devouring hapless sailors who survived the fall after being shaken off that huge log by Kong. Cooper later wrote that the scene “stopped” the progress of the film, and he may have burned the spider pit sequence himself to insure it could never be used. Whatever happened to it, this discarded sequence has remained an enduring mystery and is probably the most famous “un-scene” in the history of monster cinema. Jackson is a hard-core Kong fan, and in fact owns some of the stop-motion armatures and puppets used in the original film. While in production of this year’s remake, he turned his Weta special effects crew loose on redoing the Spider Pit scene, using what few clues and script hints were available, in authentic stop-motion action. The result is a fascinating and seamless, if not quite horrifying, labor of love that is worth the price of the DVD by itself.
Guest More than 1 year ago
What can I say other than this is a timeless classic. It is ahead of it's time "thanks to Willis O'Brien and Marcel Digado", and it has great actors "Fay Wray: The Queen of Scream, Bruce Cabot, Robert Armstrong",great music "Max Steiner", and two great men behind it "Merian C. Cooper, Ernest B. Schoedsack". It is a great story of Beauty and the Beast, and of the dark side of civilization. This is a great film. Kong is King!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This movie is truly THE ULTIMATE Classic! the effects are the best! and the actors are great. I admit it does get boring at the begining,But the movie gets even better when Kong takes up the screen. I personally think that King Kong is the Best thing about the movie. If you love gorillas, dinosaurs,action and adventure(not to mention romance!)then BUY IT!
Guest More than 1 year ago
The title is:unique, a propos,and unforgettable. The technical achievements... a marvel,even for today. And most of all..the beauteous Fay Wray , the most superlative casting event of all time. Even the musical score befits this colossal film.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is one of the great movies classics that is a must have for every fan of the genre. For the time, the story, settings and the special effects makes this film a masterpeice of the American cinema. Although the effects are a bit outdated today, the film still holds up and the scene where the giant ape ascends the Empire State Building is one of the great images that will be burned into my mind forever. Packed with action, King Kong is one of the greatest films ever to be made.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
By far the greatest movie of all time.The story,the cast,the setting...and the creature...not the computer generated,acceptable image,but a 'real'prehistoric ape.The movements,and the 'over the top' temper tantrums.This is the real thing...the way you would find this on an unknown island...the only movie to get seven stars in my book*******
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is the classic film that stars beautiful Fay Wray as Ann Darrow (the beauty) that's kidnapped by King Kong (the beast). Film is famous for the now legendary Empire State building scene. This is a great action/adventure film that also stars Robert Armstrong and Bruce Cabot. The effects may seem dated, but by 1933 standards they were very cutting-edge and innovative. Be sure to see this film!