Thursday, 23 October 2014

Film Review: "Merian C. Cooper and Ernest B.Schoedsack" King Kong (1933)

Figure 1. Film poster of King Kong (1933)

King Kong (1933), directed by Merian C. Cooper and Ernest B.Schoedsack, is one of the most classic movies in history. The film was known for being the influence of the marvellous destruction of today's blockbuster movies. King Kong is about a film crew travelling into the far reaches of the ocean to find the iconic location 'skull island' which Carl Denham (Robert Armstrong) tells the captain to go for his new film. The island is a homeland to indigenous civilization of savages and primitive human beings who worship a giant beast a on the island known as "Kong", who is later charmed by the beauty of Ann Darrow (Fay Wray) and takes her away after the indigenous kidnap her and offer her as sacrifice to Kong. John Driscoll  and a group of other crew members sets out to find her and Kong, encountering many dangerous beasts lurking within the island.

Figure 2. Skull island still

In figure 2,you see a still of when the ship first arrives at skull island. One can clearly see that the scene is highly complex with multiple layers mainly composed of foreground with the sea and ship, mid-ground with the wall and background of mountains. Roger Erbert said "The movie plunders every trick in the book to create its illusions"(Erbert, 2002). this still is a great representation of how the film uses a combination of live action and matte painting together to create dramatic pictures.

Figure 3. Indigenous civilization.
"Modern viewers will shift uneasily in their seats during the stereotyping of the islanders" (R. Erbert, 2002) this is true as this film was made in America 1933 which still had segregation and racism so what they showed on the screen compared to today's modern society is completely different. For example the way the tribesman were portrayed was like traditional tribesman from Africa not the brutal savages that the screen was trying to depict them as. This is a touchy subject however "Peter Jackson" recreated the scene and natives so they weren't stereotyping them as tribesman, he made them into much more un-human like savages which and took away any racist connections. 

Figure 4. King Kong and Tyrannosaurus Rex.

one would say King Kong is an admirable film for making monsters without using the computer technology that we have today. It appears that stop motion animation with puppets or plasticine could have been used to make the sequence shown in figure 4. David Thompson certainly seems to be correct when he says that "King Kong is the inspiration for half the monster films ever made" (Thompson, 2012). with films like "Gareth Edwards" Godzilla (2014),  and many other films where an oversized monster wreaks havoc. 
Illustrations List.

Film poster of King Kong (1933)

Skull Island still

indigenous civilisation

 King Kong and Tyrannosaurus rex.


Erbert. R (2002)

Thompson. D(2012) King Kong: No 10 best sci-fi and fantasy film of all time

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