King Kong was released in 1933 and was directed by Ernest B. Shoedsack and Merian C. Cooper. The film tells the story of a filmmaker, Carl Denham, who hires a girl, Ann Darrow, and takes her to a mysterious Island for the filming of his movie. While the story tells the tale of a Beast it is done in such a way that the beast is not seen as inherently evil, instead seen more 'as a creature that in its own way wants to do the right thing' (Ebert, 2002).
|Figure 1: Movie Poster|
The film being made in the 1930's is evident in a lot of the events that transpire, one that springs to mind being the depiction of the natives in the island scenes (see fig 2). Ebert writes that 'viewers will shift uneasily in their seats during the stereotyping of the islanders in a scene where a bride is to be sacrificed to Kong' (Ebert, 2002). The film has a clear underlying reference to slavery, as shown through the capture and further exhibition of Kong (see fig 3). The character of Ann Darrow is also a project of it's time as she is depicted as a damsel in distress for the majority of the movie and being saved by one of the men that previously insulted her.
|Figure 2: The Islanders|
|Figure 3: King Kong Captured|
The film itself is very influential, featuring special effects that were new for their time as well as a soundtrack featuring music specifically for each character and scene. The music is used to enhance the emotions for each scene, using suspenseful music to build suspense and calmer music to let the audience know when things are calmer. The films use of 'A gripping and fitting musical score and some impressive sound effects rate with the scenery and mechanism in providing "Kong" with its technical excellence' (Bigelow, 1933).
Ebert, R. (2002) King Kong Review:
Bigelow, J. (1933) King Kong Review: