ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

King Kong: A Myth for the New World

Updated on January 30, 2018

Check out the classic original

An American Legacy

Some times it's hard to believe that King Kong was never based on a previously existing book or story. When you consider how much the imagery of Kong has lingered in our public consciousness, you almost believe there must have been some classic work or something. Maybe by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. But no. There's nothing.

The idea, as the story goes, came to co-director Merian C. Cooper when he dreamed about a giant gorilla attacking New York City. He then showed some test sequences to studio heads, using stop-motion creatures originally developed for the 1925 silent film adaptation of Doyle's The Lost World. The project was green-lit, and history was made.

The story (in case you don't know and have been living on the moon for the past hundred years) follows a group of film makers who are led to a dangerous jungle island after their crazy-as-nuts director, Carl Denham (Robert Armstrong), hears about a giant creature that lives there. Apparently he's thinking he can offer it a contract and wean it of its poo-flinging habit long enough to film a movie.

The director finds struggling actress Ann Darrow (Fay Wray) and offers her a role in his picture. When they get to the island, the natives realize that she matches Kong's eHarmony profile perfectly and offer her to the beast. A love connection is made and the director spend the rest of the movie trying to convince her that Kong's just not that into her. All he wants is to get her back to his cave for some serious poo-flinging.

They rescue the girl, capture the beast and bring them both back to New York City where Kong goes wild after learning that every Broadway showing of The Lion King is completely sold out.

In this 1933 original, the special effects are definitely below today's standards, but they're very much up to the needs of the story, and some of them are actually quite good.

The scene where the explorers are charged by and kill a stegosaurus is actually very well done. And there was some good work done to make the shot of Kong shaking a log with real live men on top.

But more importantly, the ape himself is very well personified. He's not quite as sympathetic as the one in Peter Jackson's version, but he's not the pure monster you might otherwise expect. It'd be very easy to play up this kind of creature as an out-right monster. Especially when you consider the fairly under-nuanced era in which the movie was made.

Perhaps that's what has made this story stay with us for so long. Sure, there's the iconic image of a giant ape on top of the Empire State Building, but iconic scenes only ever mean anything when people already wish to remember the movie. I mean, remember that iconic scene from Catwoman? Yeah, neither do I.

The acting, dialog and character development are very much of their time, but also sufficient for their needs. For instance, when Fay Wray is watching Kong fight a T-Rex over her, her constant flailing of the arms to hold her wrist over her forehead is a bit distracting, but it definitely tells you she's scared.

You know. Because you wouldn't know she's scared without that. Thanks a lot for the confidence, movie.

The relationship that develops between Ann and Kong isn't nearly as well developed as in the 2005 version by Peter Jackson. She's scared of him even though you can tell that he doesn't have any desire to hurt her. And in the end, the audience makes a connection with him. Sure, he's caused mayhem, but he's an animal abducted and taken out of his natural habitat. He becomes a sympathetic character to us just moments before he dies.

And that kind of thing can haunt you.

Personally, I wish they'd let the Beauty and the Beast comments have a rest, but that's a minor thing. And it all leads up to the iconic last line, so you take what you can get.

For me, I give this one 8 / 10.

King Kong isn't rated, but there are numerous scenes of violence and mayhem. A little silly at times, but people do still die.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • Garlonuss profile imageAUTHOR

      Ryan D Peterson 

      3 years ago from Saratoga Springs, Utah

      Thanks. The interesting thing about 'classics' like this one is that they're the kind of thing that everyone 'knows' and nobody's actually seen. There's definitely stuff here to recommend this movie to even today's more jaded audience.

    • Robert Sacchi profile image

      Robert Sacchi 

      3 years ago

      Good article, I liked the humor you inserted. King Kong defines a classic. The special effects were good for its time and held up well until CGI came about. Yes, "'twas beauty that killed the beast" was not the best moment of the film, except for a laugh. Air combat movies were hot at the time so having the aeroplanes vs gorilla fight at the top of the world's tallest building seems a stroke of genius.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)