Good ol’ Audre keeps delivering the goods with these film reviews. Of course, all these movie reviews make me wonder if I should just morph The Portly Politico into a film review blog—maybe re-brand as “A Portly Night at the Movies” or something.
But there’s just too much other good stuff to bloviate about. Still, there’s something magical about a good movie, and few movies are quite as magical as 1933’s King Kong. There’s something whimsical—completely captivating—about this film: the stop-motion Kong; the iconic scenes; the mighty ape fighting a Tyrannosaurus Rex. It’s all so… cool!
So I was thrilled when Audre—quite out of the blue!—contributed this review of the film. She captures that whimsy and magic and adventure so beautifully here. And for a woman obsessed with Bigfoot, well, it makes sense she’d like movies about giant apes.
With that, here is Audre Myers’s review of 1933’s King Kong:
I was probably 9 or 10 years old when I saw the original (1933) King Kong movie. I loved it! I still love it. One scene stays with me – and this is probably because it not only grossed me out but made me laugh, too – King Kong has come into the village and the tribal people are running away and there’s chaos and horror and then the camera centers on King Kong walking on some slow moving natives and they get squished into the ground. It still makes me laugh! I’m laughing as I type this. To a kid – and, evidently, old ladies – that is hilarious! But the movie strikes a chord in our hearts, I think. Like – what if your pet had opposable thumbs? Seriously. If Fido or Miss Kitty could do all that King Kong could do, what amazing friends they would be. We already understand a pet’s unconditional love and it’s why they are so precious to us. King Kong loves Ann (Fay Wray) just like Fido or Miss Kitty love their humans, only, in a delightful twist, he takes care of her the way pet owners take care of their pets.
Ok – lets put the gorilla in the room (wink) away, ok? Everyone talks of a sexual overtone to the relationship between Kong and Ann. Give me a break. Ann has had a tough life (not detailed but suggested in the movie) so having something 25 feet tall and weighing a couple of tons watching out for you and protecting you might cause a serious attachment. The scene of Kong giving Ann a blow-dry after her dip in the pool is what gets folks all ‘hot and bothered’, if you’ll pardon the pun. Do you suppose your Fido wants to have sex with his groomer who also blow-dries Fido? Ridiculous. And we all know Fido prefers legs, anyway.
There’s also something very touching in this movie’s special effects – especially to us in the 21st century. Everything has to start somewhere and what the filmmakers were able to achieve is remarkable. It reminds us of a kind of innocence long gone now. The scene where Kong is searching for Ann and climbs to the elevated train (in NY, we refer to them simply as ‘the el’) and the damage he does to the train is quite something. Add to that, the iconic climb of the Empire State Building and the airplanes sent to shoot Kong down – also very well done for its time.
The perfect finish is Carl Dunham (Robert Armstrong), who brought Kong to New York, standing next to the body of Kong – “Tis Beauty killed the Beast”. Sigh. Perfect.
And I’ll just slip this in and save you all from having to read separate articles: I loved the remake of King Kong (2005) with Naomi Watts. The scene of Kong and Ann in the park and on the ice is as charming and childlike as is possible to achieve on film. I love the original Mighty Joe Young (1949) where giant Joe saves the children from the burning orphanage (“Up Joe! Go up!”)
I guess I just have a thing for gorillas. Which brings me back to the original King Kong – people waiting in line to see the big Carl Dunham show; woman asks her date what it’s all about and tells her its about a big gorilla. In typical New York accent she says, “Jeez! Ain’t we got enough of them in New York?”
Love this movie.