Writer of the graphic novel Kill All Monsters. Podcaster.
Thursday, September 07, 2017
'Casting Off | King Kong (1933)
David and I discuss the original, Merian C Cooper classic and how it holds up today. There are comparisons to Peter Jackson's 2005 version and big questions about Carl Denham's fascination with Beauty and the Beast.
The original King Kong is easily one of the most successful and influencial genre films of the pre Star Wars era. It also feels like a transition between times as well, bringing back the thrill of prehistoric creatures on the loose from the original Lost World and foreshadowing the atomic monster trends of the 50s.
I'd place the main character role on Carl Dennum as he opens and closes the film and being a film director in the jungle he feels like a self insert character for Merian C Cooper. He's very much of a different era were his rash decisions and rush into danger would be considered as dedication to a great accomplishment whereas now it appears suicidal.
As for the theme of "'twas beauty that killed the beast" (citation needed on that "old Arabian proverb") I think it's simply a notion of feminity taming masculinity to parallel Driscoll's softening up around Ann.
Very enjoyable. A child of the 50s, I grew up on such B monster classics as The Killer Shrews, Attack of the 50-foot Woman, and The Giant Gila Monster. I was around ten when I first encountered the original Kong during a late-night monster fest, and I was blown away! Later, having been wowed and bedazzled at around the same time by The 7th Voyage of Sinbad, it came as no surprise to learn that animator Willis O'Brien had passed his fabulous skills to his protege, Ray Harryhausen, who of course brought the fabulous beasts of Sinbad to life. Brings back great memories. Hope you never stop doing this stuff!
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