King Kong (1933) - a movie haiku

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Tyson

King Kong (1933) - a movie haiku
« on: 13 Nov 2017, 10:31 pm »
Preamble
As I've mentioned before, I love checking out older movies that have been remastered on my 4k projector - often the movies are revelatory.  Sometimes they are .... surprising.  King Kong from 1933 definitely fits in the latter category for me.

Haiku

We start off with a director looking to make his next big splash by going to film on an unexplored island, Skull Island to be exact:





He finds his leading lady literally on the street and somehow manages to convince a beautiful woman to jump on a ship with a strange dude promising her fame and fortune (were people that naive back in the day?  Apparently so). She falls in love with a seaman almost immediately:





They get to Skull Island and we see our first set of black people - wow, what a savage people (at this point I'm like, 'seriously, are they really presenting all the white people as civilized and all the black people as savages?'  Why yes, yes they are):





What do they do?  The black savages immediately kidnap the white woman:





Now, if you've seen Birth of a Nation, you might be like 'wow, those natives look shockingly close to the blackface makeup used in that film'.  Well you ain't seen nothin' yet - here's Kong, who is clearly a variation of traditional black face:





Of course the big black brute immediately steals the white woman!  And she's terrified of this big black brute:





There are some cool fights that take place:





Soon, Kong is subdued and is transported to America in chains.  In chains!  Like a slave.  Good lord things can't get much more on-the-nose:





Then Kong escapes and re-captures Ann Darrow (Fay Wray) from where?  From her bedroom.  Not just that, but the big black brute literally invades her bed.  Seriously, you can't make this sh!t up:





Then there's the final fight, which I have to admit is pretty damn cool:




And of course at the end the nice white couple is finally reunited:





Conclusion
Wow, this was a really shocking movie for me.  I went in expecting something along the lines of The Mummy or Dracula or The Wolfman, etc....  What I got in fact was one of the most racist movies I've seen outside of Birth of a Nation.  Shameful.

NIGHTFALL1970

Re: King Kong (1933) - a movie haiku
« Reply #1 on: 14 Nov 2017, 12:05 am »
Masterpiece of a movie. It must have looked great on a large screen!

Tyson

Re: King Kong (1933) - a movie haiku
« Reply #2 on: 14 Nov 2017, 12:09 am »
Masterpiece of a movie. It must have looked great on a large screen!


It did - super bright, hirez and crisp.  A few of the special effects have aged badly, but most looked pretty good.  When I think about the sheer amount of work that must have gone into the stop-motion animation, the mind boggles.

Having said that, I still feel somewhat dirty after watching this film with it's not-so-subtle subtext of black men stealing white women and brutalizing them.  As I said above - shameful.

Rob Babcock

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Re: King Kong (1933) - a movie haiku
« Reply #3 on: 14 Nov 2017, 12:10 am »
I probably saw it on TV when I was little but I don't remember.  Obviously the film is old enough and well known enough that many of its scenes are part of American culture. But it was the 70's version with Jessica Lange that was King Kong to me since it came out when I was maybe ten.

NIGHTFALL1970

Re: King Kong (1933) - a movie haiku
« Reply #4 on: 14 Nov 2017, 12:21 am »
I saw the 1976 version in the theater at six. I loved it as a kid, but when I watch it now I want to barf! It’s one of the worst remakes ever!

Wind Chaser

Re: King Kong (1933) - a movie haiku
« Reply #5 on: 14 Nov 2017, 12:27 am »
I recall seeing seeing it with my best buddy at the Plaza Theater in Edmonton when I was a little kid. The theater has since closed and has become an Islamic community center and mosque called Masjid Quba.