The backdrop of Skull Island seen when the Venture crew first arrive was painted in glass by matte painters Henry Hillinck, Mario Larrinaga and Byron C. Crabbé. The scene was then composed. The background of the scenes in the jungle (a miniature set) were also painted in glass to convey the illusion of deep and dense jungle foliage.
According to film historian Rich Correll, “When they started doing the New York scenes, Cooper said ‘Because New York is so big, the ape should be bigger.’” So while Kong was depicted as being 18 feet tall on Skull Island during the movie’s first half, his “height” was scaled up to 24 feet during its urban climax.
But it’s the original picture that’s left the biggest influence on the motion picture industry, a movie that opened the door for every special-effects film from The Wizard of Oz to The Lord of the Rings. In honor of the 80th anniversary of its release, here’s a look back at the movie’s historic production, groundbreaking effects, and far-reaching legacy.
In 1976, producer Dino De Laurentiis released his version of King Kong, a modern remake of the 1933 film, which was followed by a sequel in 1986 titled King Kong Lives. In 2005, Universal Pictures released another remake of King Kong, directed by Peter Jackson. Legendary Pictures and Warner Bros. plan to release a Kong prequel/reboot film titled Kong: Skull Island, set to be released in 2017 and directed by Jordan Vogt-Roberts.
A look at this year's competition for Best Actress.
Unfortunately, it was thought necessary to mitigate some of the predominant horror by introducing a human, all-too-human theme.
It's money and adventure and fame. It's the thrill of a lifetime and a long sea voyage that starts at six o'clock tomorrow morning.
At present, Universal hold worldwide rights to Kong's home video releases outside of the US, Australia and New Zealand. All Universal's releases only contain their earlier, 100 minute, pre-2005 restoration.
King Kong is well known for its groundbreaking use of special effects, such as stop-motion animation, matte painting, rear projection and miniatures, all of which were conceived decades before the digital age.
The giant spider-pit sequence was not restored, but lost (during the filming of Peter Jackson's 2005 remake, he recreated the sequence using remaining stills and animations from the original script).
Before King Kong entered production, a long tradition of jungle films existed, and, whether drama or documentary, such films generally adhered to a narrative pattern that followed an explorer or scientist into the jungle to test a theory only to discover some monstrous aberration in the undergrowth (see Stark Mad). In such films, scientific knowledge could be turned topsy-turvy at any time, and it was this that provided the genre with its vitality, appeal, and endurance.
The Tomatometer rating – based on the published opinions of hundreds of film and television critics – is a trusted measurement of movie and TV programming quality for millions of moviegoers. It represents the percentage of professional critic reviews that are positive for a given film or television show.
Having seen some of his earliest work, Edison commissioned O’Brien to produce a series of stop-motion films beginning in 1916. You can see highlights from one of their more lighthearted collaborations below.
The men who captured the giant ape King Kong return to his island and find his equally gigantic, but far more friendly, son.
On the film's 50th anniversary in 1983, one New York theater held a Fay Wray scream-alike contest in its lobby, and, two days after her death on August 8, 2004, the lights of the Empire State Building were dimmed for 15 minutes in her memory.
Please enter your email address and we will email you a new password.
After a 6-year worldwide search for the best surviving materials, a further, fully digital, restoration utilizing 4K resolution scanning was completed by Warner Bros. in 2005. This restoration also had a 4-minute overture added, bringing the overall running time to 104 minutes.
The story is not sophisticated. A movie director (Robert Armstrong) hires a ship, recruits his leading lady from off the streets of New York at the last moment, and sails for a mysterious Pacific island he heard about in Singapore. The island contains a legendary giant ape, which he hopes to use as the star of his movie. Fay Wray plays Ann Darrow, Kong's co-star, and Cabot is the sailor who falls in love with her and saves her from Kong.
Fay Wray played bit parts in Hollywood until cast as the lead in Erich von Stroheim's 1928 silent film, The Wedding March. She met Kong co-directors Cooper and Schoedsack when cast as Ethne Eustace in The Four Feathers in 1929. Cooper cast her in 1932 as Eve Trowbridge in The Most Dangerous Game.
King Kong launched the "giant beast" or "giant monster" (known as kaiju in Japan) subgenre of science-fiction, inspiring the 1950's atomic mutant creature features and the Japanese giant movie monsters like Godzilla, Gamera, Rodan, etc. Godzilla and King Kong actually faced off in the Japanese film King Kong Vs. Godzilla (1962, Jp.) (aka Godzilla vs. King Kong in Japan). Various other Kong-related films are summarized in the following list:
A scientist finds a way of becoming invisible, but in doing so, he becomes murderously insane.
After the 1956 re-release, the film was sold to television (first being broadcast March 5, 1956).
All these years on from its original release, King Kong still has a great claim to being the eighth wonder of the world.
King Kong (1933)
A circus' beautiful trapeze artist agrees to marry the leader of side-show performers, but his deformed friends discover she is only marrying him for his inheritance.
The movie was directed by Merian C. Cooper and Ernest Scheodsack, and produced by them with the legendary David O. Selznick, then head of RKO Radio Pictures. Selznick took little credit for the film, saying his key contribution was to put O'Brien's f/x techniques together with Cooper and Schoedsack's story ideas.
Find showtimes, watch trailers, browse photos, track your Watchlist and rate your favorite movies and TV shows on your phone or tablet!
It might seem that any creature answering the description of Kong would be despicable and terrifying. Such is not the case. Kong is an exaggeration ad absurdum, too vast to be plausible. This makes his actions wholly enjoyable.
The 1933 King Kong film and character inspired imitations and installments. Son of Kong, a direct sequel to the 1933 film was released nine months after the first film's release. In the early 1960s, RKO had licensed the King Kong character to Japanese studio Toho and produced two King Kong films, King Kong vs. Godzilla and King Kong Escapes, both directed by Ishirō Honda.
King Kong was re-released in 1938, 1942, 1946, 1952 and 1956 to great box office success. Stricter decency rules had been put into effect in Hollywood since its 1933 premiere and each time it was censored further, with several scenes being either trimmed or excised altogether.
The film has since received some significant honors. In 1975, Kong was named one of the 50 best American films by the American Film Institute, and, in 1991, the film was deemed "culturally, historically and aesthetically significant" by the Library of Congress and selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry. In 1998, the AFI ranked the film #43 on its list of the 100 greatest movies of all time.
King Kong was filmed in several stages over an eight-month period. Some actors had so much time between their Kong periods that they were able to fully complete work on other films. Cabot completed Road House and Wray appeared in the horror films Dr. X and Mystery of the Wax Museum. She estimated she worked for ten weeks on Kong over its eight-month production.
Forgot your password? Don't have an account? Sign up here
Mary Shelley reveals the main characters of her novel survived: Dr. Frankenstein, goaded by an even madder scientist, builds his monster a mate.
Look for Jackson at the 0:36 second mark (he’s sitting in the co-pilot’s chair):
Vampire Count Orlok expresses interest in a new residence and real estate agent Hutter's wife.
I can't send a young pretty girl such as you ask on a job like this without telling her what to expect...To go off on a trip for no one knows how long, to some spot you don't even hint at, the only woman on the ship with the toughest mugs I ever looked at.
Opting to capitalize on the film’s astounding success, RKO studios re-released it in 1938, 1942, and 1952. The scene of Kong’s partial disrobement of Ann Darrow (played by Fay Wray) was cut from the 1938 run, while the ’52 version came with added footage of the Empire State Building.
"King Kong," as spectacular a bolt of celluloid as has thrilled audiences in a couple of sophisticated seasons, is the product of a number of vivid imaginations.
This message came to me from a reader named Peter Svensland. He and a fr...