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USA 1933
Directed by
Merian C. Cooper
103 minutes
Rated G

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
3 stars

King Kong (1933)

By most standards this creaky old matinee movie about a gung-ho P.T. Barnum-style film director who finds a giant gorilla (as well as various prehistoric monsters) on a sub-equatorial island and brings it to New York where it meets its tragic end atop the Empire State Building hardly merits attention. Nevertheless it has managed to acquire iconic status, partly, I suspect, because of the elemental pathos of the Beauty and the Beast legend on which it draws and quite cleverly updates, and partly because there's a claymation-like charm to Willis O'Brien's iconic version of Kong who is animated with stop-motion work that was state-of-the-art in its day. 

Peter Jackson threw everything he had at the story in his 2005 remake in what is technically vastly superior film but this remains the best-loved.




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