King KongKing Kong
is a classic 1933 Hollywood horror
/adventure film from RKO
about a gigantic prehistoric gorilla
, brought from a remote island to New York City
to be exhibited as a natural wonder, that escapes to cause mass destruction. The film, directed by Merian Cooper and Ernest Schoedsack is notable for Willis O'Brien
animation, Max Steiner
's musical score, and actress Fay Wray
's performance as the ape's improbable love interest. In the finale, which has become an enduring pop icon, Kong is gunned down from atop the Empire State Building
by a swarm of Army biplanes. King Kong
premiered in New York City on March 2
A sequel, Son of Kong, was also released in 1933. The story concerned a return expedition to Skull Island discovers that the King has left behind an albino son.
The premise of a giant gorilla brought to the United States for entertainment purposes and wreaking havoc was recycled in Mighty Joe Young, (1949, 1998), but was itself similar to that of an earlier O'Brien effort, The Lost World (1925), in which a brontosaurus rampages through London.
King Kong also appeared in two Japanese kaiju films: King Kong vs Godzilla and King Kong Escapes.
In 1976, King Kong was remade by Dino De Laurentiis. Jessica Lange and Jeff Bridges starred. The film was ridiculed by critics and a commercial flop.
A sequel, King Kong Lives, starring Linda Hamilton, followed a decade later.
In 2003, Universal Pictures planned another remake with Peter Jackson directing.
The original, 1933 version has been selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry.
- In the original movie the gorilla is named "Kong". "King" was added to the title by studio publicists.
- The giant gate used in the 1933 movie was burned along with other old studio sets for the burning of Atlanta scene in Gone With the Wind.