Flicks in Five: 'King Kong'

Flicks in Five: King Kong


October 28, 2014
king kong 1933
A production still from the 1933 film, 'King Kong'
Courtesy MGM

In 1933, an American fantasy-adventure film directed by Merian C. Cooper premiered, and it opened to rave reviews in the spring of that year. It was King Kong, the tale of a gigantic, prehistoric, island-dwelling gorilla called Kong who (spoiler alert) dies in an attempt to possess beauty — a beautiful young woman by the name of Ann.

Kong is distinguished for its stop-motion animation by Willis O'Brien, who was a cutting-edge technician in his day. The film is also known for its musical score by Max Steiner.

The stars include Bruce Cabot, Robert Armstrong and Fay Wray, who was not the first choice to play Ann — Gene Harlow and Ginger Rogers were also under consideration. Director Cooper told Wray she would star alongside the "tallest leading man of the day." She thought he meant Clark Gable; Cooper meant King Kong.

King Kong was deemed culturally, historically and aesthetically significant by the Library of Congress in 1991 and selected for preservation in the National Film Registry.

View a scene from King Kong: