King Kong

King Kong ★★★★

Pre-Code "moving pictures" are fucking awesome. There's an implicit draw towards the films that we know would be considered "inappropriately gratuitous" only a few short years later; similar to the curious excitement of finding a dirty magazine in your dad's dresser. The image of Kong wrenching open the jaws of a T-Rex achieves a level of visceral delight that would remain branded into the common consciousness over 80 years later.

Erotic suggestion and bloody violence aren't the only boundaries Cooper and Schoedsack pushed in '33. Kong leaps across the threshold for what was at the time, considered visually inconceivable. Every then-known form of visual trickery is the currency in which this illusion is sold. Back-projection, stop motion, matte paintings - it has it all. Then and now, Cooper uses the audience's unfamiliarity with these effects against them, creating an eerie sort of awe at this erratically clunky monolith. 

Kong's influence remains cemented in our cinematic history as the defining moment when filmmakers began to say to themselves, "That was amazing... what can we do next?"


Retractions come from it's obnoxiously thunderous score, antiquated gender politics, and a blatant disregard for inter-cultural reverence. However, I do respect this film as a product of its time.

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