King Kong

King Kong ★★★★½

I watched the original King Kong for the renown special effects but left it thinking about the sexual politics. And the racism subtext. Whether this was written underneath the jungle adventure plot or merely a product of its time...part of King Kong's greatness is the level of social commentary it dishes out (in my opinion)...Of course the sheer number of action sequences in this movie is great too. Even today it's pretty exciting! And I imagine this was the most exciting thing ever when it was released 81 years ago.

I may not have lingered on the sexuality of the images if I wasn't taking a Studies in Popular Film class (the horror addition). My professor speaks about the social implications and moral lessons that are often extracted from horror films and how they teach us about society fears and anxiety in general. Mostly, this means that horror filmmakers find ways to creatively represent Male teenage sexual angst on the big screen without much controversy. Because its in the form of giant apes or ugly monsters like Frankenstein. Big awkward and impulsive creatures. Naturally women are their prey. And Fay Wray is perfect in that role. Spunky, beautiful and as desirable as she needs to be. But she's not only the subject of lust for Kong. But Jack Driscoll, a bland and douchey shipmate on the boat that's headed to Skull Island.

There's the argument that he must destroy the beast and thus kill the monster within himself. And get the girl. Even though this movie is an edge of your seat adventure film, it feels like there is more behind the images. The large phallic board that locks the gate. The rape imagery during the scene where we first meet Kong. Who seems like nothing more than a big kid. Consequently the romance is one sided (unlike the Peter Jackson remake) but the tale of Beauty and the Beast remains timeless. And there is a reason for such.

What about King Kong teaches us about ourselves? That our inner, impulsive monsters need to be destroyed? I don't know, maybe nothing at all. But it's still a great fun viewing experience. The sexual implications and the gender/race of the characters do play a part in how they interact. Did the writers intend to say anything with this fact?