King Kong (1933)

 ●  English ● 1 hr 40 mins

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Carl Denham (Robert Armstrong) is a producer and director of adventure films specializing in remote and exotic locations. He sets off to a remote island, uncharted except for a map he purchased from a seaman. He hires a ship and with the star of his film, Ann Darrell (Fay Wray), he sets off to Skull Island where there supposedly lives a large ape known as Kong. Inhabited by massive dinosaurs and other frightening creatures, the island itself is divided and the giant ape lives behind a great wall. When the local islanders kidnap Ann to offer her as a sacrifice, Denham and John Dricsoll set off to rescue her. It's obvious that Kong is fascinated with Ann and means her no harm, but Dehnam captures the beast and transports it to New York where he puts it on display. When it manages to escape, it terrorizes the city, climbing to the top of the Empire State building where it must confront air force planes trying to shoot it down.
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Did you know? The success of this film is often credited for saving RKO from bankruptcy. Read More
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as John Driscoll
as Ann Darrow
as Carl Denham
as Captain Englehorn
as Native Chief
as Charles Weston
as Witch Doctor
as Charlie the Cook


Production Company
Executive Producer




Screenplay Writer

Camera and Electrical

Director of Photography


Music Director


Sound Effects Editor


Film Type:
Colour Info:
Black & White
Sound Mix:
Frame Rate:
24 fps
Aspect Ratio:
A Monster of Creation's Dawn Breaks Loose in Our World Today!
The Most Amazing Show On Any Screen ! Adventure to make you wonder if it's TRUE . . . while your very eyes convince you that it IS !
The Most Awesome Thriller Of All Time
Out-leaping the maddest imaginings! Out-thrilling the wildest thrills!
The strangest story ever conceived by man.
Movie Connection(s):
Featured in: Umrika (Hindi)
Reference: Oz the Great and Powerful (English)
Reference: About Last Night (English)
Referenced in: Chennai Express (Hindi)
Referenced in: Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (English)
Referenced in: Main Tera Hero (Hindi)
Revealing Mistakes
A Skull Island resident jumps from a hut and falls beside a domed chicken cage, which then hinges backwards and catches the actor's wig, taking it off his head, and remaining on top of the cage.

Revealing Mistakes
When Kong puts Ann on the tree throne (just before the T-Rex encounter), she moves a meter or so to the left as stop-motion gives way to live-action. Also, because of the full-size tree and actress matted over a portion of the miniature jungle set, part of Kong's paw disappears, seemingly behind the tree but, in fact, behind the matted-in-action at this moment.

Revealing Mistakes
When Kong is looking at Ann, while she is tied to the sacrificial altar, the pillars of the model altar cast shadows on his chest, but there is no shadow of Ann between them.

Revealing Mistakes
In the middle of Kong's battle with the T-Rex, the tree on which Ann Darrow sits falls to the ground. While this occurs, the stop-motion animation of the two fighting monsters ceases completely and visibly before the end of the wide shot of the falling tree.

Revealing Mistakes
As Kong puts Ann down atop the Empire State Building, a matte shot of the actress replaces the animated model of Ann in Kong's paw, but the matte plainly cuts off a large corner of the shadow thrown by the paw on the building. The same error happens again a few minutes later.

Revealing Mistakes
Kong's fur seems to ripple as he moves, this is due to the indentations made in the fur of the Kong model by the fingers of the men who were constantly touching it to change its position slightly to produce the stop-motion animation effects.

Revealing Mistakes
As the island natives to the top of the wall, it is obvious by their quick movements and quick flickering of their torches that the film has been sped up.

Revealing Mistakes
The body of the brontosaurus is visible through one of the trees it passes.

"The natives built the wall on Skull Island to protect themselves from King Kong, yet put a pair of doors on it big enough for him to come through." This is a common misconception. Since Kong can climb the Empire State Building, he probably gets into the compound occasionally; the size of the gate allows the villagers to send him back out.

Errors in Geography
When Kong is on the Empire State Building, even though it is supposed to be morning, rays of sunlight are poking through the clouds from the west, on the New Jersey side of Manhattan, an impossibility at that time of day.

Errors in Geography
In the wide shot of Kong climbing the Empire State Building, he is climbing the western face of the structure. The financial district is visible to the south in the background. The shot of him atop the tower shows the Chrysler Building directly behind him. That building being to the ESB's north east, that puts Kong on the southern face of the building. When he falls, in the closer shot, he falls back to the south east. Back in the wide shot, he falls off the western side.

In close-ups of his face, King Kong has more teeth than he does when his whole body is shown.

There were two Kong puppets, with differently-shaped heads. The "long-faced" Kong puppet was used for many of the dinosaur fighting scenes and at the top of the Empire State Building. The blunt-headed Kong was used in scenes with Ann Darrow tied to the altar and for many of the New York City climbing scenes. There was also a single full-sized mechanical head built for some of the close-ups. This Kong had extremely white teeth.
The 18-inch model of King Kong was made from a metal mesh skeleton, a mixture of rubber and foam for the muscle structure and rabbit fur for his hair.

The title character, "King" Kong, does not appear until nearly 47 minutes into picture.

King Kong's roar was a lion's and a tiger's roar combined and run backwards but more slowly.

One of the characters in line to see Kong complains to his lady companion, "These tickets cost me 20 bucks." At presumably $10 per ticket, this would have been a tremendous cost in Depression-wracked 1933. By contrast, a ticket to see the 1933 New York Yankees, which featured Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig, or to this movie itself, would have been about 35 cents.

Both Merian C. Cooper and Ernest B. Schoedsack had been wrestlers, and they acted out the fighting moves for the battle between the T-Rex and Kong in the effects studio, before the animators shot the scene.

Although many of the originally censored scenes were restored by Janus Films in 1971 (including the censored sequence in which Kong peels off Fay Wray's clothes), one deleted scene has never been found, shown publicly only once during a preview screening in San Bernardino, California in January 1933. It was a graphic scene following Kong shaking four sailors off the log bridge, causing them to fall into a ravine where they were eaten alive by giant spiders. At the preview screening, audience members screamed and either left the theatre or talked about the grisly sequence throughout the subsequent scenes, disrupting the film. Said the film's producer, Merian C. Cooper, "It stopped the picture cold, so the next day back at the studio, I took it out myself."

This film was successfully reissued worldwide numerous times; some claim it was the first ever re-released film. In the 1938 reissue, several scenes of excessive violence and sex were cut to comply with the Production Code enforced in 1934.

Merian C. Cooper's first vision for this film was of a giant ape on top of the world's tallest building fighting airplanes. He worked backward from there to develop the rest of the story.

The "Old Arabian Proverb" opening the film was actually written by director Merian C. Cooper.

When describing Kong to Fay Wray, Merian C. Cooper said, "You'll have the tallest, darkest leading man in Hollywood". She thought it was Cary Grant.

The 2005 DVD restoration further details the risqué liberties of a 1933 pre-code film release in two scenes. The first is when Ann is on the ship's deck while Charlie is peeling potatoes, and the second is where Denham is shooting some test footage of Ann ("Scream for your life, Ann, Scream!"). The thin material used for Ann's dress and gown in both scenes makes it obvious that Fay Wray is not wearing a bra; a wardrobe decision that may not have made it past the Breen Code the following year.

The trees and plants in the background on the stop-motion animation sets were a combination of metal models and real plants. One day during filming, a flower on the miniature set bloomed without anyone noticing. The error in continuity was not noticed until the film was developed and shown. While Kong moved, a time-lapse effect showed the flower coming into full bloom, and an entire day of animation was lost.

The success of this film is often credited for saving RKO from bankruptcy.

For the shots of the airplanes taking off from the strip, the pilots were paid US$10 each.