Film Review: King Kong 1933

Fig 1. King Kong Film Poster (1933)

King Kong (1933) directed by 'Merian C. Coope'r and 'Ernest B'. Schoedsack is thought to be the Grandfather of all special effects films and movie blockbusters. This film was the summer blockbuster in 1933, and with what at the time high special effects that would shock and excite the audience. "King Kong was created to grip and thrill like no movie before, and these basic principles hold surprisingly true today." (Haflidason, 2001).

The plot of the film revolves around a Carl Denham and his film crew who go off to an undiscovered island to try and shoot a new moving picture. But while they are there, they meet what is known to be King Kong, who takes a liking to their star of the show.

Fig 2. Vulnerable Ann Darrow
Thought the film we can see many different aspects about the culture at the time and how characters are stereotypically presented in films. One of these characters is Ann Darrow, who was played by Fay Wray. Ann's Character is presented as obviously a young lady with a dream to to in the movies, she wanted fame, fortune and attention to be in the spotlight. From the first time you saw Ann you could tell that her character was vulnerable, screaming all the time and being constantly rescued by everyone, she even is fought over by Kong and a T-rex.

Fig 3. Fight Scene
If we take a look at fig 3, above we can see that King Kong and a T-Rex are fighting over Ann, being presented as the damsel in distress, that she is helpless on her own and needs someone to save her. Kong is protecting his prize while the T-Rex is competition to steal his prize away.
This suggests that Ann is being portrayed an object, like an object of desire rather than an actual person. This was common in the 1930s as woman were just house wife's and objects. Because the man of the house would go out and work or save the damsel in distress.

Fig 4. Chinese cook
Another big theme through the film would be the racial aspects, in 1933 this wasn't a big problem as this was is what would have been normal at that time. One of the first racial aspects is when we see the cook, who is stereotyped as a typical Chinese person (fig 4). We can see this by how he dresses, how he talks and even the facial hair makes him look like a typical old Chinese man.

Fig 5. Kong in New York

When the crew manage to capture Kong, bring him back to New York and present him as a show piece, by chaining him up this scene can remind more modern audiences who view this film of historiacal events such as the slave trade. Also how the slaves were forced to leave their homes and countries behind to slave away in a new country. Kong is that slave, he has been taken from his home and is no longer a king but a slave in ours.  

Illustration list:

Figure 1. King Kong Film Poster (1933) [poster] At: (Accessed on 07.10.15)

Figure 2. Ann Darrow (1933) [image/ film still] At: (Accessed on 20.10.15)

Figure 3. Fight Scene (1933) [Film still] At:http: // (Accessed on 20.10.15)

Figure 4. Chinese cook (1933) [film still] At: (Accessed on 20.10.15)

Figure 5. Kong in New York [film still] At: (Accessed on 20.10.15)


Haflidason, Almar (2001) Film Review King Kong 1933 At: (Accessed on 20.10.15)


  1. Another concise and thoughtful review Hannah :)
    Just remember to italicise your quotes...and you really need to have at least 3 per review. Good to read though !


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