The Bigger They Come Part 6 (Son of Kong, 1933)

Son-of-Kong-PosterKing Kong was quickly followed up by Son of Kong.

Song of Kong finds Carl Denham trying to avoid the public after the King Kong debacle.  He ends up returning to Skull Island.  He and a few companions get stranded there.  They discover a “pint sized” Kong.  Unlike the first film, this is not an adversarial relationship.  Instead, they befriend the mini-Kong.

While the effects are are up to par with the original, this is a far less memorable film.  There is a reason it is forgotten.  It is kind of a dull affair, in spite of attempts to recapture the original film’s excitement.

The cast is primarily new, except for the returning Robert Armstrong (Carl Denham), Frank Reicher (Capt. Englehorn) and Victor Wong (Charlie the Chinese Cook).  Son of Kong is a minor footnote in the Big Ape genre for certain.

The Bigger They Come Part 5 (King Kong, 1933)

King_kong_1933_posterIn 1933, Merian C. Cooper began making giant ape movies.  King Kong still stands as the most memorable.  Carl Denham is committed to make an epic film on the newly discovered Skull Island.  Bring his cast and crew, they discover horror as Ann Darrow is kidnapped by the native people and sacrificed to Kong.

King Kong is a pretty impressive feat for it’s day.  While the stop motion does not compare to, say, Ray Harryhausen’s later works.  The sets are also pretty impressive.

The story moves at a fast pace, rarely taking time to slow down.  The performances are all pretty good, though most people really only remember Fay Wray (in part for screaming a whole lot).  Darrow is, typically for the times, strictly in the “Helpless Damsel” mode.

The Savage Natives trope is embarrassingly outdated.  Peter Jackson made no attempt to change this in his 2005 remake, while Kong: Skull Island overcompensates by going the Noble Savage route.  It is one of those rather frustrating stamps of the past that lacks justification beyond “It was the times”.

King Kong is a memorable piece of genre film history and overall a fun watch in spite of it’s shortcomings.

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