And the Prophet said, ‘And lo, the beast looked upon the face of beauty. And it stayed its hand from killing. And from that day, it was as one dead.’
These were the words that began the epic story of the great Beast from the jungle and his beauty, played by the star that would be forever immortalized as Kong’s Beauty, Fay Wray.
America was in the midst of the depression, people were lined up along the streets to get food from the soup kitchens; families were living in villages made up of cardboard and wooden shacks called “hoovervilles” and theaters were facing bankruptcy. Yet in 1933 when King Kong was released it became the savior of the famous RKO Studios. Facing bankruptcy RKO had directors and producers; Merian C. Cooper and Ernest B. Schoedsack put together a low budget story of a beautiful fair haired virginal young women and a frightening, gigantic, 50 foot ape-monster as a metaphoric re-telling of the archetypal Beauty and the Beast fable. With it became the largest money maker to date. Making RKO in the black again, and Fay Wray a household name for generations and also launched a new kind of movie monster.
Even though this film won no Academy Awards, it began to use techniques in filming that would last for ages and some of the most phenomenal stop-motion animation sequences and special effects ever filmed. If there were awards given out for Special Effects in those days, King Kong would have walked away with it. Watching the film today you may chuckle at the special effects, but in 1933 they were innovative to say the least.
The ultimate love story set with the backdrop of the depression and oppression, King Kong was filmed to become a classic.