“The positioning of King Kong as the emotional centre of the film – its central figure of audience identification – brings both mass and sub cultural theories to bear on her subject. Kong is a popular hero who is also an exotic other, a tormented ‘outsider’ who appeals to spectators outside the mainstream, including international, gay, black, and feminist audiences. Kong has been able to generate works of protest and liberation since his monstrous hybridism is open to complex decoding. While Merian C. Cooper and Ernest B. Schoedsack’s original film is a colonial text, it is also a fascinating account of ethnographic encounter and trans-cultural contact, possessed of a clear use-value for those interested in multicultural and global concerns.” (Farmelo, 2000)
Another significant achievement of the film was the rich detail with which Kong’s character is depicted. A primate as he is, Kong displays of anger, melancholy and desire were human-like. To create such subtle facial expressions using stop-animation technique must have been a challenging and tedious proposition. Yet, it was done without a blemish (Farmelo, 2000).
The scene in which Kong was introduced makes an impression on the viewer. The giant primate is shown going on a rampage in the jungle, destroying everything within reach. The grunts, growls and roars of Kong perfectly compliment the visual on screen. Then a long-distance shot of the thirty foot Kong is shown to place him in proportion to the surroundings. He then nears the site where Ann was being prepared by the tribe to be sacrificed to their Gods. On catching a glimpse of the beautiful Ann, Kong transforms from an angry and aggressive beast to one that is smitten by desire. Ann gets terrorized as the beast moves closer. She screams in terror and finally faints. But instead of making a snack out of Ann, he gently lifts her into his palm, his eyes glowing in admiration of her beauty. It is to the credit of the Directors that this scene was shot without a glitch. The transition of Kong’s emotions from that of brutish violence to that of one in love was a delicate operation. But the directors succeed in bringing this scene to fruition in spite of the limited cinematographic technology available to them. It is for such flawless execution of a challenging project that King Kong remains a classic Hollywood product. (White, 2006)
The crew sets out for a rescue mission with First Mate Driscoll in the lead. With Driscoll and Ann having already expressed their mutual attraction toward each other, another instance of “Damsel in Distress”, “Knight in Shining Armour” sub-themes play out.
The subsequent scenes of the exotic wild-life of the jungle draws much merit. The prehistoric creature Stegosaurus, the amphibious Brontosaurus and the winged Pteranodon were portrayed realistically. The shot from a ground-level perspective makes them appear larger and more frightening. The most spectacular and thrilling of these visuals is the one where Kong takes on Tyrannosaurus Rex in a battle. This vicious one-on-one combat keeps the audience in bated breath. The jaws, claws and tails of these prehistoric monsters were consistent with their scientific descriptions. (Silverblatt, 1996)
Keith Breese’s following tribute is a fitting way of concluding this essay:
“There are very few works of cinema that stand up to repeated viewings and decades of changing film mores and audience expectations. Most notable among these is the classic King Kong. While the special effects that really came to symbolize the film look a bit ragged and prehistoric today, they carry an emotional weight that remains unequalled by modern CGI trickery and model work. You can spout off all you like about the wonders of The Lord of the Rings’ Gollum but for all his slimy verisimilitude the guy still looks 2-D. There is, of course, a reason for that: He is. Kong wasn’t.” (Breese)