King Kong - 1933 Screenplay

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Stacy Dohm:

               -- and falls in. The sixty natives on the long pole are
               crushed. The sailors run for their lives. They have no time
               to pick up weapons. The few surviving natives with spears -
               the one's nor on pole - also run. Kong stands in the gate,
               snarling, beating his chest. He starts after them.

               Village street, sailors panicking through, taking refuge in

               Driscoll and Ann run across, behind huts. Denham runs in.

                         The bombs! Who's got the bombs!

               KONG advances down street, towering over huts. He roars and
               knocks huts aside.

               Men in foreground run.

               KONG tears roof off a hut.

               Interior Hut from Kong's angle. Men cowering in a corner.

               They look up at camera and shriek.

               KONG reaches into hut, picks up a native.

               Exterior, behind a hut. Driscoll, half-carrying Ann. Stops,
               looks back, hurries her out.

               KONG looks at native in his hand, throws him aside.

               Denham runs past after some sailors, one of them carrying the

               KONG knocking down more huts. Driscoll and Ann running,
               trying to keep behind huts.

               KONG sees them over roofs.

               Close-up of KONG snarling as he sees: Long shot, Driscoll and
               Ann clear of village and running for beach.

               KONG starts after them.

               The beach, boats drawn up. Sailors running.

               Denham overtakes them, grabs man with bombs, pulls him

               Man tries to run. Denham hits him, seizes bombs.

               Driscoll and Ann running toward camera. KONG pursuing.

               Denham steps forward, throws bombs over Driscoll's head.

               Bombs burst in front of KONG. Smoke veils him.

               KONG staggers forward through smoke, coughing. He knocks
               Denham aside with his hand.

               He reaches for Driscoll and Ann, and pitches forward.

               CLOSE SHOT, Driscoll and Ann. KONG'S reaching hand falls into
               this shot, and he's limp.

               Village street. Night. Englehorn and Denham.

                         Are you hurt?

                             (gets up, pushes Englehorn
                         Come on. We've got him.

               Village street. Night. KONG's great side, heaving as he
               breathes. All crowd around him.

                         He'll be out for hours. Send off to
                         the ship for anchor-chain, Skipper.
                         And tools.

                         What are you going to do?

                         Build a raft to float him out to
                         the ship. The whole world'll pay to
                         see this!

                         No chains will hold -- that.

                         We'll give him more than chains.
                         He's always been king of the world.
                         But we'll teach him fear.
                             (his voice rises
                         We're millionaires. I'll share with
                         all of you. Listen, boys a few
                         months from now it'll be in lights
                         on Broadway -- Kong, the Eight

Stacy Dohm:
DISSOLVE TO electric sign on a theatre, "KONG, the Eight

               Tilt down to crowds outside.

               CLOSEUPS of crowd.

                                   1ST MAN
                         What is it, anyhow?

                                   2ND MAN
                         They say it's sort of a gorilla.

                                   1ST MAN
                         Gee, ain't we got enough of them in
                         New York?

               Another close-up.

                                   YOUNG MAN
                             (to his girl)
                         I hear it's bigger'n an elephant.

                             (chewing gum)
                         Does it do tricks or what?

               Another close-up.

                             (in evening dress)
                         Heavens, what a mob.

                                   HER HUSBAND
                         Well, you would come. And the
                         tickets cost me twenty bucks.

               Long Shot of crowd, zoom forward over their heads toward the

               Dissolve to wings of theatre, shoot toward stage. Ann and
               Driscoll in foreground, peering toward stage. Ann evening
               dress. Driscoll dinner jacket.

                         I don't like to look at him, Jack.
                         It makes me feel the way I did that
                         awful day on the island.

                         I wouldn't have brought you, but
                         you know how Denham insisted.

                         Of course we had to come when he
                         said it would help the show. Do you
                         suppose we'll really make a lot of
                         money, Jack?

                             (fussing with his collar)
                         Enough to pay him back for these
                         clothes, anyway...I never had an
                         open-face suit before.

               Denham bustles in. Full evening dress, silk hat, gardenia. He
               is excited and important.

                         Hello, you're just on time. You
                         look great, Ann. Glad I dressed you
                         up for this show. Hello, Jack. Ten
                         thousand dollars in the box office.
                         How's that for one night?

                         Say! That's money!

                         Oh, we're going to do that every
                         night. The newspaper boys are
                         coming in now.

               Group of reporters and photographers come in to Ann,
               Driscoll, and Denham.

                         Miss Darrow, boys. And Mr.

                                   1ST REPORTER
                         It was Mr. Driscoll rescued you
                         from the ape, wasn't it?

                         Yes. He was alone. All the sailors
                         with him had been killed.

                                   2ND REPORTER
                             (looking off-stage)
                         Alone, eh? Whew! How did you tackle
                         that baby?

                         Aw, Denham's the one that got him.
                         The rest of us were running like
                         rabbits, but Denham had the nerve
                         to stand still and chuck gas-bombs
                         at him.

               The Reporters turn to Denham, saying "Oh, you're the hero."
               "Come on spill it," etc.

                         No, lay off me. Miss Darrow is the
                         story. If it hadn't been for her,
                         we'd never have got near KONG. He
                         came back to the village for her.

                                   3RD REPORTER
                         Beauty and the Beast, huh?

                         That's it. Play up that angle.
                         Beauty and the Beast. KONG could
                         have stayed safe where we'd never
                         have got him, but he couldn't stay
                         away from Beauty. That's your
                         story, boys.

                                   2ND REPORTER
                         It's a story all right.

                                   1ST PHOTOGRAPHER
                         How about a few pictures?

                         Wait. I want you to take
                         flashlights on the stage in front
                         of the audience. We'll ring the
                         curtain up now, and I'll make a
                         speech. Tell 'em about KONG and
                         Miss Darrow and Driscoll. Then when
                         I call you, you all come on and
                         take pictures.

               The photographers ad lib. "Sure," "We'll do that," etc.

                         Come on Ann. I want you and Jack
                         there when the curtain goes up.

                         Oh, no.

                         It's all right. We've knocked some
                         of the fight out of him since you
                         saw him.

               He urges Ann off. Driscoll follows.

               Cut to back of theatre, looking toward stage, curtain down.

               House packed. Denham comes before the curtain. In almost the
               tones of the circus spieler, he begins:

                         Ladies and gentlemen, I am here
                         tonight to tell you a strange
                         story. So strange a story that no
                         one will believe it. But, ladies
                         and gentlemen, seeing is believing,
                         and we -- I and my partners -- have
                         brought back the living proof of
                         our adventure, an adventure in
                         which twelve of our party met
                         terrible deaths.

               Cut to wings of theatre. Reporters and photographers looking
               onto the stage.

                                   2ND PHOTOGRAPHER
                         Holy smoke, look at that!

                                   1ST PHOTOGRAPHER
                         Hope he's tied up good and plenty.

                                   1ST REPORTER
                         Sure he is. Denham's taking no

               Cut to front of theatre. Denham addressing audience.

                         - and now, ladies and gentlemen,
                         before I tell you more, I am going
                         to show you the greatest sight your
                         eyes ever beheld. He was the king
                         and the god of the world he knew,
                         but now he comes to civilization,
                         merely a captive, a show to gratify
                         your curiosity. Ladies and
                         gentlemen, look at KONG, the Eight
                         Wonder of the World.

               The curtain rises to disclose a raised platform, on which is
               KONG, loaded with chains and so fastened that he can move
               nothing but his head. Murmurs and exclamations from the
               audience, a few rise to their feet to get a better look.

               CUT TO medium shot on stage. Denham takes Ann's hand.

                         I want to introduce Miss Ann
                         Darrow. The pluckiest girl I've
                         ever known.

               Audience applauds.

                         There the Beast, and here the
                         Beauty. She has lived through an
                         experience that no other woman ever
                         dreamed of. And she was rescued
                         from the very grasp of KONG by her
                         future husband. I want you to meet
                         a very brave gentleman, Mr. John

               Audience applauds. Driscoll bows awkwardly.

                         Now, before I tell you the full
                         story of our voyage. I am going to
                         ask the gentlemen of the press to
                         come forward, so that the audience
                         may have the privilege of seeing
                         them take the first photographs of
                         KONG and his captors.

               He looks off-stage and beckons. The press men come on.

                         Miss Darrow first, alone. Stand in
                         front of KONG, Ann.

               Ann reluctantly does so.

                                   1ST PHOTOGRAPHER
                         That's it - That's near enough.

                                   2ND PHOTOGRAPHER
                         Ready. Hold it. Smile, please.

               The flashlights go off. KONG roars. Ann looks round in
               terror, with a startled cry.

                         Don't be alarmed, ladies and
                         gentlemen. Those chains are made of
                         chrome steel. He can't move.

               Flashlights again. KONG roars and strains at chains. Ann
               covers her face. Driscoll steps forward to her.

                         It's all right, Ann.

                         Get them together, boys. They're
                         going to be married tomorrow.

                                   1ST PHOTOGRAPHER
                         Put your arm around her, Driscoll.

               Driscoll does so. Flashlights. KONG roars, struggles. Ann
               hides her face against Driscoll.

                         Wait. Hold on. He thinks you're
                         attacking the girl.

                                   1ST PHOTOGRAPHER
                         Let him roar. Swell picture.
                             (to flashlight men)
                         Get this.

               Flashlights again.

               With a frightful roar, KONG breaks his chains.

               Everyone stands paralyzed, as KONG beats his chest, roaring.

               The Driscoll grabs Ann, and rushes for door.

               The theatre; reporters, attendants running for safety.

               Audience in panic. KONG roaring.

               Driscoll and Ann through door.

               KONG starts across arena.

Stacy Dohm:
Driscoll and Ann in street.

                         My hotel! Across the street!

               They run.

               KONG pushes down big door. Crowded street seen beyond him.

               He plunges through.

               KONG comes up to hotel. Door is too small for him. He peers
               through big window.

               Driscoll and Ann in elevator going up. She is clinging to him
               in panic.

               KONG outside hotel.

               A woman, several stories above, looks out window, sees KONG,
               screams. KONG looks up, sees woman, thinks it is Ann, starts
               to climb. Woman sees him coming, goes back from window.

               KONG climbing up building.

               A room in hotel, five men playing poker.

                                   1ST MAN
                         Sweeten it - sweeten it.

               They all ante, while 2nd Man deals.

                                   3RD MAN
                         What's all the doings over there at
                         the theatre?

                                   2ND MAN
                         Sounds like a three-alarm fire.

                                   4TH MAN
                         Aw, some movie stunt about a

                                   5TH MAN
                         I hear the theatre's sold out.

                                   3RD MAN
                         This town sure is full of hicks.

                                   1ST MAN
                         Barnum was right.

               KONG appears at window. They panic.

               Another room in hotel. Ann and Driscoll rush in, he slams
               door. Ann clings to him for a moment, then collapses on bed,
               gasping and sobbing. He kneels beside her.

                         Hush, Ann. Hush, darling. It's all
                         right. You're safe here.

               KONG climbing building.

               Another hotel room. A woman in negligee at telephone.

                         Yes, Jimmy, it's Mabel - I been
                         waiting for you to call up.

                         Howya, kid. Glad I'm back?

                         You bet I'm glad you're back...I
                         got your postal. Talk louder,
                         Jimmy, there's fire-engines going
                         by. I can't hear...

                         Gonna step out with me, kid? Ya
                         save the evening like I told ya?

                         Sure I saved the evening...Nine
                         o'clock'll be swell...And say, wait
                         until you see my new outfit...All
                         right, I'll be there...Say, when
                         did I ever break a date with you,

                         Whatsa matter? Hey, kid, what yer
                         yelling -- Mabel! Mabel! Operator,
                         something's happened!

               KONG at window. He reaches in, picks her up, pulls her out

               Exterior, hotel wall. KONG looks at her, sees she isn't Ann,
               drops her disgustedly.

               Driscoll's hotel room. Ann sitting on bed. Driscoll kneeling
               beside her.

                         We'll stay here, dear. I won't
                         leave you. They'll get him. It's
                         all right.

                         It's a like a horrible dream. It's
                         like -- being back there -- on the

               Driscoll puts his arms round her, murmurs soothingly.

               KONG appears in window.

               Driscoll starts up. Ann turns and sees, shrieks, cowers on

               KONG smashes window, his hand comes in, reaching. Driscoll
               picks up a chair and attacks hand.

               KONG'S hand knocks him across room, where he lies senseless.

               KONG'S hand drags the bed to the window, picks up Ann, takes
               her out window.

               Driscoll staggers to window, looks up after KONG, turns and
               rushes out.

Stacy Dohm:
(Changes - 9/6/32)

               Hotel corridor. Denham running toward camera, followed by pop
               eyed bell-boys, clerks and waiter.

               Door to Driscoll's room opens, and Driscoll staggers out,
               almost colliding with Denham.

                         Jack! He's climbing up, outside

                         He got Ann. He's taking her up.

                         The roof! Quick!

               They rush off.

               CUT TO roof of hotel. Denham and Driscoll run in. They see
               KONG, holding Ann, going over another roof. He goes out of

                         What'll we do?

                             (turning to go)
                         Fire Department searchlights.
                         They'll keep him in sight.

               CUT TO - motorcycle cops.

               Crowd pointing and shouting.

               Policeman turning in alarm.

               Hook and ladder.

               KONG climbing. Cornice breaks.

               Cornice crashes on man.

               Firehouse, searchlights coming out. Siren.

               Mounted police ride out.

               Crowd in street.

               Searchlights on roof.

                                   1ST FIREMAN
                         Where is he?

                                   2ND FIREMAN
                         He went that way.

                                   1ST FIREMAN
                         He may have fallen.

               Searchlight settles on Kong on distant roof.

                                   1ST FIREMAN
                         There! There he is.

                                   2ND FIREMAN
                         He's still got the girl.

               Another searchlight picks up Kong.

                                   3RD FIREMAN
                         He's turned. He's going back.

               Police station, cops run out with guns.

               Wall of windows, full of heads, craning.

               Cop telephoning from street-box.

               Roof with searchlight. Kong not seen. Light moves to and fro,

                                   2ND FIREMAN
                         Where's he gone?

               Two policemen enter.

                                   1ST COP
                         Can you see him?

                                   2ND FIREMAN
                         No. Lost sight of him half and hour

               Crowd in street. Two men looking up.

                                   1ST MAN
                         They say he's disappeared.

                                   2ND MAN
                         Well, what could he hide in?

                                   1ST MAN
                         Gee, I hope he don't come down in
                         the street.

                                   2ND MAN
                         You said it.

               Police Station. Sergeant at desk with phone. Denham and
               Driscoll pacing the floor. Phone rings.

                             (into phone)
                         Yes? Yes...No, not
                         yet...Headquarters is broadcasting
                         the reports.
                             (he hangs up)

                                   THE LOUDSPEAKER
                         Kong, the giant ape, is still at
                         large. He has not been seen since
                         midnight. The whole city is
                         aroused. We are hoping for a report
                         at any moment.

               Driscoll sits down with a groan and puts his head in his
               hands. Denham rests a hand on his shoulder.

                         Snap out of it, Jack. They're bound
                         to find him when morning comes.

                         I can't do anything. Ann's out
                         there -- somewhere --

                         But we're pretty sure he won't hurt

                         He may have dropped her. She may be
                         lying somewhere.

                                   THE LOUDSPEAKER
                         Attention, all stations! Kong has
                         been seen again. He is on the roofs
                         of the warehouses at 41st Street.
                         He is going toward the East River.
                         He is still carrying Ann Darrow.

               Driscoll leaps up, clutching Denham.

               Phone on desk rings.

                             (answering it)
                         Yes?...Yes, the report just come
                         in...I don't know. What can we do
                         without killing the girl, too?

                         If he puts Ann down --

                             (into phone)
                         It'll be daylight in an hour. Keep
                         him in sight.

                                   THE LOUDSPEAKER
                         Kong is going West. He is making
                         for the Empire State Building.

                             (to Sergeant)
                         If he goes up there, what can we

                         We won't be able to get near him.

                                   THE LOUDSPEAKER
                         Kong is climbing the Empire State.
                         He is still carrying Ann Darrow.

                         That's licked us.

                         There's one thing that hasn't been


                         Airplanes. If he should put Ann
                         down -- if they could fly near
                         enough to pick him off -- without
                         hitting Ann --

                         You're right! Planes -- as soon as
                         it's daylight --
                             (he turns to phone and
                              starts to call)

Stacy Dohm:
CUT TO planes taking off.

               Crowd in street, gazing up.

               Kong on top of Empire State. He puts Ann down and beats his

               An airplane squadron, flying in formation.

               The planes over New York. Pilot looks over side, gives signal
               to rest of squadron.

               Entrance to Empire State, crowd around doors, police holding
               them back. Denham, Driscoll, with two policemen, push their
               way through crowd. They pause in door.

                         Here comes the planes.

                         They'll get him.

                         Can they shoot him and not hit Ann?
                             (he starts inside)

                         Hold on. Don't you get on that roof

                         Give the pilots a chance, Jack.

               They all exit into building.

               Top of Empire State. Dawn. Kong turns and looks up at a
               plane, roars and beats his chest.

               In plane, shot over pilot's shoulder, as plane dives at Kong.

               Top of Empire State. Kong snatches at plane and drops it into

               In the street, plane drops and burns.

               Top of Empire State. Kong roars and beats his chest.

               In 2nd plane, observer taps pilot and points. They dive.

               Top of Empire State. Plane banks around Kong, firing machine

               Close shot of Kong - he is hit by bullets, staggers.

               Shot of Ann on ledge.

               Another plane zooms past, firing at Kong.

               Close shot of Kong, hit again. He coughs, looks down at his
               wounds. Looks at Ann, reaches as though to pick her up.

               Top of Empire State. More planes zoom down. Kong stands
               erect, drumming on his chest. The planes sweep by, firing. He
               staggers, turns slowly, and topples off roof.


               Fire engines, searchlight units, police cars, motorcycles and
               what not, speeding through crowded streets with sirens
               blowing. This would be particularly effective in some well
               recognized location such as Times Square.

               EXT. 3RD ROOFS - FULL SHOT - NIGHT

               Kong, carrying the girl, runs across roofs to the edge of a
               city street. He leaps across the street, or alley, if the
               distance is too great, and catches a window of a building on
               the opposite side. He pulls himself up and continues the
               chase. Crowds can be seen below.

               EXT. 2ND STREET - FULL SHOT - NIGHT

               Confusion in the street below this building as the crowds of
               police, firemen, etc., rush after Kong.

               LAP DISSOLVE

               EXT. 4TH ROOFS - FULL SHOT - DAWN

               DISSOLVE IN on an armed party, including Driscoll and police
               officer, as they rush across roof tops and stop bewildered as
               they see no trace of Kong. The first streaks of dawn are
               tinging the sky.

               EXT. 4TH ROOFS - MED. SHOT - DAWN

                                   POLICE CAPTAIN
                         It's no use. All night we've been
                         after him -- and never got near
                         enough to take a shot.

                                   POLICE LIEUTENANT
                         It'll be daylight soon. That ought
                         to help.

                                   POLICE CAPTAIN
                         Help the ape, maybe.

                         There he goes -- making for the
                         Empire State Building.

               Points to --


               -- Kong with the girl seen in the distance, going across
               roofs toward Empire State Building background. Probably no
               men needed in this shot, as building gives size.

               EXT. 4TH ROOFS - MED. SHOT - DAWN

                                   POLICE CAPTAIN
                         If he takes the girl up there with
                         him, we're fair beat.

                                   POLICE LIEUTENANT
                         That's right. We can't shoot him
                         down while he has the girl.

                         Wait a minute. There's one thing we
                         haven't tried.

                                   POLICE CAPTAIN
                         And what is that?

                         Air planes. The army planes from
                         Roosevelt Field. They might find a
                         way to pick him off without
                         touching her.

                                   POLICE CAPTAIN
                         You're right.
                             (to Lieutenant)
                         Get to a phone, Tim. Call the
                         field, - burn up the wires -

               As they move away, DISSOLVE OUT.


               DISSOLVE IN on the Empire State Building, as Kong climbs it
               with the girl. The first streaks of Dawn light the sky.


               Military planes as they take off from an airport.


               The dome of the Empire State Building as Kong climbs up.


               The crowd in the street, watching this aghast. There are
               police cars, motorcycles, fire engines, and two of three
               searchlight units, keeping their lights fixed on him. Police
               are keeping the crowd back. VERTICAL SHOT DOWN.


               Kong climbs to stand on the dome, holding the girl. He beats
               his chest, defying the whole civilized world.


               An airplane squadron over New York, flying toward the Empire
               State Building. If desirable, this can be done without city
               below, just against sky backing. The planes are pursuit

               EXT. 1ST AIRPLANE - MED. SHOT - DAWN

               The squadron leader looking over the side of the plane. He
               waves a signal to the other and dives.

               EXT. SKY AND CITY - FULL SHOT - DAWN

               The leader dives toward the Empire State Building, seen far
               below, Kong is just a dot on the roof. The rest continue to
               fly in formation.


               Kong hears the planes. He turns to look as the squadron
               leader banks about the top of the building, making a
               reconnaissance. Kong puts the girl down and suddenly reaches
               out, snatches the plane out of the air. He crumples it and
               hurls it to --


               -- the street below. It lands just short of the crowd and
               bursts into flames.


               Kong again roars angry defiance at the world.

               EXT. 2ND AIRPLANE - MED. SHOT - DAWN

               The observer of a 2nd plane taps the pilot's back, indicates
               here's their chance. The military pilot of the second
               airplane fires machine gun as he dives.

               (NOTE: A LONG SHOT of Kong in dome from angle of plane would
               it it's possible, help observer get this over. Maybe ZOOM
               SHOT, plane in background)


               The airplane whizzes by Kong, firing into him.


               Kong is seen from the waist up. The bullet strikes him about
               the chest. He staggers.


               The girl watching, terrified.


               Another airplane zooms by firing into Kong.


               Again Kong is hit. He coughs. He looks down at the girl. He
               looks at his wounds, realizes he is weakening. He moves to --


               -- pick her up.


               As he stares at her with a puzzled, hurt look. The he puts
               her --


               -- down, straightens up, roars defiance up at the planes. He
               coughs as he drums his chest, daring them to come on.

               EXT. CITY AND SKY - FULL SHOT - DAWN

               The remainder of the squadron dive together towards the
               Empire State Building.


               They sweep past Kong with a roar of machine guns. He
               staggers, turns and slowly topples off the roof.


               Kong as he falls to --


               -- the street below. He lands beside the burning airplane.


               Ann lying on ledge. Driscoll, Denham, couple of cops rush in,
               as Kong goes over. Driscoll leaps across, gets Ann, he is
               incoherent with terror for her. He kisses her wildly, talking
               all the time.

                         Ann! Ann! Are you all right? Oh, my
                         darling, sure you're not hurt?

                         Ad lib.

               Denham and one cop lean over the parapet looking down at the
               fallen Kong.

                             (drawing a long breath)
                         Gee, what a sight. Well, the
                         aviators got him.

                         Oh no, 'twasn't the aviators
                             (Cops looks question)
                         It was Beauty killed the Beast.

               Cop stares at him, very puzzled.

                                                              FADE OUT.



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