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King Kong (1933)

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Author Topic: King Kong (1933)  (Read 1443 times)
Stacy Dohm
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« on: August 25, 2007, 10:40:21 pm »


Kong is brought back to "Jazz Age" New York on the S. S. Venture to be put on display in a crowded Broadway theater, shown in marquee lights: "KING KONG EIGHTH WONDER OF THE WORLD, Carl Denham's Giant Monster." Kong is a victim in civilization, far removed and transported away from his familiar jungle environment. The curious crowds of the first-night audience push into the huge auditorium, mentioning that tickets are $20 apiece to see the prized trophy, and freak show attraction. One of the audience members has misunderstood and believes a movie screening is about to take place. But she is told that it is more of a "personal appearance." Another individual speculates: "I hear it's a kind of a gorilla." A female quips: "Gee, ain't we got enough of them in New York?"

Just before unveiling Kong to his audience, a top-hatted, tuxedoed Denham tells press reporters backstage to play up the Beauty and the Beast angle on the story, because it was Ann that led the beast back to the village. He also requests that they take their first flash photos of Kong on stage after the curtain goes up. He walks on stage in front of the curtain and with much showmanship, addresses the audience about his "Eighth Wonder of the World" in its world premiere:


Ladies and gentlemen, I'm here tonight to tell you a very strange story - a story so strange that no one will believe it - but, ladies and gentlemen, seeing is believing. And we - my partners and I - have brought back the living proof of our adventure, an adventure in which twelve of our party met horrible death. And now, ladies and gentlemen, before I tell you any more, I'm going to show you the greatest thing your eyes have ever beheld. He was a King and a God in the world he knew, but now he comes to civilization, merely a captive, on show to gratify your curiosity. Ladies and gentlemen, look at Kong - the Eighth Wonder of the World!
The curtain rises to the amazed, black-tie audience, and there is the giant Kong exhibited, standing chained to a large steel-platformed structure. The metal structure's resemblance to a crucifix is symbolically striking. Denham invites Jack and Ann, now obviously in love, to come onstage. Denham introduces first Ann and then Driscoll - they're now engaged to be married:


The bravest girl I have ever known...There the Beast. And here the Beauty. She has lived through an experience no other woman ever dreamed of. And she was saved from the very grasp of Kong by her future husband. I want you to meet a very brave gentleman, Mr. John Driscoll.
Denham then brings the press reporters on stage, to give the audience the privilege of seeing the first photographs taken of Kong and his captors. Kong struggles when he is startled and then angered by a flood of flashbulb photographs. He also is stirred and jealous of the sight of his beautiful prize - Ann, standing next to Denham. Denham assures his panicking audience: "Don't be alarmed ladies and gentlemen. Those chains are made of chrome steel." With a second flurry of photographs and bursts of light from the flashes, Denham warns them to stop: "Wait a minute. Hold on. He thinks you're attacking the girl." Furious and anguished, Kong believes the popping lights are guns being fired at his female love.

Kong roars in fury and breaks free of his chains to protect and rescue Ann - first freeing his right arm and then the rest of the manacles binding his other arm, waist, and ankles. Driscoll grabs Ann's hand and helps her escape into the alley where they flee into a nearby hotel, while the panic-stricken audience hysterically stampedes and races for the exits. Kong smashes his way out of the theatre, causing mass havoc. Crashing through the stage door, Kong sees Ann and Driscoll enter the revolving doors of the hotel building across the way. After a car crashes into the hotel entrance where Ann and Driscoll have fled, the frustrated Kong kills the driver of the car in his mouth. In his violent rampage and assault on Manhattan [a symbolic, Depression-era attack by the impoverished victim on Wall Street and its bankers and stock dealers?], he rips the marquee from the hotel entrance and throws it into the crowds on the street.

 

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