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King Kong

Year: 1933
Studio: RKO
Director: Merian Cooper/Ernest Shoedsack
Writer: James Creelman/Ruth Rose/Merian Cooper/Edgard Wallace
Cast: Far Wray, Robert Armstrong, Bruce Cabot

A shining example of the golden years of Hollywood that are a world away from filmmaking today with dialogue like 'Say... I guess I love ya, Ann', 'I wanna make a real swell picture' and 'I'm on the level... noooo funny business.' Armstrong and Cabot ham it to the max as Wray epitomises yesteryear's leading lady just laying around screaming waiting for the steel jawed hero to save her.

At the time it was a modern take on Beauty and the Beast as a filmmaker (Armstrong) gets wind of the legend of Kong and leads a ship and potential leading lady (Wray) to a hidden island where they find it populated by dinosaurs and assorted giant predators.

70 year old special effects and ideas about plot pacing are a big laugh nowadays (as well as the socio-environmental mores of the time - if a unique and unheard of species of animal shows up, kill it immediately), but the stop motion plasticine models were probably as realistic as CGI today. Standout examples are the Skull Island villager unashamedly painted like a black and white minstrel to look like a South Pacific Islander.

If you haven't seen it, forget what Peter Jackson tells you. The idea might have inspired kids the world over, but the execution doesn't stand up today.

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