Thursday, December 26, 2013

Currently Playing At The Bijou Of Cool


The Son of Kong (1933)

After the disastrous results of his last expedition, Carl Denham leaves New York aboard a ship to escape all the trouble. After a mutiny, he and a few companions are left behind on Skull island, where they meet a smaller relative of King Kong and make friends with him.

One of the more unsung sequels in screen history, this fast-tracked follow-up to 1933’s all-conquering King Kong has none of the show stopping, skyscraper-scaling ambition of the original. But it’s far from a terrible disappointment to its father.

We’re a month on from the iconic finale of Kong. Wittily, showman Carl Denham – the man who paraded the ape as the Eighth Wonder Of The World – is facing a litigation nightmare for property damage to Manhattan. Fleeing yet another summons he returns to Skull Island, where a shifty seadog claims tribal treasure is waiting. Also waiting on the eerie isle is Kong Jr, the altogether cuter fruit of the Fay Wray-botherer’s mighty loins.

As screenwriter Ruth Rose knew, “If you can’t make it bigger, make it funnier.” So the sequel’s tone is considerably more playful, bringing us what the tagline called “A human, loveable, laughable beast.” Little Kong is certainly a sweeter creation than his plane-swatting papa, prone to Stan Laurel-style head-scratches and the occasional cross-eyed bout after bashing his head. The work of stop-mo master Willis O’Brien, he’s an endearing and characterful title star, very much a dry run for 1949’s Mighty Joe Young.


Unknown said...

They don't make movie posters like that anymore Kal which is a shame.

Erik Johnson Illustrator said...

Amen to that John. I've been collecting a number of these old 430s movie posters for typographic inspiration lately. I've come to the conclusion that nobody knows how to use the color yellow anymore.

"If you can't make it bigger, make it funnier". That explains some of the mindset behind various sequels like Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade or Star Trek IV: The One with the Whales.