Fay Wray as Ann Darrow
Robert Armstrong as Carl Denham
Bruce Cabot as Jack Driscoll
Frank Reicher as Captain Englehorn
The granddaddy of all giant monster films! An icon of film! The Eight Wonder of the World! It holds up pretty well for being 72 years old. Sure, effects have come a long way since then, but aside from a few points in the beginning, King Kong keeps pretty much action filled, and follows a modern style pacing after the first half hour. The “Beauty killed the beast” message has been repeated countless times, especially in the dozens and dozens of knock offs over the years. Willis O’Brien pulled off a masterpiece here, and it didn’t take any Dino De Laurentiis, any Twin Towers, any robot apes, or any CGI nonsense. Big budget remakes cannot improve on this, and Peter Jackson’s upcoming version will not take the spotlight away from this one, either.
Ward Ramsey as Bart Thompson
Kristina Hanson as Betty Piper
Alan Roberts as Julio
Fred Engelberg as Mike Hacker
This relict from the 1950’s type of cinema bursts into the swinging sixties trying the same formula that had worked for 15 years. Unfortunately for them it fails to work. At all. Ward Ramsey is a third rate Peter Graves wanna be. In fact, according to rumor this was supposed to be a Steve McQueen role. Yeah, sure. Bullitt vs. Dinosaurs, that would be entertaining, but the director here couldn’t pull off a paint by numbers picture. Neither could the special effects department, the effects are particularly bad on this film considering the age. If you aren’t Ray Harryhausen don’t even try to pretend you can do his skills. The film tries to cover the cheap effect with terrible comic relief insulting the only interesting character (the caveman) and factors in an annoying island kid, a lazy black guy, a drunk Irishman, a woman who faints underwater, and The White Man saving the day thanks to White Man technology. Yeesh. I will repeat that the kid was annoying as he is terrible. Imagine any of the Kens from the Gamera movies, make him Mexican and named Julio, and you get this kid.