There are only a hand full of movies that are so iconic, that it only takes one reference or one image for the audience to know the film.
One of the films is King Kong.
The original King Kong premiered in 1933.
Ambitious director Carl Denham (Robert Armstrong) needs to finish his next film. But to finish the film, he needs to find the film’s leading lady. The
lucky (or should I say unlucky) actress is Ann Darrow (Fay Wray). What Carl, Ann and the rest of the film crew do not know is that the island’s most infamous resident is a giant gorilla who takes a liking to Ann.
I personally have mixed feelings about this film. On one hand, considering the era that the film was made, the special effects are amazing. But on the other hand, the film could be construed as racist and Ann’s capture by King Kong can easily be seen as the typical damsel in distress captured by the beast.
In 1976, the film had it’s first remake. Jessica Lange is the woman captured by the beast.
While sticking closely to the plot of the original film, this adaptation takes the plot in a new direction. Instead of being part of a film crew, the members of the expedition are looking for the gorilla. Upon capture, the gorilla is to be part of an exhibit. The film casts a spotlight on environmental issues, especially the abuse of animals who have been captured to be used in zoo like exhibits.
In 2005, Lord Of The Rings director Peter Jackson directed the most recent version of King Kong. Returning to the traditional telling of King Kong, Jack Black plays Carl Denham and Naomi Watts plays Ann Darrow.
While special effects have caught up with the story, Ann is still the damsel in distress. as much as I enjoyed the movie, I wish Peter Jackson and the screenwriters could have written Ann as a stronger character instead of just blindly retelling the story.
Do I recommend them? For the 1933 film, because it is a revered classic, yes. But the female lead in this film, no matter what incarnation is still the typical damsel in distress and for that reason, I have trouble watching them.