King Kong (1933). Directed by Merian C. Cooper and Ernest B. Schoedsack. Starring Fay Wray (as Ann Darrow), Robert Armstrong (as Carl Denham), and Bruce Cabot (as Jack Driscoll). Special effects by Willis O’Brien. Musical score by Max Steiner.
King Kong is an adventure film about a director (Carl Denham) who enlists a down-and-out actress (Ann Darrow) to join a crew of men and sail to a mysterious island location, where he plans to make a film. He eventually tells his crew that the people who live on Skull Island, his destination, confine themselves to one part of the island, separated from the remaining territory by a large and ancient wall. It is not immediately clear what lives beyond the wall, but Denham plans to film it. We soon learn that the natives use the wall to enclose a monstrous, eighteen-foot-tall gorilla, whom they call Kong.
Early on in the film, Denham and his crew observe that the ancient forefathers … Read the rest
I recently had the opportunity to view the 1930 Eddie Cantor musical comedy Whoopee!, and while I cannot recommend watching it in its entirety (due to its not being a fine example of the genre and its extensive racism), I must say that there is something very interesting about the way it was filmed. I am talking about the two-strip Technicolor process that it and more than 35 other full-length feature films employed between the years of 1929 and 1931, when Hollywood was aggressively experimenting with techniques to maintain and bolster movie attendance in the early days of sound film.
During this period, musicals were the novelty of the moment, and Hollywood produced them in abundance, although audiences quickly overdosed on them. Whoopee! boasts a number of still-recognizable songs, such as Eddie Cantor’s performances of the suggestive “Makin’ Whoopee” and the tamer “My Baby Just Cares for Me.” There is also dancing, with a chorus of cowboys and cowgirls … Read the rest