Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBBB. USA, 1933. RKO Radio Pictures. Screenplay by James Ashmore Creelman, Ruth Rose, from an idea conceived by Merian C. Cooper, Edgar Wallace. Cinematography by Edward Linden, J.O. Taylor, Vernon L. Walker. Produced by Merian C. Cooper, Ernest B. Schoedsack. Music by Max Steiner. Production Design by Carroll Clark. Costume Design by Walter Plunkett. Film Editing by Ted Cheesman.
This beloved classic is still as fresh and fun as it was in 1933. An expedition to a tropical pacific island happens upon the discovery of a very large gorilla who finds himself drawn to the most famous damsel in distress of all time (Fay Wray), and makes it his mission to have her, come hell or high water. The snooty adventurers think themselves so smart that they actually entrap the gorilla and bring him back to New York for exhibition, not realizing that iron bars cannot keep true love caged forever. Before long he is climbing the Empire State Building (what else is there to do in the Big Apple?), swatting airplanes like annoying flies and making movie history. It’s a superb example of high adventure mixed with strong writing and a smart director’s eye for pace, plus an undercurrent of pathos, combining to make a movie milestone.