Man versus Beast

         Merian C. Cooper and Ernest B. Schoedsack’s King Kong (1933) was a great film that showed how a woman’s beauty can change a man’s character. From the simple boatman to a ghastly gorilla monster, both fall in love with beautiful blonde, Ann Darrow (Fay Wray). This action- filled (for its time) adventure can also be compared to the traditional fairy tale Beauty and the Beast.

         The romance begins on a ship heading to a foreign island. Jack “John” Driscoll (Bruce Cabot) reports to Ann that she does not belong on a ship and will simply be in the men’s way. He will not ever fall in love and thinks that women are just silly. However, a friendship grows between the two, and he becomes extremely protective of her being the only female on a ship full of men. Later, he admits that he has fallen in love with her. When she comes up missing, Driscoll is the first to find her and the only one to survive rescuing her. This shows that love and push someone to know ends to protect somebody. Driscoll battles against a dinosaur and a water-monster before he finally reaches Ann, freeing her from the monstrous gorilla.

         This monstrous gorilla, however, also cares for Ann. With her curled blonde hair and delicate white skin, she is far from what Kong normally sees. He realizes she is special, and he must take care of her. He holds her safe and protects her from other monsters, battling also a dinosaur, like Driscoll, and a giant snake that tries to get Ann.

         Both Driscoll and Kong want to protect Ann. Although, it is difficult for Ann and Driscoll to see because of Kong’s size (and of course, his sharp teeth), it is apparent to the viewers that Kong does not want to harm Ann. It is especially obvious near the end that, when photographer snap a shot of Ann, Kong believes the flashes from the cameras are hurting her. He becomes outraged and breaks out of his cage, whereas before, he was content in the cage.

         This movie can be compared to the old traditional fairy tale of Beauty and the Beast. Where a Beast falls in love with a pure woman and holds her hostage in her castle until she eventually loves him too. Although, the details are different, I feel the same idea exists here. In both stories, the beast/gorilla realizes that the girl (Belle/Ann) is unique and special. There are several different versions of both King Kong and Beauty and the Beast, but all present this similar idea.

         King Kong is a touching film, in which the viewer, at times, may even feel sorry for Kong and his love for Ann. He loves her as Driscoll loves her; however, Kong cannot compare to a real man. With his appearances and animal-like ways, as with Beauty and the Beast, it is almost impossible to love such an animal… at first.

Chelsie Taylor

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