Director: Ernest B. Schoedsack
Genre(s): Adventure, Fantasy
Runtime: 70 minutes
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Released the same year as the original King Kong (1933), this direct sequel is smaller in scale, but is still an enjoyable experience. The plot follows filmmaker Carl Denham (Robert Armstrong), who returns to Skull Island to meet Kong’s young son. He’s a cuter and cuddlier Kong, which goes along with the film’s more comedic and less action-heavy tone. He actually reminds me of the Abominable Snowman from Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (1964).
The Son of Kong, like its predecessor, takes a while to get to Skull Island, but that’s alright. The scenes in the East Indies port of Dakang evoke a strong atmosphere of a small-time, rarely-visited outpost of humanity. Of course, the primary reason to view this flick is for the special effects. They were state-of-the-art for the time, and are still a pleasure to watch. Max Steiner returns to do the musical score, which “quotes” the score from the original on at least one occasion. Overall, this movie seems a bit more intimate with the characters than the first one.
This picture was released during Hollywood’s Pre-Code period (prior to the enforcement of the Production Code), but it lacks any content that could be considered “Pre-Code” in nature…unless you count Baby Kong unintentionally giving the heroes the middle finger for an extended period of time after he injures his hand. The Son of Kong is generally a more kid-friendly movie than its predecessor, although its unexpectedly dark ending sort of negates its value as a family film. If you want to watch a retro gorilla adventure picture with your child, you’re better off with Mighty Joe Young (1949).
The character played by Victor Wong is merely named “Chinese Cook” here in the opening credits, although he’s called “Charlie” approximately five thousand times during the course of the movie. Anyway, The Son of Kong isn’t as good as the original, but that doesn’t mean that it isn’t worth watching. It’s actually quite good. The monster brawls are fun to watch, and it’s a delight to see some of the characters from King Kong return.
My rating is 7 outta 10.