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Classic Movie Characters: King Kong

King Kong

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Classic Movie Characters: King Kong

Classic Movie Characters: King Kong

In real life King Kong was only 18 inches tall; stop-motion animation was so crude at the time that you can see the creature’s “fur” shifting now and then—fingermarks, literally, of his creator, Willis O’Brien.

Nevertheless, the first Kong has something today’s CGI masters are hard-pressed to give their monsters: a soul. Kidnapped and forced into servitude, finally emerging defiant, the giant ape reveals facets of a very full personality, making us palpably understand the impossible-to-resist urge to protect one’s mate—even when the “mate” is as size-inappropriate and unwilling as Fay Wray.

King Kong 1933

Defining Moment: High atop the Empire State Building, the beast risks everything for his beauty.

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