Fig. 1In 1933 Merian C. Cooper directed and produced King Kong, directed. At the time, the things people saw in cinema had been nothing particularly spectacular bar a couple of notable pieces, what they saw on the screen was commonly of things seen in the real world.
King Kong set to smash rhea expectations, by bringing the viewer a spectacle of unbelievable adventure and creatures you'd see ony in your nightmares, infact infamously a scene was left out of the final film due to it being deemed too graphic for cinema goers of the 1930's, and then the scene was lost to the world afterwards, never to be viewed again, until Peter Jackson attempted to remake the scene in his 2005 adaptation of the film " There's disagreement over why a scene of crew members being eaten by a giant crab and a huge spider was deleted. Some say it was cut for reasons of pacing; others because a test audience found it too gruesome. The scene was restored in the 2005 remake by Kong aficionado and Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson." (Boeder, N/A)
For a film made in 1933 though, the special effects would have been ground breaking, the film uses a kind of, pre Ray Harryhousen stop motion to animate the various monsters and death scenes of the crew, these were done by early stop motion animator Willis O'Brien.
Because of the time this film was made, you have to take certain things into account, for example how this film is at various points racist and sexist, it was a different world and views on these subjects were not as diverse as today. But fundamentally this is a hidden story about sexual tension and the attraction to the idea of the large, powerful, and exotic male figure, and it's lust and dominance over the idealistic image of the blonde white female. "Aside from the sexual aspect implicit in the question of race, there’s the more direct, and somewhat delirious, sexual imagery in the film. The ape often functions as a most appropriate anthropoid symbol of “lower,” “animal” instincts. In this case we have a giant ape (literally a huge, hairy monster) and his unrestrained, headlong pursuit of a “blonde,” that archetypical Hollywood sex-object, ending on top of the world’s foremost phallic symbol. The sexual theme touches on the standard racist myth of the black male’s exaggerated sexual potency, and the complementary notion of his insatiable desire for white women." (Rosen, 1975)
To really watch this film and engage you must remember, without this film and the others to follow, the big budget summer block buster would not exist today, this fil exploded the expectations of the audience and ever since the demand to increase the "wow" factor through visuals has increased over the last eighty odd years, bringing us to where we are today.
(This remarkable film received no Academy Awards nominations - it would have won in the Special Effects category if there had been such a category. The film contained many revolutionary technical innovations for its time (rear projection, miniature models about 18 inches in height, and trick photography, etc.), and some of the most phenomenal stop-motion animation sequences and special effects ever filmed" (unknown)
Laurie Boeder - http://classicfilm.about.com/od/earlysciencefiction/fr/King_Kong.htm
David N. Rosen - http://www.ejumpcut.org/archive/onlinessays/JC06folder/KingKong.html