Classic Cinema: King Kong (1933) – By Jason S. Lockard

Monster movies were all the rage back in the early days of cinema! One of the greatest monster movies of all time was 1933’s King Kong featuring our star of the month Fay Wray.

Fay Wray was born Vina Fay Wray on September 15, 1907 on a ranch near Cardston in the province of Alberta, Canada. Her family moved to the United States a few years after she was born; to Salt Lake City in 1912. After moving around Utah they relocated to Hollywood, California, where Fay attended Hollywood High School.

In 1923, at the age of sixteen Wray appeared in her first film a role in a short historical film sponsored by a local newspaper. At that point she was on her way. She would land roles in many silent films. She would work for Universal Pictures and Paramount Pictures than in in 1932 she would co-star in The Most Dangerous game followed by our film of the month, King Kong.

The film tells the story of a gigantic, island-dwelling ape called Kong. When a film crew goes to the tropical island for an exotic location shoot they discovers a colossal giant gorilla who takes a shine to their female blonde star. They capture him and take him back to New York City where he breaks free and wreaks havoc.

Faye continued to star in various films, but in the early 1940s, producers began to call less and less. So in 1942 she retired from acting. Than because of financial difficulties she would have to return. Wray appeared in film roles most notably 1957’s Tammy and the Bachelor and frequently on television including, The Pride of the Family, three episodes of Perry Mason, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, 77 Sunset Strip and The Eleventh Hour just to name a few.

Wray was married three times and had three children. While Fay Wray never achieved an Oscar in her career, she received a star of the Hollywood Walk of Fame and in May 2006, she was honored as the first entertainer to be featured on the Canada postage stamp.

In 2004, she was approached by director Peter Jackson to appear in a small cameo for his remake of King Kong. She declined the cameo claiming the original “Kong” to be the true “King”. Before filming of the remake started, Wray died in her sleep of natural causes on August 8, 2004, she was 96 years old. Two days after her death, the lights of the Empire State Building were extinguished for 15 minutes in her memory.

If you have never witnessed Fay Wray, what are you waiting for pick up one of her films and witness the fair haired beauty in all her glory! Until next month this is Jason S. Lockard reminding you if you want to see a good film check out a classic.

Moral Rating: Mild Violence
Audience: Teens and Adults
Genre: Action Adventure
Length: 100 Minutes
Released: 1933
Our Rating: A