The Adventure Fantasy Genre In Film: King Kong

1465 words - 6 pages

The adventure fantasy genre in film has its beginnings in the early 20th century, according to Tim Dirks, a writer for the filmsite.org web site
“Adventure films can live vicariously through the travels, conquests, and explorations, creation of empires, struggles and situations that confront the main characters, actual historical figures or protagonists.”
Therefore, the genre has many components, such as a science fiction adventure, a western adventure, a jungle, fantasy and even a romantic adventure. Nineteenth century ideologies were present in these films; patriarchy, heterosexual romance, colonialism, racism were common components in the story plots. Nevertheless, throughout ...view middle of the document...

He has hired a ship and its crew. Among the crew members is first mate John Driscoll, played by Bruce Cabot, who becomes the romantic interest of the female star (IMDb.com).
Cooper developed the idea for his movie during his travels with Schoedsack while looking for exotic footage, according to Ray Morton’s book “King Kong: the history of a movie icon from Fay Wray to Peter Jackson”. They were asked to “apply the natural drama technique to a fiction Film (9).” In New York he started to create the King Kong story. In an interview Cooper stated that the story came to him all together, but most likely it was created in a number of stages (Morton 17). The precursors of the story were probably book about Komodo Dragons, his experiences filming The Fourth Feathers (1929), in which he studied baboons near the filming location, and views of the Empire state building. He included the love story that many critics have argued that his former films had lacked.
The era in which this film was developed presented a very complex social sphere. It was the end of the 1920’s, and when the movie was released in 1933, the US was in the middle of the depression. In Germany, the Nazi Nationalist Party was in power. Residuals of colonialism were strongly present in society. Dagmar C. G. Lorenz, in an article published in the Women in German Yearbook (2007) journal argues that:
“White supremacy and racial segregation had been historically endorsed not only by the German Nazis but by the United States and European colonial powers as well.”
White superiority was present in most American movies at the time. The ideology that the west represented civilization also meant that exotic locations and alternative cultures were primitive and uncivilized. These were visible elements in the narrative of the king Kong film. It’s a clash of two worlds that are in conflict, one dominating the other; white over black, men over women, human over animal, modern over ancient. This is the mentality of the times. In the film, there is no empathy in the narrative for the natives, or for the beast; they are monsters that need to be dealt with. The racial element is present, and there is not even an attempt to disguise it. The natives in the movie appear African, although Skull Island is supposed to be located in the south pacific. There are countless references to racism attributed to the King Kong narrative. Carol Henderson, in an article published in the Journal of Popular Culture, states “King Kong, whose overbearing presence in America’s racial memory signals the largest minstrel icon of its time (1214). The female star is presented throughout the film as the object of desire, with little control in her own life. She is portrayed as a vulnerable, beautiful white woman, who needs to be saved from the beast and nothing more. Joe Bigelow, a writer for Variety magazine in 1933, describes Fay’s role as “a 96-minute screaming session for her, too much for any actress...

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