Written by: Giuseppe Rijitano on August 15th, 2010
Theatrical Release Date: USA, December 22nd, 1933
Director: Ernest B. Schoedsack
Writer: Ruth Rose
Cast: Robert Armstrong, Helen Mack, Frank Reicher, John Marston, Victor Wong, Ed Brady.
DVD released: August 23rd, 2010
Approximate running time: 65 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1 Fullscreen
Rating: PG (UK)
Sound: Dolby Digital Mono English
DVD Release: Odeon Entertainment
Region Coding: Region 2 PAL
Retail Price: £9.99
Set a month after the events of King Kong we catch up with showbiz producer Carl Denham (Robert Armstrong) depressed and eternally pursued by process servers. After the city-wide mayhem and destruction caused by Kong all the injured parties ultimately held him responsible. On the eve of a grand jury indictment Denham decides to take up his old pal Captain Englehorn’s (Frank Reicher) offer to sail the remote seas with him instead of staying to face the music. So off they go to a group of sunburnt islands in the middle of nowhere where they bump into Captain Helstrom (John Marston), the man who originally provided the info on where to find Kong. Helstrom’s a drunk that is suspected of murdering a circus owner on the island and so desperately wants to leave before the magistrate arrives. He spins a bullshit tale of lost treasure on Kong’s island to entice Denham and Eaglehorn to give him a free ride and they all set sail back to Skull Island where they find Kong was not the only one of his kind…….
If you thought that pointless, dodgy, quickly filmed, rush-released, cash-in sequels to surprise hits were a recent Hollywood phenomenon here’s 77 year old proof otherwise. Rushed into production after the success of King Kong this film at least reunited some of the same crew from the first film, namely co-director Ernest B. Schoedsack and writer Ruth Rose and a few members of the same cast. Unfortunately they forgot to bring the action and excitement that made the first film such a huge box-office draw. The first lumberingly tedious 40 minutes of this flick basically consist of Carl Denham striking dejected poses and whining to all and sundry about his problems. By the time we get to Skull Island the film only has about 20 minutes left in it but to be fair they do cram in a triceratops, a giant bear, a dragon, a sea serpent and an earthquake in that last reel. As for Kong Jr (aka Kiko, though he’s never actually called that in the movie) he’s an oddly comical cuddly albino variation of his daddy. Played more for laughs than scares this mini-Kong was surely meant to appeal primarily to small children but what they might make of Kong Jr’s eventual end I can only imagine for it’s a pretty bloody depressing finale, mind you this was Depression-era filmmaking! In the end this is but a footnote to it’s legendary predecessor.
The full frame transfer looks excellent; details are sharp, blacks are solid with good contrast levels and there is very little noticeable grain or dirt/print damage. The mono audio track is clean and clear throughout. For a 77 year old movie this is a very nice presentation indeed.
The only extras are a short photo gallery and an original theatrical trailer.