77 years after its initial release, King Kong remains an outstanding film and one of the most exciting motion pictures ever made. While some may consider them "crude" today, the fact is that many of the stop-motion effects by Willis O'Brien and company are still eye-popping and extremely effective, with Kong himself being a wonderful creation -- both playful [flapping the cracked jaw of a defeated T Rex with amusing curiosity] and extremely dangerous, to say the least. The picture is fast-paced, intense, and at times quite disturbing. (You can feel sorry for Kong if you want to; the one who gets my sympathy is that poor terrified woman who's grabbed out of her bed in the hotel and dashed to the ground -- not to mention all of the big ape's other victims]. Max Steiner's excellent score imbues the film with atmosphere, as do the elaborate sets, beautiful matte paintings, and other FX work. All in all, King Kong is a kind of epic tragedy for all concerned. This is still the best version of the story bar none. NOTE: You can read more about this and other monster movies in Creature Features: Nature Turned Nasty in the Movies.
Verdict: Cinematic and magical. ****.