Son of Kong (1933)

son of kong poster 1933 movie
4.0 Overall Score
Story: 3/10
Acting: 4/10
Visuals: 6/10

Little Kong

Dull story lacks thrills of the original

Movie Info

Movie Name:  Son of Kong

Studio:  RKO Pictures

Genre(s):  Action/Adventures/Sci-Fi/Fantasy

Release Date(s):  December 22, 1933

MPAA Rating:  Not Rated

son of kong monkey band

Well…the special effects on the ape are a real step down

Carl Denham (Robert Armstrong) is in financial ruins. His plan to bring King Kong to New York City has led to destruction and lawsuits. Going on the run with Captain Englehorn (Frank Reicher), Denham finds himself near the island where Kong was captured and learns of a potential treasure from a shifty sailor named Nils Helstrom (John Marston). With a stowaway named Hilda Petersen (Helen Mack), Denham is headed back to Skull Island and is about to discover that Kong wasn’t alone!

Directed by Earnest B. Schoedsack, Son of Kong (or sometimes The Son of Kong) was an action-adventure fantasy. A true sequel to King Kong also released in 1933, the film was met with largely negative reviews and did not fare as well at the theaters.

I always loved King Kong growing up and as a result, I always wanted to see Son of Kong. You never saw it playing on TV, and unlike King Kong, it rarely was something available on other mediums. Finally seeing Son of Kong, I can understand why.

son of kong ape vs bear

The tension is so high you could cut it with….ok, there isn’t very much tension

The story has no pacing. Though it is just over an hour, nothing happens for about the first thirty or forty minutes of the film. It largely concerns Denham ducking creditors, Hilda Peterson and the loss of her father, and the jerky Nils Helstrom. It takes so long to get to the island that you expect a bigger payoff than is given. You simply get Kong with a couple of fights and then the island collapses…the end. It really feels like a wasted opportunity.

The cast of King Kong wasn’t that dynamic and with Fay Wray and Bruce Cabot not returning, you just have Robert Armstrong, Frank Reicher, and Victor Wong as the primary returning cast. Helen Mack isn’t very interesting as the leading female, and it oddly felt that the film was setting up the female reporter and the housekeeper with bigger roles. Noble Johnson and Steve Clemente who played the natives in the first film also return in a small role.

son of kong ape special effects

Oh, Little Kong…you’re such a card!

The real star of the show is the special effects, but even they aren’t as impressive as the original King Kong. “Little Kong” could have been more interesting since he is of a smaller stature, but the story introduces him and promptly kills him. You get a few other dinosaurs and a big bear, but it just doesn’t have the spirit of the original.

Son of Kong is a real waste because it was obviously rushed with the success of King Kong. With a bit more development and more planning, it could have had potential (but of course could have also just ran the risk of rerunning the plot of King Kong). Unless you are a big fan or looking for a new “classic monster movie”, you can probably skip the short adventure of Little Kong. King Kong didn’t return until King Kong vs. Godzilla in 1962.

Related Links:

King Kong (1933)

King Kong (1976)

King Kong (2005)

Skull Island (2017)

King Kong vs. Godzilla (1962)

King Kong Escapes (1967)

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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