King Kong (1933)
In “King Kong” movies, especially the 1933 version, Blacks are depicted as subhuman, or primate. In this film, Blacks didn’t even have a distinct way of communicating, only grunting and growling. There are also underlying racist comparisons between King Kong and Black men. King Kong was forcibly taken from his land and brought to the United States in chains. He breaks free then meets his demise due to his insatiable desire for a white woman.
Variety thought the film a powerful adventure.
The “Mandingo” plot is very simple. Mandingo has a relationship with the wife of a plantation owner who accuses him of rape—a crime for which he was killed in a vat of boiling water. Some observers believe this movie, like “King Kong,” was made to warn Black men to stay away from white women.
Movie critic Robin Wood was enthusiastic about the film, calling it “the greatest film about race ever made in Hollywood.” Roger Ebert on the other hand despised the film and gave it a “zero star” rating.