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Ernest B. Schoedsack
Robert Armstrong, Helen Mack, Frank Reicher, John Marston, Victor Wong, Edward Brady
Writing Credits:
Ruth Rose

Adventurer Robert Denham returns to Skull Island, where he found the original Kong.

Box Office:
$250 thousand.

Rated NR

Aspect Ratio: 1.37:1
English DTS-HD MA Monaural
Latin Spanish DD Monaural
Castillian Spanish
Latin Spanish

Runtime: 69 min.
Price: $19.98
Release Date: 10/27/2015

• Trailer


Panasonic TC-P60VT60 60-Inch 1080p 600Hz 3D Smart Plasma HDTV; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.


The Son Of Kong [Blu-Ray] (1933)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (October 26, 2015)

After more than eight decades, 1933’s King Kong remains a classic. Its sequel, which also came out in 1933, a mere nine months after the release of Kong? Not so much.

Set a month after the end of the first film, The Son of Kong finds showbiz producer Carl Denham (Robert Armstrong) on hard times. After Kong caused havoc in the original flick, all the injured parties hold Denham responsible. He faces multiple lawsuits and a grand jury investigation.

A destitute Denham reconnects with Captain Englehorn (Frank Reicher), the skipper of the vessel that carted back Kong. Englehorn has his own problems and partners with Denham to run a small shipping operation.

In the middle of nowhere, they encounter Captain Helstrom (John Marston), the sailor who originally told Denham where to find Kong. A sleazy drunk, Helstrom clearly needs to avoid all sorts of authorities, especially when he accidentally kills two-bit circus man Petersen (Clarence Wilson). Petersen’s daughter Hilda (Helen Mack) knows what happened and plans to sic the authorities on Helstrom.

In need of a way out, Helstrom convinces Denham and Englehorn that they missed treasure back on Skull Island. The group heads there, but Helstrom foments trouble along the way and sparks a mutiny among the crew.

In the meantime, they discover that Hilda stowed away on the boat. The remaining crew and Hilda all continue toward Skull Island. There they discover a smaller relative of Kong’s, and the rest of the movie follows what happens to them.

The original Kong succeeded because it was a rip-roaring adventure. It used then-state-of-the-art visual effects along with an exciting story to combine into an action flick that still entertains more than eight decades later.

Everything’s the same for Son… except for the parts about “rip-roaring adventure”, “exciting story” and “action flick that still entertains more than eight decades later”. The effects continue to be good, at least. The same team that did Kong handled Son, so they were equally as convincing.

Too bad the movie makes such poor use of them. People act like cheesy sequels are a modern creation, but junk like Son proves otherwise.

This flick screams to us that it was made on the cheap to quickly capitalize on Kong. Story and characters are thin at best, and the action is radically less memorable. Don’t expect anything as exciting as the T-rex fight or the romp through New York in this tepid affair. Lil’ Kong battles a bear and a big lizard, but he never presents the same level of energy or presence as his pop.

Instead, Son comes across much more in the kinder, gentler vein of Mighty Joe Young. Lil’ Kong is no threat, as he’s just everybody’s pal. Smaller and nicer, he doesn’t offer nearly as appealing a presence as his Old Man.

Funny how such a short movie feels so padded. Son dallies on pointless scenes like those with the stage show run by Hilda and her dad. We get many minutes of those shots even though they do nothing to serve the story or character development.

They exist solely to flesh out Son to feature length, as otherwise it’d be too short for full ticket price. It’s hard to believe a movie that runs less than 70 minutes can feel so long, but that’s what occurs during the tedious Son.

Really, I can’t find much to recommend about The Son of Kong. The visual effects continue to look pretty cool, but the movie seems to serve no purpose other than to make a buck. It lacks drama, personality or excitement and does nothing other than slander the good name of King Kong.

Title footnote: Although everything on the disc’s packaging refers to the movie as Son of Kong, the title card seen in the actual flick calls it The Son of Kong. Because of that, I regard the latter as the proper title.

The Blu-ray Grades: Picture A-/ Audio B/ Bonus D-

The Son of Kong appears in an aspect ratio of 1.37:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. I felt impressed by this terrific transfer.

Given the age of the material and its many effects-based shots, this was very strong image. The film featured many complicated visuals, and those created quite a few possible concerns. Despite those issues, the visuals remained well-rendered.

Sharpness came across well. A few shots seemed slightly ill-defined, and not always for obvious reasons. I understood a loss of resolution in some of the effects shots, but some without any visual complications also looked a wee bit iffy. Nonetheless, the majority of the flick appeared nicely distinctive and detailed, and even the “soft shots” never became a distraction. I noticed virtually no issues with jagged edges or shimmering, and edge enhancement was absent.

Blacks looked tight and deep, and contrast seemed solid. Print flaws never became a factor. Some process/effects shots showed minor defects, and some stock footage – such as an image of a ship – looked messy, but those issues would’ve existed in the original prints. The majority of the movie seemed very clean and didn’t show its age. It’s hard to believe Son was 82 years old, as this transfer presented it awfully well.

In addition, The Son of Kong delivered a more-than-adequate DTS-HD MA monaural soundtrack. Nothing about the audio excelled, but it seemed solid for its age. Speech demonstrated pretty positive clarity and appeared reasonably natural. Some lines were slightly edgy, but the dialogue didn’t seem too thin and shrill.

Effects were acceptably clean and accurate; they didn’t demonstrate much range, but they lacked much distortion and were fairly concise. Music seemed similarly restricted but sounded fine for its age. The score was reasonably full and replicated the source material acceptably. Virtually no background noise cropped up during the movie. For an 82-year-old movie, this was a perfectly solid soundtrack.

How does the Blu-ray compare to the original DVD? Audio was a little warmer and fuller, though don’t expect much, as there’s not a lot that can be done with the 82-year-old source. Visuals showed the more obvious improvements, as the Blu-ray looked cleaner, tighter and more involving. I felt pleased with the movie’s step up in picture quality.

Like the DVD, the Blu-ray skimps on extras. We find only its trailer. That doesn’t surprise me, but I’d still have liked some bonus materials.

A weak follow-up to a classic, The Son of Kong offers almost none of its predecessor’s strengths. The effects continue to impress, but every other aspect of the movie disappoints. The Blu-ray delivers excellent picture and good audio but lacks supplements. Son represents a steep decline in quality after the excellent King Kong.

Purse-strings note: The Son of Kong can be purchased either on its own or as part of a four-movie “Special Effects Collection”. In addition to The Son of Kong, that package includes Blu-ray versions of Mighty Joe Young, Them! and The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms. The “Special Effects Collection” retails for about $25 less than all four movies on their own, so it’s a great deal if you want all four movies – or even just three of them.

To rate this film, visit the original review of SON OF KONG