Monday, 15 March 2010

Animator: Willis O'Brien (1886-1962)

Willis O'Brien was a Irish-American motion picture special effects, who used stop-motion to create actions not really possible to do in real life. Alongside with Ladislaw Starewicz, he was a pioneer in this field of animation. He was known of working in many films in Hollywood, such as Lost World (1925) and King Kong (1933).The latter being one of the most famous in the history of Hollywood cinema.

King Kong is a 1933 action film, co-directed by Merian C. Cooper and Ernest B. Schoedsack. Where by the pioneering work of O'Brien, a lot of monstrous fights can be seen. Its plot evolves around a photographer who wants to take the "perfect" picture of these beast that lies on this never visited Island. However, to complete this picture, the photographer has to find a woman to travel with him and pose with the beast, in a tableaux-vivant, in which the photographer likes to call the Beauty and the Beast. When they arrive to the Island, they are not aware what really lies in there, but after seeing this tribal ritual, they start to realise that they just stand inside a trap. Where the Big Kong reigns. Not only they can find, but actually they bring him back to New York to be the center of attention, this and the feeling of not being loved results in King Kong's death.

On one hand, I find King Kong technical side an important step for the history of cinema, because it opened the door for the special effects in films, and it created worlds never seen before, and impossible to portray. However by applying stop-motion, it created more dynamic scenes such as the fight with the dinosaurs, or when Kong attacks the sailors in the log scene. It applied stop-motion in scenes, but also made it interact with live-action footage which by the means of editing and montage created delightful scenes.

On other hand, It is also a good achievement in story-telling, and what such a sad story, I felt so sorry for Kong, who was taken from his habitat, where he lived with a new found love, the woman to be transported to a true jungle full of "rifles" of capitalism, shooting at him from all sides. A love story between Kong and the woman, that resulted in his death.
The latter happening was labeled as " the beauty killed the beast", but in fact it all started where they decided to bring Kong to so "civilized" world.

No comments: