King Kong

Monday, January 27
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1hr 40mins // directed by:Merian C. Cooper, Ernest B. Schoedsack // featuring:Fay Wray, Robert Armstrong, Bruce Cabot

A film crew discovers a giant prehistoric ape and brings him back to New York, where he is shackled and exhibited as “the eighth wonder of the world” before breaking loose and wreaking havoc in the name of love.

Carl Denham (Robert Armstrong), a renowned adventure filmmaker, is forced to search the streets of New York to find a lead actress for a new film he intends to make on a mysterious and uncharted island. He stumbles onto the beautiful but broke Ann Darrow (scream queen Fay Wray). Anxious for work, Ann eagerly accepts Denham’s part and agrees to make the long sea voyage the next morning. Nothing could possibly prepare them for the adventure and peril that lay ahead. Nothing could prepare them for Kong, the colossal gorilla that rules over the island and the giant prehistoric creatures that inhabit it. Though savage, Kong is capable of true tenderness when he falls in love with Ann, leading to tragic consequences.

When King Kong opened at Radio City Music Hall and the RKO Roxy Theatre in New York City, on March 2, 1933 at the height of the Depression, this tale of man vs. beast didn’t seem destined to be a hit. Instead it set box office records. Several sequels and remakes have followed, but none have matched the imagination and craftsmanship, the tragedy and spectacle, of the original, produced and directed by Merien C. Cooper and Ernest Schoedsack. Featuring groundbreaking stop-motion animation by special effects wizard Willis O’Brien and an historic score by composer Max Weiner, King Kong stands as one of the greatest adventure films of all time.

Guest speaker Chris Whittier, DVM, PhD is a veterinarian known for his work in gorilla intervention and conservation. He traces his fascination with gorillas partly to the King Kong movies he watched as a child. Join us before the film as he discusses fictional vs. real gorillas, the state of the world’s gorilla population and his experiences treating wild gorillas in central Africa.


About the speaker

Chris Whittier, DVM, PhD, is Research Assistant Professor and Director of the Master of Science in Conservation Medicine Program at Tufts Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine, and Associate Veterinarian and USAID PREDICT Global Coordinator at Smithsonian’s National Zoological Park. Chris previously completed his PhD and six years working in central Africa as the regional field veterinarian for the Mountain Gorilla Veterinary Project. During that time he was based in Rwanda performing clinical duties as a wildlife veterinarian monitoring and treating wild gorillas in five national parks in Rwanda, Uganda and DR Congo. He also helped establish and manage a captive facility for confiscated orphan gorillas and an employee health program for more than 500 people working with wild gorillas. He was concurrently completing his doctoral research on molecular diagnostics and epidemiology of infectious agents in wild gorillas through the veterinary school at North Carolina State University. Chris is a reviewer for a number of scientific journals and is continuing field veterinary work with gorillas in the Central African Republic, where he delivered the first prophylactic vaccination campaign in wild apes as well as the first outbreak treatment and snare removal of wild western lowland gorillas.