25. King Kong (1933) Was The 'Autobiography' Of The Man Who Created Him
"I am King Kong!" co-director/creator Merian C. Cooper once said to a British filmmaker. It was a comparison he might have better made to Carl Denham, the entrepreneurial explorer who brings the giant ape back to civilisation and captivity. Like Denham, Cooper made (silent-era) travelogues from the untamed parts of the globe. His Chang (1927) was shot in the wilds of Siam (now Thailand); Cooper had no qualms about putting his cameraman (and Kong co-director) Ernest B. Schoedsack in danger from a man-eating tiger or stampeding elephants. There was certainly a greater resemblance between Cooper and the actor Robert Armstrong, the actor who played Denham, than there would be later between Peter Jackson (director of the 2005 remake) and Jack Black - though both may have had similarly pudgy knees. Slightly spookily, when Cooper died in 1973, aged 79, his friend Armstrong had predeceased him by just a few hours.