The first film to make me cry
I thought long and hard about how to utilise this small space within the new CS Mag. Rather than review anything new, I've decided to take it back to the very beginning, to the movies that made me fall in love with film on the whole. You can consider this column a love letter to the films that made me who I am today - the ones that frightened, comforted, excited, upset - and taught me about the world and experiences light years beyond my own.
Today: the first film to make me cry. We'll start light.
I was an odd kid. Not a Disney girl by any stretch and I worried secretly that there was something wrong with me when films like Bambi didn't elicit the reactions I recognised then as 'normal'. As my friends and our adult chaperones sniffled into their sleeves while Bambi suffered unimaginable loss (*spoiler*) - I remained dry eyed. This changed when I first saw a little old film called King Kong (1933).
This film opened the water gates, somehow moulded my future attitude to the underdog and ignited a lifelong obsession with Creature Features (which shows zero signs of abating). Also, quite likely, influenced my taste in men.
I'm sure we all know the story of King Kong and by now but in case: A filmmaker and his crew visit a tropical island where they intend to shoot footage for their current movie. Here they stumble across a COLOSSAL (and very cute) ape who forms a crush on the film's lead actress. Sadly, seeing dollar signs before his eyes, the Director captures and transports ol' Kong back to the Big Apple with a view to publicly exhibiting him. What could go wrong?
Unfortunately, things don't end well for Kong, and this is where my tears come in. Even at that young age - around 8 - I could identify the unfairness of it all. Of how man had the audacity to enter Kong's world and tear him from the only home he'd ever known. And, how outwardly, Kong was a gargantuan beast with pure animal instincts - at heart he just wanted what all of us want – a bit of love and understanding. None of which he ends up with - and that's the heartbreak of it all - he didn't hurt a fly until the flies came for him.
Because of King Kong I will never stop rooting for the underdog - in every competition, every film, in life - I will always put my money on the dark horse because who doesn't want to see them come good?
Kong has now popped up in many iterations since and I honestly love him every time - but the OG will always be my favourite. I sometimes wish I could go back to our first meeting – Kong in black & white, batting down helicopters from the top of the Empire State - and me, sneakily watching on the TV after everyone else was in bed, sniffling into my nightie. Normal, finally.