Genesis A. Jimenez
Professor Abigail Manzella
18 November 2014
Beyond Objectification: Ann Darrow’s real role in King Kong
One of the most intriguing aspects of King Kong is the power of her visual effects. The multiple exposures, processed "shots" and a variety of angles of camera aim to provide viewers of 1930’s an escape from the severe economic depression before World War II. However, in King Kong the representation of the female role as an object of pleasure is somewhat disappointing for our society nowadays. In the entire film, we are not provided by strong traits of Ann Darrow’s personality other than her helplessness and common gender stereotypes. It seemed that Ann ...view middle of the document...
At the moment we met her, she is stealing a fruit, the setting tries to keep her face hidden until Denham grabs her and we get a close-up of his face. That close-up not only enhance the pretty face of Darrow through the use of soft lighting, it also communicates the misery and desperation of Ann Darrow’s character. She’s vulnerable since the first moment we see her. This vulnerability allows Denham to objectify her beauty making of Ann the perfect object to look at and be rescued in the film in order to justify the monster fights and other actions in the film like the climbing of Kong in the Empire state building.
An emphasis on masculine heroics is a defining characteristic of the adventure genre. The lack of complexity in Ann’s character and vulnerability also tends to enhance Jack’s heroism in the movie. She is the object and justification of Jack heroism. The mise-en-scene with the actor’s placement portrays these roles effectively. At the moment Ann and Jack are in the Skull Island; Ann is escorted by Jack all the time. The representation of Ann as a passive woman in this scene helps to achieve in Jack an image of Macho hero.
The first time Jack and Ann appear together clearly shows the effort by Cooper to contrast these two characters through their acting and costumes. His leading role in the deck as the captain of the boat and the juxtaposition with Ann’s innocent attitude reinforces Jack’s masculinity, he is in a position of power. Ann helps him to build his heroism in this scene. The fact that Ann was accidently hit in the scene clearly indicates that Ann doesn’t belong to that place enhancing her vulnerability. It not only portrays a relation to the resistance of having women executing man duties in the 30’s in the US, it also anticipates her victimization later in the film. The stereotypes of gender are clearly being reinforced by Jack attitude towards Ann when he says she should stay below. That scene is another moment where Ann is representing a figure that enhances Jack as the hero of this adventure film.
Right before Ann is kidnaped the audience expectations of romance are satisfied. However, this romance is in function of Ann being the object of desire of Jack. Carl Denham clearly states it in the previous scenes predicting Jack and Ann romance: “The beast was a tough guy too. He could lick the world, but when he saw beauty, she got him.” Ann’s beauty is the principal reason of Jack falling for Ann. She represents his object of desire.
Finally, we obtain this scene of Jack declaring his love to Ann, the motifs before getting to our all adventure setting are revealed. First we have a medium close-up shot of Ann and Jack, while Jack’s feelings are being expressed, the implied proximity is getting closer in order to reveal further Jack motifs of being Ann’s hero. It’s part of building up the expectation and explaining motifs before arriving at the Skull Island.
On the other hand, we cannot forget of the representation of Ann as an...