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It may seem strange that our leading contender for Classic New York movie doesn't primarily take place in New York City. But when you think of the original 1933 "King Kong," do you picture the cliff of Skull Island or the Empire State Building? Our point exactly.
Here's why the ape epic paved the way for characters from Annie Hall to Miranda Priestley to appear on the streets of New York:
Because where else would Kong fit in but on Broadway? Whether he's the main attraction or fleeing his captors, Kong takes his place amongst the current luminaries acting on the Great White Way--Oscar-nominated actresses like Laura Linney, stage giants like Patrick Stewart and singing divas like Patti LuPone.
No wonder most tourists who visit the city make a point of seeing shows, even if they would never go to a musical in Indianapolis or Tucson or Fargo.
Because the popular imagination loves tall shiny buildings. Kong shouldn't have ascended the Empire State Building, but the structure became in its "role" in the movie an indelible symbol of the power of man over beast. Even today tourists line 34th Street, waiting for their chance to ascend what is once again the city's tallest structure.
Because our biggest product is dreams. The character of Carl Denham relies on New York City to provide him with the leading lady who will make his next picture great; Ann Darrow accepts his offer because she wants to do better than she's doing now. Just because Kong didn't wear a leotard doesn't mean he isn't a recent starry-eyed arrival just like the rest of us.
· Classic NYC Movies Map [Jaunted]