We gave it a C
Thrown together and released just months after King Kong became a monster hit, this misbegotten sequel by the same creative team, stumbles pitifully through its scant 70-minute running time. More than half of The Son of Kong ticks by before hambone producer Carl Denham (Robert Armstrong) arrives back on Skull Island with a new ingenue in tow (charming Helen Mack), searching for treasure to pay off the property damage inflicted by Kong the First.
This time Denham finds a cuddly, 12-foot vanilla-haired gorilla, which he immediately takes to be Kong’s offspring. (If that’s so, where’s Mama? Gone to stomp home-wrecker Fay ray?) ”Say,” Denham exclaims, ”can he scrap — just like his old man!” The truth is, Son‘s not fit to play third or even fourth banana to its predecessor, thanks to a ludicrous screenplay that largely aims for laughs, most of which come at poor Kong Jr.’s expense. The stop-motion animators have him scratch his head and blink constantly, like a sheepish, er, apish Stan Laurel, and composer Max Steiner accompanies the simian’s gestures with mocking instrumental whinnies. It’s an approach that was clearly meant to build audience sympathy, but it plays more like child abuse.