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KONGO (1932) wildest pre-code movie of them all?


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I recorded KONGO (1932) off TCM a few weeks ago.


I'm pretty well versed in pre-code. I used to call in sick to work so I could attend the Film Forum pre-code festivals. I've paid mega dollars for bootlegs of unavailable early 30s films.


I think I have to delare KONGO to be the wildest pre-code of them all. I bring it up because they just released it onto the Warner Archive DVD collection, so now it is available for all to see.


Among the attractions:


--a woman burned alive

--drug addiction

--borderline incest

--a man lowered into a pool of leeches

--an operation performed without anesthesia


--human sacrifice



(all washed down with plenty of "oonga-boonga" jungle talk. Dont tune in if you are easily offended)


And from MGM! As square as that studio was, they really did make some subversive films pre-1934.


I was also surprised by how intense and suspenseful the film is, not mention the dark themes the film deals with.


Even more impressive are the performances. Who knew Virginia Bruce could act? She reaches into OF HUMAN BONDAGE territory here, and you will not even recognize Conrad Nagel. And Walter Huston is very, very disturbing reprising the old Lon Chaney role.


Did anyone else catch this film? I hope it gains a modern audience. It certainly deserves it.


Would love to see this shown at the next TCM Film Festival. That audience seems to love pre-code screenings, since they always sell out.

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I see WEST OF ZANZIBAR is coming to TCM in mid August. Perfect! Cant wait to see it.


I sort of forgot about Lon Chaney, but his films are delightfully subversive. I need to see more of them.


One of the waitresses at the bar across the street from me has Lon Chaney tattooed on her arm! And she is only 24!

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  • 7 years later...

I love it! The two versions of this story are both in my #1 top slot. My favorite pre-code plot/premise, anywhere, anytime.

Over-the-top in every way. Hurrah for Lupe Velez, the Mexican Spitfire

Best line in the flick:



Huston to Nagel: "You LIED, eh?"

Nagel: "Yes!"

Huston: "I HATE a liar...!"

Nagel: "So do I!"

(After all HE'S done?!) :lol:

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