la beauté tué la bête
This quote is presented as the first image of the classic 1933 film King Kong.
And the prophet said: “And lo, the beast looked upon the face of beauty. And it stayed its hand from killing. And from that day, it was as one dead.” – Arabian proverb
This is the story of Kong, a giant ape, who is taken by millionaire entrepreneur Carl Denham from his island home in southeast Asia to New York City where he is billed by Denham in a Hollywood-type spectacle as the “The Eighth Wonder of the World.”
Kong has previously been smitten with the beauty of Ann Darrow (Fay Wray) on the island. Now in New York and restrained by steel bands and chains, Kong escapes and rampages through the city looking for his femme fatale. Finding her, he grabs her from her hotel room and scales the Empire State Building. He places Ann on a ledge and four bi-planes attack him shooting at him while Ann watches from the ledge. Kong is able to destroy one plane, but mortally wounded, eventually falls to his doom, 102 flights below.
In the last lines of the film, a police lieutenant and Carl Denham discuss Kong’s demise.
Police Lt.: Well, Denham, the airplanes got him.
Carl Denham: Oh no, it wasn’t the airplanes. It was beauty killed the beast.
The line is often erroneously quoted as “t’was beauty killed the beast.”