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Captain Englehorn
Kretschman Englehorn.png
Englehorn SoK.png
Captain TMK.png
Species Human
Nationality GermanKK33, KoSI, KK05 [1]
Occupation Captain
First appearance King Kong (1933)
Played by Frank ReicherKK33-SoK,
Richard NewmanTMK,
Thomas KretschmannKK05
Captain Englehorn: “That's the thing about cockroaches. No matter how many times you flushed them down the toilet, they always crawl back up the bowl.
Carl Denham: “Hey buddy, I'm out of the bowl. I'm drying off my wings and trekking across the lid.
― Englehorn lamenting Denham's survival in King Kong (2005)

Captain Englehorn, also occasionally spelled Engelhorn, is the German captain of the Venture and a supporting character in the 1933 film King Kong, as well as its 2005 remake. He appears in most King Kong media in much the same role, but he is promoted to a major character in 1933's Son of Kong.


King Kong (1933)

X no sunglasses.PNG “I knew that『plot』wasn't up to much.”
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Please help by editing this section.

Son of Kong

One month after Kong's rampage, Englehorn was the butt of countless lawsuits, second only in blame and priority to Carl Denham, whom he took pity on and offered an escape as a trader in the South Pacific while the government had not yet seized the Venture. Denham accepted, and they sailed with a skeleton crew and very little cargo. They stopped in Dakang, where Denham dragged Englehorn to a show on the island, which Englehorn was thoroughly unimpressed by. The next day at a bar, Denham and Englehorn were approached by Nils Helstrom, who had sold Denham the map of Skull Island. Denham allowed him to come aboard in order to search for the alleged treasure of Skull Island to help them out of their bankruptcy. On board, Helstrom began to tell the crew of the horrors of Skull Island in order to pit them against Englehorn in order to assume command of the vessel, but when he tried to do that, the sailors threw him overboard as well. When they reached the shore, they discovered that the natives blamed them for the destruction caused by Kong on his way through the wall, and they find a rocky shore to land on, where Englehorn, Helstrom, and Charlie, the ship's cook waited for Denham and Hilda, a girl from the show who had stowed away after Helstrom killed her father, to return from their scouting mission. After they were gone for a long time, Englehorn's party went to look for them and found them at a temple, where Denham told Englehorn that he had discovered an infant Kong. They then left to search for food, and were cornered by a Styracosaurus. They waited out their attacker, and left to look for Denham and Petersen. They found them inside a temple with Little Kong. On seeing him, Helstrom ran for their boat, and the others ran after him to prevent him from taking it as an earthquake shook the island. They were forced to leave Denham behind, as he had gone to search the temple for treasure. As they sailed away, they saw Little Kong holding Denham out of the waters as the island sank, and they rescued him before drifting at sea until they were rescued by a military vessel.

The King Kong Show

Captain Englehorn in The King Kong Show
X no sunglasses.PNG “I knew that『plot』wasn't up to much.”
This plot synopsis is missing or incomplete.
Please help by editing this section.

The Mighty Kong

The Captain was hired by famous producer C.B. Denham to sail to an undisclosed location in empty and infamously dangerous waters. The Captain, not wanting to endanger his crew, put it to a vote, and Denham's promise of fame and glory made them agree. On Skull Island, they encountered a tribe of natives which the Captain attempted to communicate with, but they seemed to demand Denham's star Ann Darrow remain, and they ran back to the ship, where Ann was kidnapped. He brought the crew back to the island with guns, and Ann was rescued, and the monster Kong was incapacitated. The Captain attempted to leave immediately, but Denham and Darrow insisted they take Kong with them, and the Captain was forced to comply. His part in the capture of Kong earned him a place in a stage show based on the encounter.

King Kong (2005)

Englehorn was the captain of the tramp steamer Venture, which had signed on to sail to the legendary Skull Island with filmmaker Carl Denham in exchange for one thousand dollars. However, while waiting for the ship's manifest, Denham came to try and get him to haul anchor immediately. Englehorn was not enthusiastic, but was persuaded into taking a check. He congratulated the lead actress Ann Darrow on her bravery for taking the journey. With an unexpected passenger aboard, Englehorn went to the cargo hold to welcome Denham's writer Jack Driscoll aboard. However, he there discovered that Choy had not secured the chloroform as per his orders. He scolded the sailor for this, and made sure he got the job done. They continued to sail until one night Denham told the Captain to turn Southwest, far out of the shipping lanes. Englehorn was unwilling to risk his men only to find nothing, but Denham persisted, and Englehorn gave in. However, en route he received a telegram mandating that he divert to Rangoon and turn Carl over to the authorities. Carl attempted to further bribe Englehorn for one more week, but all the Captain wanted was for the director to get off his ship. However, as he had Benjamin Hayes maneuver the ship, all navigational equipment malfunctioned. He told Hayes to navigate with the stars, only to learn that no stars were visible, and they had entered a massive patch of fog. Despite Hayes' advising him to stop the ship, Englehorn frantically tried to maneuver out of the bad weather, but the seas grew more and more rough and waves scuttled the ship against a gigantic carving in the water. The crew tried to repair the ship, and in the morning while he checked with Hayes on the damage, they were brought to the deck by Jimmy who showed them that Denham had taken a whaler to shore. Englehorn made plans to leave as soon as the ship was repaired with or without Carl Denham. However, as they continued working they heard Ann scream and a massive roar, causing Englehorn and others to sail to the island, where they rescued the film crew from angry natives. Back on the ship, Englehorn gave the order to throw everything overboard to lighten the ship. However, just after getting the ship free, Driscoll informed him that Ann had been kidnapped, so Englehorn organized a rescue mission to the beach, armed with machine guns hidden onboard. However, after scaring off the natives they discover that she was taken into the jungle, so Englehorn gives Driscoll sixteen sailors, supplies, and 24 hours to get her back.

Well before their imposed time limit, Englehorn took a group of sailors into the jungle to rescue the others at the insistence of Bruce Baxter. They found them cornered at the bottom of a pit being attacked from gigantic bugs on all sides. Englehorn fired at them from above, and bade them to climb out while he held them off. With the insects gone, Englehorn was bitter at Denham's survival, but was quickly propositioned into turning a profit from the voyage by capturing Kong alive. When Jack and Ann returned to the village, Kong was hot on their heels, and Englehorn and his crew were ready for him. They brought him down with grappling hooks, and Englehorn threw a chloroform bottle to incapacitate him while the crew kept him close to the noxious cloud with nets. Darrow however, was not keen on this development and screamed for them to stop, causing Kong to struggle more. The Captain ordered her to get out of his sight shortly before the ape broke free and Englehorn called for abandonment of the operation. They ran to the whalers with Kong fast approaching, and Englehorn untied the boats and jumped in before Kong could get too close. Kong was able to destroy the other whaler, and to defend his crew, Englehorn shot a harpoon that hit Kong in the leg. He prepared to shoot again, but Denham hit Kong with another chloroform bottle before the beast lost consciousness. Englehorn then helped to bring Kong to New York.

Video games


King Kong (1932)

Artwork of Englehorn from The Illustrated King Kong

Captain Englehorn was the skipper of the Wanderer, and accompanied Carl Denham on many of his film outings. On one such occasion, they traveled for six weeks to the uncharted Skull Mountain Island. On arriving, they took longboats to explore the shore, and Englehorn noticed a gargantuan wall that resembled one he had seen in Angkor. Denham attempted to film a native ceremony, and the party was discovered. Luckily, Englehorn spoke a similar dialect to the natives, and they were able to work out an accord. The natives wanted to trade six of their women to the crew in return for Denham's lead actress Ann Darrow, to make her the bride of Kong. Englehorn, however was able to buy them time by saying they would negotiate in the morning. Back on the Wanderer, Englehorn, his first mate Jack Driscoll, Denham, and Darrow discussed what Kong might be, but that night the natives kidnapped Ann, and Englehorn called for a siege of the island. Englehorn himself and twelve crewmen waited in the village and made camp while Denham, Driscoll, and another twelve went into the jungle to find Ann. Two days later, Denham returned and told of the horrors that lay beyond the wall, and that every crewman save for Driscoll, who was following Kong, had been killed. The sailors decided that Ann was worth the risk, and prepared to head out with Denham, but Englehorn intervened. He talked Denham into waiting to return to the jungle, as there were still unknown dangers, and if they headed out at that time it would be dark when they reached Jack's trail. Denham reluctantly agreed, but just as the party was preparing to head out, Jack and Ann were seen approaching the gate. This so astonished Englehorn, that he could not help but say Gott se Danke!, a phrase in his native German: a language he had long since abandoned. While talking to Driscoll and Denham, he remarked that it was a miracle Ann had survived, as from the impression he got from conversing with the villagers, Kong had never shown the same amount of care he had shown to Ann with their women. At that time, Kong caught up to them and crashed through the gates, which Englehorn's men were trying to seal to prevent his entrance. Kong tore the village apart looking for Ann, but Denham was able to knock him out with a gas bomb, and coerced Englehorn into constructing a raft to take Kong back to New York.

King Kong: The Island of the Skull

One year before the events of the 2005 film, Englehorn and his ship were hired by Carl Denham to sail to the Baffin Islands in search of a mythical giant orca named "Killer". With Hayes at the wheel, and him standing with Denham on the violently swaying deck, Englehorn remarked that he was getting too old for such rough waters. After the weather got too rough to sail in, they stopped the boat at an island where Carl intended to get some footage. While Denham and his crew were away, Englehorn stayed with the ship until they came back with a wounded man. Englehorn then took the ship to Halifax, Nova Scotia to get him to a hospital. After the operation Englehorn took the ship back to New York. After a week or so, Denham went back to Englehorn to take the Venture back out to get more on location footage.

King Kong (2005)

While waiting for the ship's manifest, Englehorn was approached by Denham, demanding that they leave immediately. After he shared a brief word with new actress Ann Darrow, admiring her bravery for the willingness to voyage to Skull Island, Denham berated Englehorn. Evidently he had not told her their destination. Denham then offered Englehorn an additional thousand dollars in order to leave early, which the Captain begrudgingly accepts, and the ship set sail just as police arrived on the pier to arrest Denham. Quickly after raising anchors, the Captain went into the cargo hold to express his regret at the lack of a cabin for Jack Driscoll, and to help him find an animal enclosure to his liking. However, the ship rolled in the water, causing some bottles of chloroform to fall on the floor. Englehorn then grew angry at the sailor Choy, whom he had ordered to lock them up. All the same, Englehorn continued taking the boat to the hidden Skull Island. However, first mate Benjamin Hayes noticed that the ship's heading would take them out of the safety of the shipping lanes, and when Englehorn avoided his questions, Hayes asked how much he had been paid to sacrifice the safety of his crew. Englehorn promptly dismissed the man from the cabin. As the voyage went on, Englehorn worked with Denham to plot a proper course to the island, and he was yelled at by Bruce Baxter, Denham's star, after shipmate Jimmy had defiled his movie posters with a permanent marker. However, a cablegram came in reporting that Denham was a wanted man, and that as such the bank could not honor his check, along with instructions to leave him in Rangoon, Burma. Englehorn immediately ordered the ship to turn around, but Denham came to plead his case. He offered Englehorn anything he wanted, but all he wanted was the man off his ship. However, Hayes found navigating impossible in the fog, and so the Captain ordered a check of their depth, and found that they were shallowing just before Jimmy called out that he could see a wall. Englehorn took the wheel and tried to get the ship out of the rocks, but they ran into a hidden reef, and tore a hole in the hull. Work began to seal it, but when Englehorn went to inspect the damage in the morning, progress was limited, and Jimmy came to tell he and Hayes that Denham had gone ashore. Englehorn was unconcerned, and glad to be rid of the man, claiming they would sail with or without him, until they heard Darrow scream from the distant shore, and a roar reply from the jungle. Englehorn, Hayes, and some other sailors went to rescue the crew to discover that one sailor and the sound producer had been killed, and Denham had survived, to the Captain's dismay. On returning to the ship, he ordered everything overboard to lighten the ship enough to get it off the rocks. However, as Choy was about to throw Denham's camera overboard, the director stopped him, and Englehorn had to intervene. Blaming Denham's film for the situation, the Captain tried to wrestle it away from him, but a punch in the gut, and the ship's floating off the rocks stopped him. Just as Hayes began steering out, Driscoll revealed that Ann had been kidnapped, and the crew went ashore to rescue her. Their guns frightened the villagers away, but they were too late to save Darrow, who had been taken by what Denham described as an ape. Englehorn reminded him with distaste that they were mounting a rescue mission when he saw him loading his camera equipment before giving the mission 24 hours before they hauled anchor.

However, Englehorn could not abandon his sailors, and went into the jungle after them with another party. He found them massacred at the bottom of a pit with Jimmy the only survivor of his crew. He rescued them from the bottom, bitter that Denham had survived. However, the filmmaker proposed that they capture Kong alive. When Ann and Jack ran through the gate, Englehorn and his men were ready to bring Kong down. The capture went according to plan until Englehorn ordered Ann to get out of the beast's sight. Shortly after that, Kong broke through their net and began chasing her to the ship. The Captain was then prepared to abandon the operation, and opened fire on Kong before Denham insisted he stop, before finally incapacitating the beast, which the Venture escorted back to the States.


King Kong: The 8th Wonder of the World

While docked in New York City, Carl Denham came aboard offering Englehorn another thousand dollars to set sail early, Englehorn reminded Denham that he had not yet paid the first thousand, but left port anyway. Over the next few weeks the Venture sailed to Skull Island, where Englehorn only narrowly avoided ramming the ship into the rocks, which were everywhere on the island's treacherous coast, in a thick fog. The next morning, Englehorn and Hayes checked the ship for damage before going ashore to save Denham and the rest of his filming crew from an attack by the island natives. On returning to the ship, Englehorn ordered that everyone lighten the ship by tossing all unnecessary cargo overboard, in an attempt to get away from Skull Island as quickly as possible. However, at that time, Denham's writer Jack Driscoll reported that actress Ann Darrow had been taken by the natives. Englehorn swiftly organized an armed assault on the island to get her back, but they were too late, and she was taken by the monster Kong behind the natives' gigantic wall. Englehorn gave some of the party supplies, guns, ammunition, and twenty four hours to find her and return to the wall before he hauled anchor. However, well before the time limit, Englehorn lead some more sailors into the jungle to rescue the original party from a gigantic chasm. As he rescued Denham, he bitterly expressed regret that the filmmaker had not been one of the many who died in the jungle before they had arrived. After rescuing the remaining men, Jack Driscoll climbed up the opposite side of the ravine to continue searching for Ann, despite Englehorn insisting to him that she was dead. Denham however, sided with Jack, and stated to Englehorn that Ann was alive, and when Jack brought her back, Kong would be on her tail, and he proposed that Englehorn use his background in live animal capture to capture the beast. When Kong burst through the Gate at the Wall, Englehorn attempted to incapacitate him with chloroform gas and a net, but to no avail. After ordering a retreat, Englehorn was able to spear Kong in the leg with a harpoon before Carl threw one more bottle of gas, which successfully incapacitated him. Englehorn then was able to transport the beast back to New York.



  • Captain Englehorn is the single most recurring character in the King Kong franchise aside from Kong himself, having appeared in three films as well as the animated series The King Kong Show. An unnamed captain of the Java Queen also appears in the animated film The Mighty Kong.
  • Englehorn has the distinction of being arguably the earliest defined character in the creation of King Kong, having undergone few fundamental changes since Edgar Wallace's earliest drafts of the script. Even his German origin has remained fixed throughout, despite rewrites making him less jovial. He is one of the few characters whose name did not change over the course of development.


This is a list of references for Englehorn. These citations are used to identify the reliable sources on which this article is based. These references appear inside articles in the form of superscript numbers, which look like this: [1]

  1. Christopher Golden (2005). King Kong. Pocket Star Books. p. 44. ISBN 1416503919.


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