“You’re a big game hunter, not a philosopher. Who cares how a jaguar feels?”
“Perhaps the jaguar does,” observed Whitney.
The Most Dangerous Game, by Richard Connell
I am an avid reader and listener of James Patrick at CinemaShame . It’s a great website with a concept I can really wrap my teeth around, as I have mentioned before. So I won’t get into that today, but do visit, also on Twitter @CinemaShame. I also have a Twitter account separate from the one where I write my poems which is So Long Holly @movielovebogart.
This year there are monthly prompts at Cinema Shame, and May was no exception, with a buddy prompt, whereby we each hook up with a pal and share our all-time favourite movies, and they choose one from the list that they have not seen before. In this case, I hooked up with Eric Jones at Deacon’s Den, another blog worthy of a read. I get a kick out of his reviews, especially movies I have not seen yet. Many are not in my ‘wheelhouse’ as they say, so they also expand my horizons some. Eric read one of my favourite films, if not my number one fave, The Third Man. His review is live now on his blog.
The film I watched at Eric’s prompting was The Most Dangerous Game from 1932. My first thought as I looked over the IMDB.com listing was ‘how did I never hear about this movie?’ I suppose like most things, it all comes down to money and advertising.
They packed a powerful punch into an hour in The Most Dangerous Game. The film is directed by Irving Pichel and Ernest B. Schoedsack.
There’s Joel McCrea
and a cute brunette Fay Wray.
There are several items in this film often considered tropes in the old style of horror–
such as a mute butler
a ship crash with one survivor
and the great Leslie Banks from The Man Who Knew Too Much plays a monstrous-type– not a monster per se, but truly a monstrous human.
In addition, there are both a remote island and a castle, lots of shadows and a big, elegant staircase which allows one to make a memorable, theatrical entrance.
I enjoyed this very much, especially seeing what, as I know now, were also the sets for King Kong which was released a year later.
The pace and tension are good. Great suspense. Even the predictable moments kept my attention. The start was a little slow, but interesting and creepy, plus the movie is just over an hour, so even the slow parts don’t last long. All in all it can be a tad melodramadic with a touch of the absurd, but it is great fun to watch, and some modern directors could learn a lesson about how to tell a story with less moves. Great chess game for both the hunter and the hunted.
“You’ll find this game worth playing,” the general said enthusiastically. “Your brain against mine. Your woodcraft against mine. Your strength and stamina against mine. Outdoor chess! And the stake is not without value, eh?”
The Most Dangerous Game was adapted by a book of the same name by Richard Connell. It’s been suggested that reading the book first is a good thing.
The movie is available for free on YouTube and also in Amazon Prime, for the present moment, but as the internet is transient, that may change.