The Most Dangerous Game

  • 1932
  • Movie
  • NR
  • Adventure, Thriller

This is a grim and morose film with strong undertones of sadism and, toward the end, brutality. It is also a genuinely frightening film involving Banks as a mad Russian count who lords over a mist-enshrouded island and waits like a vicious spider for wayward ships to wreck themselves on the dangerous reefs surrounding his sinister domain. One of the sinking...read more

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This is a grim and morose film with strong undertones of sadism and, toward the end, brutality. It is also a genuinely frightening film involving Banks as a mad Russian count who lords over a mist-enshrouded island and waits like a vicious spider for wayward ships to wreck themselves on the dangerous reefs surrounding his sinister domain. One of the sinking ships delivers up flotsam in the form of McCrea, Wray, and Armstrong, who are, at first, warmly welcomed to Banks's lavish estate. But slowly, as Banks describes his passion for hunting the wild beasts on the island, he begins

to finger a scar on his forehead, one caused by a lion. Before they can realize their horrible situation, the shipwrecked survivors are compelled to flee into the thorny wilderness of the island with their host hunting them as he would animals, armed with bow and arrows, to give them a sporting

chance. With Banks are his henchmen and a pack of the most vicious dogs ever unleashed in any film. Directors Schoedsack and Pichel dwell on the hunt, showing the victims fleeing madly through the brush and forests, narrowly missing death at the claws of wild animals or plunging into bottomless

gorges. The hounds are shown in quick closeups that are terrifyingly abrupt, and telescopic shots cutting from the hunter to the hunted heighten the tension. Banks is relentless in his pursuit, crazily blowing his hunting horn and drawing his bow with an accuracy that proves deadly. He finally

meets the grim fate he has designed for the others, plunging to his death while his own bloodthirsty hounds close in on him. There are wonderful atmospherics to this film--the count's looming, black castle, the primeval forests of the island--the same kind of environment producers Cooper and

Schoedsack would create for their horror masterpiece, KING KONG, a year later. The studio thought that showing some decapitated heads, victims of Banks's unnatural hunts, might upset viewers, so these scenes were later cut. Wray, Armstrong, and Steiner, who composed the eerie score, would all be

effectively used in KING KONG. The dark theme of this movie would be employed in countless films to come, as well as in radio and television programs. RKO would remake this film as A GAME OF DEATH and United Artists would explore the idea in RUN FOR THE SUN.

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  • Rating: NR
  • Review: This is a grim and morose film with strong undertones of sadism and, toward the end, brutality. It is also a genuinely frightening film involving Banks as a mad Russian count who lords over a mist-enshrouded island and waits like a vicious spider for waywa… (more)

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