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Tuesday, June 04, 2013

The Most Dangerous Game

This is Zaroff the guy who was the first to say, "I hunt the most dangerous game of" in the 1932 film The Most Dangerous Game
Movie Review
The Most Dangerous Game (1932)
 d. Ernest B. Schoedsack & Irving Pichel
Criterion Collection #46

  The Most Dangerous Game was a welcome respite after the slow-moving, elegaic & Iranian language Taste of Cherry.  The Most Dangerous Game was the movie made by the group who would make King Kong the very next year, and even features King Kong leading lady Fay Wray playing another damsel in distress.

  Prior to watching this movie I knew of it mostly by pop culture references made in tv shows like the Simpsons.  Who can't imagine Simpsons character/Arnold Schwarzenegger parody Rainer Wolfcastle gravely intoning, "I will hunt the most dangerous" in his faux Austrian parody accent?

Fay Wray- sexy pre code babe

  But, it actually is a film- this film- and it does tell the story of an insane Russian count living in an old Portugese castle in the Pacific who does, in fact, hunt the most dangerous game... that game being man.  His foil is leading man Joel McCrea,  but it's hard too take your eyes away from Count Zaroff, who turns in a crazy Russian bad guy for the ages.  The impact is heigtened by the less-then-subtle camera techniques and a score that litereally goes bonkers every time the film makers are trying to hint at something.

  There is one scene where Zaroff is talking to Fay Wray and she is standing at the top of a lengthy stair case, and he is standing beneath, and he says something menacing, and the camera zooms in- it has to be- 50 feet, across the room to focus in on his menacing expression.  It comes off as corny in 2013, but only because filmmakers have been using the same technique for almost a hundred years.

  The action sequences have the same clumsy, stop-motion quality that they have in King Kong but it doesn't detract from an enjoyable, and brief (The Most Dangerous Game is only an hour long) viewing experience.  It's certainly more fun then Taste of Cherry.

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