Movie Title: The Most Dangerous Game
Genre: Action, Adventure, Thriller
Director: Irving Pichel and Ernest B. Schoedsack
Writer: James Ashmore Creelman (from the O.Henry prize winning collection story by Richard Connell)
Starring: Joel McCrea, Fay Wray, Robert Armstrong, Leslie Banks, Noble Johnson, Steve Clemente, William B. Davidson, Oscar 'Dutch' Hendrian
Review: After a ship crashes into a reef, Rainsford (Joel McCrea), the lone survivor finds himself washed ashore on a mysterious island. He discovers a creepy manor and its owner, the doubly-creepy Count Zaroff (Leslie Banks), along with a brother and sister (Fay Wray and Robert Armstrong) from a previous shipwreck. Soon these castaways learn that their shipwrecks were no accidents and they are there to be hunted for sport. After all, man is the most dangerous game!
Here's another pre-code gem from 1932. The Most Dangerous Game is a dark, moody adventure story that thrills and certainly chills viewers with its shocking surprises.
The cinematography certainly emphasizes the creep-factor of Count Zaroff and his house of horrors. And Max Steiner's score really adds a layer of suspense and excitement to this harrowing tale.
During this viewing I came to the realization that Joel McCrea's Rainsford is most likely one of the very first action heroes in the movies. He's tough, cunning, and flawed. We identify with him and Fay Wray's Eve as they try to survive. The action may not be up to today's standards, but it does have some tense moments, impressive stunts, and thrills that many future films will definitely imitate.
The Most Dangerous Game is definitely one of those classics that needs to be seen, and seen in glorious black and white; there's some colorized versions on DVD. Blasphemy!!! I can't recommend this one enough. It's scary, thrilling, and more entertaining than the most big budgeted action pictures that you'll find at the multiplex these days. This is certainly a game that you won't mind playing.
Fun Fact: This film was released before the Hays Code was widely enforced. As a result both Joel McCrea and Fay Wray were able to get away with wearing relatively little clothing in comparison to other films of the era. Within a few years, however, the film was considered indecent and too revealing. It was barred from re-release and was not shown publicly for several decades.