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4.3 out of 5 stars
The Most Dangerous Game (Criterion Collection)
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on September 19, 2012
This review is for the 75th Anniversary Edition of The Most Dangerous Game from Legend Films. This RKO film from 1932 was originally shot at around the same time as the original King Kong, & it was made by many of the same people - Merian C. Cooper, Ernest B.Schoedsack, & it also stars Fay Wray. Many of the same sets were also used in the production. The plot: An evil Russian game hunter traps unsuspecting shipwreck survivors on his remote island and hunts them like animals for sport.
This version has been colorized, but it also features a fully restored black & white version - I am typically NOT a big fan of colorization. However, to produce a color version the producers needed to work from the best source materials available, so the image quality on both is top notch. Ray Harryhaussen oversaw the colorization process & made suggestions. There are tons of extras included, interviews, featurettes, & trailers. Unless you are willing to shell out big bucks for Criterion's excellent release, then this is undoubtedly the best way to go. You've also got the option on how you would like to view the film, I enjoyed both versions.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon July 22, 2011
Since many have written of the awesome, original story. i will comment on the quality of the dvd. i owned a copy before criterion remastered it from the original 35 mm. composite fine-grain master. What a difference! Made in 1932 the transfer is not perfect and has a few flaws, but on the whole this version is worth every penny to get a decent copy of one of the best horror movies ever created based on a short story by Richard Connel. Audio commentary by film historian Brucce Eder. Subtitles added. 63 min. b & w. monoral. 1:33:1 aspect ratio.
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on August 19, 2017
Wish this movie was in colour.
Read the original short story and the film could have been made a bit better but it does the job.
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on April 6, 2018
Agréable surprise.
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on October 26, 2014
Wonderful cast Excellent movie.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon July 20, 2010
A ship full of mysterious characters is interring a harbor that is either misscharted or mislight. We are introduced to them and in two minutes and they are old friends.

A conversation is struck up on the subject of hunting. Bob Rainsford (Joel McCrea) is asked if it is really fare hunt with superior file power and asked if he would change places with the tiger. He philosophically replies, "That is something I will never have to decide... This world is decided into two kinds of people. The hunter and the hunted. I am a hunter and nothing can ever change that."

I will not give you a detailed review of the movie as that is what you will buy it. However after watching once be sure to listen to the Criterion version voice over by xxx and then watch the movie again.

You can tell right off that this is a David O. Selznick picture as he has his name plastered over the credits.
Screen play by James Ashmore Creelman. From a story by Richard Connell.

I found it interesting that many of the actors and the sets will show up in the 1933 version of King Kong.
I also pretty much guesses the story ahead of time. Not because I saw it or read the book. But I saw most of the remakes and know the formula. Believe me this will not distract from this film.
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HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERon November 23, 2006
What if hunting for sport was taken to its extreme?

That's the chilling premise of "The Most Dangerous Game," an adaptation of Richard Connell's story about a madman who hunts other men for sport. It's a taut, tightly-written movie with some wonderfully shocking moments, and a sense of suspense that doesn't let up until the final seconds.

A ship is wrecked on a reef, and her crew and passengers eaten by sharks. Only big-game hunter Bob Rainsford (Joel McCrea) makes it to the shore of a jungle island, where he is welcomed into the palatial home of the bizarre Count Zaroff, who has several guests waiting for a boat back to civilization. Except according to another "guest" Eve (Fay Wray), his guests have a nasty habit of vanishing.

Bob and Eve find out why, when they break into Zaroff's trophy room... and find other humans on display as trophies. Now that they've found out his secret, Zaroff decides to have Bob as his next prey, with Eve accompanying him. If Bob can get away by sunset, they'll both go free. If not...

Surprisingly, "The Most Dangerous Game" was only made because of another movie -- the original "King Kong." The monkey movie shot during the day, and then the sets and actors were used on "Most Dangerous Game" during the night. It certainly accounts for the lush jungle sets and island setting.

That's where the resemblance ends. "Most Dangerous Game" is a more psychological, suspenseful movie, taking a look at what happens when "killer fun" is extended to human beings. It's a bit on the short side -- just over an hour -- but it's stripped of all extra scenes or dialogue. This is raw filmmaking.

While the first half is about the suspense, the second half is what pays off -- a desperate chase through overgrown jungles and misty swamps, trying to outrun Zaroff. It's all the more frightening because they're on a tiny island. The chase climaxes with a shocking fight on a clifftop with a savage hunting dog, but directors Irving Pichel and Ernest B. Schoedsack have a few tricks up their sleeves.

McCrea and Wray do very nice jobs as the clean-cut American stud, and the English rose who seems to be a lot smarter than he is (why is she the only one who notices that the whole setup is strange?). But Satanic-looking Leslie Banks is the scene stealer. The fact that he is barking mad is underscored by his reasonable, pleasant attitude -- Banks is nothing short of brilliant here.

Obviously if you want the best version, Criterion has it. But for those on a budget, the Alpha print is surprisingly serviceable -- clear sound, clear picture, no static or skips. It's gotten a little dark over time (well, it was filmed at night), but that can be fixed by adjusting the brightness of the screen.

This short, intense movie is a brilliant piece of work, and may be eve more relevant now than it was in 1932. Thrilling, dark and suspenseful.
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on September 4, 2007
this is an old movie(1932).it's about an insane count who lives in a
castle on an island.every once in a while,a ship wreck occurs on the
island(not accidentally)and the count invites the survivors in,treating
them as guests at first.then,he drops the bombshell.he is the hunter
and they are the hunted.he hunts the people for sport,usually killing
them.i thought the movie dragged a bit in spots,but not enough to quit
watching.Leslie Banks plays the count,and he is definitely creepy,but
at times i think he over exaggerated the creepiness.Faye Wray is in the
movie as a female prisoner.she definitely knows how to scream,but i
also think she overdid it at times.after a while,i found it somewhat
annoying.the music is by Max Steiner and i thought it was very elevated the tension,in my opinion.the movie is
co-directed by Ernest B.Schoedsack(who directed "King
Kong"(1933)).Merian C.Cooper("King Kong")is an associate producer on
the film and David O.Selznick(also from "King Kong")is the executive
producer.if you liked the 1933 version of "Kink Kong",you will probably
like this movie.many of the same sets are utilized in this has
the same look and feel to it.liked King Kong a bit better than this
movie,maybe because of the might also like "Surviving the
Game" and "Hard Target",both of which are contemporary versions(though
"Surviving the Game" is more similar)of"The Most Dangerous Game".for
me,"The Most dangerous Game"is a strong 3/5
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon February 1, 2003
The Most Dangerous Game is a pretty familiar story, and that foreknowledge somewhat blunts this movie's shock value and effectiveness to modern audiences. Be that as it may, the film still provides a decent amount of suspense and even some comedy. Bob (Joel McCrea) is a famous hunter en route to a new expedition when he finds himself shipwrecked. He alone of the crew survives and makes it to the shore of a nearby island. He counts himself fortunate to discover that the island is in fact inhabited, especially since Count Zaraff (Leslie Banks) is a seemingly genteel yet eccentric host. Not accidentally, the reef off of the island's coast has been the cause of several shipwrecks, and Bob joins two survivors of the most recent one-Eve (Fay Wray) and her increasingly intoxicated brother Martin; the more Martin drinks, the funnier he gets. The Count speaks passionately of his one true love, hunting, and tells his guests that he hunts the most dangerous game of all on his island. It doesn't take long before Bob finds out what he means and becomes the designated prey for the evening; taking Eve with him, they struggle to live through the night and thus "win" the game. You have to give the Count some credit for being a sportsman; he provides his target with a knife, supplies and a head start. The fact that Bob is a noted hunter himself makes this particular game especially thrilling for the Count.
I'm no hunter, but some of the traps Bob sets for the Count seem pretty lame and obvious. Beyond this the hunt itself doesn't seem to provide the type of suspense found in the original story by Richard Connell. Bob and Eve are likable enough characters, but neither of them seems to shine; this may perhaps be due in part to Banks' dominating performance as the mad Count Zaraff; he basically carries this movie with his forceful presence. Wray would of course go on to star in King Kong the following year, and I swear one log in this movie looks just like a log later seen in Kong's jungle. I think that anyone with no knowledge whatsoever of the plot would be fascinated and impressed by this early classic, but as man's inhumanity to man continues to increase from year to year, modern audiences will be somewhat inured to the underlying premise. One rather philosophical note from early in the film really stands out in my mind-namely, that an animal that kills just to sustain its own life is called savage, but a man who hunts merely for sport is called civilized.
This 1932 David O. Selznick production remains both timely and enjoyable today, presenting a fascinating if somewhat macabre study of human nature. At just over an hour in length, the movie is comparatively short and could have benefited from additional scenes of the actual hunt, but all told The Most Dangerous Game holds up very well, and the fortuitous casting of a pre-King Kong Fay Wray affords the viewer a special treat.
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HALL OF FAMEon July 27, 2002
I keep forgetting that Fay Wray made dozens of films before "King Kong," including this 1932 film which proves that you do not need special effects or lots of make-up to create a monster that will frighten audiences. Leslie Banks is Count Zaroff, a mad nobleman who has grown tired of hunting big game and decides to stalk human beings instead. Providence proves most accommodating when shipwrecked on the island are Bob Rainsford (Joel McCrea), a famous big-game hunter, Eve Towbridge (Wray), and Martin (Robert Armstrong). After a few diverting attempts at hospitality, Zaroff sends the trio off into the jungle to try surviving until sunrise and the fun begins in earnest.
I give high marks for the tense and atmospheric direction by Irving Pichel and Ernest B. Schoedsack, but I must admit to be bothered by what Hollywood did to Richard Connell's classic short story of the hunter and hunted. Yes, the original has General Zaroff hunting a world famous big-game hunter (named Sanger Rainsford in the story), and there is certainly something compelling about the hunter now becoming the prey (not to mention the hunter's prey becoming the hunter of the hunter hunting the prey...if you know what I mean). But tossing two more characters into the picture is hardly cricket, the equivalent of hunting a lion and strapping a couple of manikins to its back. Of course with three people out in the jungle you can lose one of them (gee, you will never guess which one) and still have fun and a touch of romance. But while I am disparaging of these tacky Hollywood tack-ons, "The Most Dangerous Game" has a primal elegance that makes this one of the most effective horror films of the 1930s.
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