Saturday, December 20, 2008

Never Heard of It: The Most Dangerous Game (1932)

I’ve already seen a movie about the most dangerous game, it’s called Jumanji and that shit is serious. Why there’s no Criterion version of that one is beyond me. Guess it’s just another thing to blame Michael Bay for. As for this Most Dangerous Game, well, I’m pretty sure David Allen Grier wasn’t acting in the early-thirties (hence the Great Depression) so I don’t know how this one will turn out.

LIVE FEED COMMENT (00:07:44): If the ‘most dangerous game’ turns out to be who can listen to stuffy rich people talk about nothing for the longest, then I’m the loser.

Shipwrecked on an island in the middle of nowhere, Bob, our handsome protagonist finds himself in the company of a rich bachelor who brags about a mysterious trophy room to the other castaways whose boats he most likely sunk. As the first night progresses, Fay Wray’s character fills us in to the going-ons around the island: the missing people, the trophy room, the peculiar personality of their host.

Here we go. The ‘most dangerous game’ is PEOPLE HUNTING! That explains where John Liglazamo’s The Pest got its plot! Now that that’s answered, I can finally move on to the other important life questions like: Why Was The Role Of Colt Recast In 3 Ninjas Kick Back?

Bob’s got ‘til sunrise to keep his heart beating. Armed with longbows, high-powered rifles, and one stylish goatee, Zaroff the Manhunter chases Bob and Eve throughout the wooded island. There are some really beautiful shots during the hunting scenes including a long shot of the prey crossing a fallen tree and a tense situation next to a waterfall.

The film isn’t very long to begin with but the first and last scenes are wastes of time. Boring expository dialogue opens the movie and an anti-climactic slapstick fight scene closes it. Zaroff sends his new crony to do his dirty work and the two go at it and quickly dissolve any sort of impressiveness built by the previous twenty minutes.


Mixing unrealistic submission moves with wild, drunk-man fist swings, the two roll around the living room like a couple of fifth graders fighting over the last pudding cup that I called before lunch and I know he heard me because right after I said it he practically ran over to the fridge. Bastard. That was my pudding cup. In the end, the film has some impressive scenes, cinematography, and performances but it probably would have worked better as a short. Great premise but not strong enough to stretch across seventy minutes.

Never Heard Of It Rating:


Nick said...

Wow, I didn't know they made a movie version. "The Most Dangerous Game" is one of my all-time favorite short stories. I read it for the first time when I was younger. Great stuff. And yeah, I knew The Pest was based on it, as well. There's a couple other movies that take its plot from it, as well. It's a great story... though I wonder if the movie leaves the ending as ambiguous as the story does.

Jonny said...

No Jumanji Criterion release, yet The Rock (also by Michael Bay) gets one. Go figure.

elgringo said...

Nick -- My fiance had read the short story as well. I had never heard of the story but I think I'll check it out now. The movie makes me think of Battle Royale. Hunting people on an island: rad concept.

Jonny -- We should start our own Special Edition DVD series and have Jumanji be the first film released!