Directed by Irving Pichel and Ernest B. Schoedsack
This is one of those movies that I’ve been meaning to check out for quite sometime. Though admittedly my curiosity for the film had more to do with its references in both David Fincher’s “Zodiac” and Grant Morrison’s run on “Batman” than it did anything else. “Zodiac” is one of my favourite films of all time and Morrison’s “Batman” is one of the best things I have ever read, period. So watching this film was more of an attempt to flesh out my experiences with those two pieces of art, than it was to experience this film as a singularity. And despite having power-crazy “artiste” David O’Selznick EP this film, it really doesn’t hold up that well.
The draw of this film is certainly the story. What is the most dangerous thing in the world to hunt? Well obviously it’s another human. Something that understands the concept of the hunt and can fight back. The allegories that are at work in this film are all well done, but the execution (and especially dialogue) leaves more than a little to be desired. To be fair this movie was made in 1932, and talkies had only been around for about five years, but considering the other classic films that were being made around this same time (and even before – though admittedly mainly in Europe) one can’t help but feel that there was the potential for so much more.
I will however say that Leslie Banks is pretty terrific as Count Zaroff. He is equal parts menacing and over the top when necessary. Overall, it’s a film that’s worth a watch (and with a running time of only an hour, you’re not really losing much) but more so because of the films and literature that it has influenced than for the actual film itself.
Oh and I can’t find a trailer for this movie… so here’s the entire thing.