The Most Dangerous Game
The Most Dangerous Game (film)
|The Most Dangerous Game|
|Directed by||Irving Pichel |
Ernest B. Schoedsack
|Produced by||Ernest B. Schoedsack |
Merian C. Cooper
|Written by||Richard Connell (story) |
James Ashmore Creelman
|Starring||Joel McCrea |
|Music by||Max Steiner|
|Cinematography||Henry W. Gerrard|
|Editing by||Archie Marshek|
|Distributed by||RKO Radio Pictures|
|Release date(s)||September 16, 1932|
|Running time||63 minutes|
Because it was so inexpensive to make, costing only $200,000, The Most Dangerous Game made more profit for RKO than the very expensive King Kong did.
Famous big game hunter and author Bob Rainsford (Joel McCrea) swims to a small, lush island, the sole survivor of a shipwreck. There, he becomes the guest of Russian Count Zaroff (Leslie Banks), a fellow hunting enthusiast. Zaroff remarks that Bob's misfortune is not uncommon; in fact, four people from the previous sinking are still staying with him: Eve Trowbridge (Fay Wray), her brother Martin (Robert Armstrong), and two sailors.
That night, Zaroff introduces Bob to the Trowbridges and reveals his obsession with hunting. During one of his hunts, a Cape buffalo inflicted a head wound on him. He eventually became bored of the sport, to his great consternation, until he discovered "the most dangerous game" on his island. Bob asks if he means tigers, but Zaroff denies it. Later, Eve shares her suspicions of Zaroff's intentions with the newcomer. The count took each sailor to see his trophy room, on different days, and both have mysteriously disappeared. She believes their host is responsible, but Bob is unconvinced.
Then Martin vanishes as well. In their search for him, Bob and Eve end up in Zaroff's trophy room, where they find a man's head mounted on the wall. Then, Zaroff and his men appear, carrying Martin's body. Zaroff expects Bob to view the matter like him and is gravely disappointed when Bob calls him a madman.
He decides that, as Bob refuses to be a fellow hunter, he must be the next prey. If Bob can stay alive until sunrise, Zaroff promises him and Eve their freedom. However, he has never lost the game of what he calls "outdoor chess". Eve decides to go with Bob.
Eventually, they are trapped by a waterfall. While Bob is being attacked by a hunting dog, Zaroff shoots, and the young man falls into the water. Zaroff takes Eve back to his fortress, to enjoy his prize. However, the dog was shot, not Bob. Bob fights first Zaroff, then his henchmen, killing them. As Bob and Eve sail away, a not-quite-dead Zaroff tries to shoot them, but he succumbs to his wounds and falls out of the window where below are his hunting dogs, where it is assumed that the dogs kill him for good.
Cast (in credits order)
- Joel McCrea as Bob
- Fay Wray as Eve
- Robert Armstrong as Martin
- Leslie Banks as Zaroff
- Noble Johnson as Ivan
- Steve Clemente as Tartar
- William B. Davidson as Captain
- Cast notes
- Buster Crabbe, who later played both Flash Gordon and Buck Rogers, has a small stunt part as a sailor who falls off the boat when it is sinking.
- Lon Chaney, Jr. reportedly has a part in the film, although this is unconfirmed.
The Richard Connell short story has been adapted for film a number of times, and its basic concept has been borrowed for numerous films and episodes of television series (Gilligan's Island, Lost in Space, Get Smart and Predators, among others).
The 1932 film was referenced in the plot of the 2007 David Fincher movie Zodiac. Jake Gyllenhaal's character recognizes quotes from the film in letters from the Zodiac Killer sent to the newspaper office where he works.
A loosely inspired remake is set to be filmed in 2011, based on real characters from Millbrook, New York. Written and Directed by Sean Flanagan.
Quotations"He talks of wine and women as a prelude to the hunt. We barbarians know that it is after the chase, and then only, that man revels. You know the saying of the Ogandi chieftains: "Hunt first the enemy, then the woman." It is the natural instinct. The blood is quickened by the kill. One passion builds upon another. Kill, then love! When you have known that, you have known ecstasy."
— Count Zaroff
"This world's divided into two kinds of people: the hunter and the hunted. Luckily I'm the hunter. Nothing can change that."
— Bob Rainsford