Most Dangerous Game, The (1932)

Most Dangerous Game, The (1932)

“I was thinking of the inconsistency of civilization. The beast of the jungle, killing just for his existence, is called savage. The man, killing just for sport, is called civilized. It’s a bit inconsistent, isn’t it?”

A shipwrecked man and woman (Joel McCrea and Fay Wray) must find a way to escape from an isolated island owned by a human-hunting madman (Leslie Banks).

Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:

  • Deserted Island
  • Escape
  • Fay Wray Films
  • Hunting
  • Joel McCrea Films
  • Mental Illness

Response to Peary’s Review:
Based on Richard Connell’s beloved short story, this “classic thriller” — set on a “remote island”, and “shot much like a silent movie” — is primarily known as the predecessor to its more famous counterpart, King Kong (1933), which borrows “many [of its] visuals” and features the same leading lady (Wray). While I agree with Peary that it contains many “exciting, quickly paced action sequences”:

I was frustrated by how substantially The Most Dangerous Game‘s script strays from the original story (which has long been a personal favorite). Nonetheless, The Most Dangerous Game has much to recommend it, including atmospheric, mist-filled jungle sets; heart-stopping action scenes; and Leslie Banks’ powerhouse performance as the “crazed hunter… who uses a stranded human couple… as his prey.” As Peary notes, this “would be ideal to watch with [The] Island of Lost Souls (1933).”

Redeeming Qualities and Moments:

  • Leslie Banks as Count Zaroff
  • Atmospheric sets

Must See?
No, but it’s worth a look.


One thought on “Most Dangerous Game, The (1932)

  1. Not a must.

    FFs may want to give it a look for historical reasons, but I can’t muster up much enthusiasm (though I wouldn’t mind hanging out in the Count’s mansion).

    I don’t think I’ve read the original story since high school, but I find this film version on the ho-hum side. There is a bit of excitement near the end, when the Count is hunting McCrea and Wray – but that comes with a few unintended giggles, as does the denouement.

    The one scene I genuinely find effective comes when Wray first attempts to explain to McCrea about the danger they’re in – while Banks is playing piano.

    The premise has potential for a much scarier film adaptation.

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