Man Hunt (1941)

Man Hunt (1941)

“Men of your character have accidents.”

When a Gestapo leader (George Sanders) captures an aristocratic hunter (Walter Pidgeon) training his sights on Hitler, Pidgeon is relentlessly pursued by both Sanders and a Reich agent (John Carradine) out of Germany and into England, where he befriends a Cockney seamstress (Joan Bennett) who falls in love with him.


  • Cat-and-Mouse
  • Cross-Class Romance
  • Fritz Lang Films
  • Fugitives
  • George Sanders Films
  • Hunting
  • Joan Bennett Films
  • John Carradine Films
  • Nazis
  • Roddy McDowall Films
  • Walter Pidgeon Films
  • World War II

Man Hunt was the first of a quartet of ant-Nazi films Fritz Lang made after he emigrated to the United States, followed by Hangmen Also Die! (1943), Ministry of Fear (1944), and Cloak and Dagger (1946). It opens with a decidedly provocative and startling scene, as sportsman Pidgeon points his rifle directly at Hitler:

before being captured and sent on the run back to his home country. Man Hunt remains a reasonably exciting and atmospherically filmed (by Arthur Miller) action-thriller, with a screenplay hampered by Pidgeon’s romance with Bennett (I guess I’m really not a fan of besotted Cockney lasses).

However, it’s worth a look, especially as “the first war film to attract the attention of the then-neutral America’s Hays Office” (Joseph Breen was “alarmed by the script” and referred to it as a “hate film”).

Redeeming Qualities and Moments:

  • Walter Pidgeon as Alan Thorndike
  • Arthur Miller’s cinematography
  • A clever, unexpected ending

Must See?
Yes, once, for its historical relevance.



2 thoughts on “Man Hunt (1941)

  1. Enjoyable slice of classic Hollywood melodrama with great production values but suffers when Joan Bennett turns up with an absolutely awful accent in a an under written part. Still, good film overall but not must see. Minor Lang.

    The 1976 BBC version – Rogue Male – is far superior and much closer to Geoffrey Householder’s book.

  2. First viewing. Not must-see – though it will definitely be of interest to Lang fans.

    As noted, the opening sequence is indeed “provocative” and nicely handled for suspense. Actually, the film’s first half (the better half) is gripping-enough that I was beginning to lean toward ‘must-see’ for this. (I esp. like the sequence on-board the escape ship, where Pidgeon is being looked after by Roddy McDowall; it’s nice to see the two of them together again – in the same year as ‘How Green Was My Valley’.)

    However, the second-half – though still very watchable and particularly strong in a few places – feels a bit shakier, mainly due to its focus on the tentative ‘love angle’ and a growing sense of the preposterous (esp. in the ways that Pidgeon is followed).

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