Man Hunt DVD review
|REVIEWS - DVD REVIEWS|
Hitler is in Walter Pidgeon's sniper-sights... but ending WWII isn't going to prove quite that easy.
Man Hunt is based on the 1939 novel 'Rogue Male' by Geoffrey Household and is set just before the start of the Second World War. We are introduced to big-game hunter Captain Alan Thorndike (Walter Pidgeon) as he hunts in an undisclosed location. It quickly becomes apparent that he is stalking the ultimate prey - Adolf Hitler. The suspense mounts as he traps the dictator in his sights and fires off a blank shot. On the spur of the moment, Thorndike rushes to load his gun with live ammunition, but at the very last minute his plan is foiled and he is seized by Nazi guards.
Here we are introduced to Gestapo leader Quive-Smith, excellently portrayed by George Sanders. The Nazi attempts to force Thorndike into signing a statement, declaring that he was trying to assassinate Hitler by order of The Queen. Thorndike boldly refuses, boasting that should he go missing, he has friends in high places who will search for him. After failing to break his cool exterior, the Nazis conclude that the only way to rid themselves of the problem is to ‘get rid’ of the hunter. However, their efforts fail, and he escapes, closely pursued by Mr Smith (John Carradine), who has got to be up there with the creepiest characters in film history. His gaunt physique and stiff movements genuinely make your skin crawl, and Carradine does an amazing job at convincing the audience that this character is pure evil.
Joan Bennett plays Jerry Stokes, a cockney girl who assists Thorndike in eluding his pursuers. This was to be the first of four films directed by Fritz Lang that she was to star in, and it is clear to see what he found so captivating about her. You instantly warm to her as she unquestioningly assists him and predictably falls for his cocky self-assurance.
Man Hunt is full of suspense from start to finish, and as the credits rolled at the end I felt like I exhaled for the first time in the entire 106 minutes. Man Hunt is German director Fritz Lang’s sixth American feature film. Although arguably not his best work, it is still definitely worth watching for its profound political statement alone.
Releasing a film based on such subject matter in 1941 caused a many a furrowed brow amongst people who were worried about how characters would be interpreted. It’s fascinating to watch how Lang portrays the Nazis in subtle ways which hint towards his true feelings for them, without making an outright statement to that effect. It is also clear that as a German who fled the nation prior to the war, Lang did not approve of America’s reluctance to openly oppose the Nazi regime - and various dialogue alludes to this. Watching a film that was made and released during such a sensitive time really makes you think, and I believe that it really enhances the experience. Watch it, you’ll see what I mean.
The only extra on the DVD was a theatrical trailer which I don’t think fully captured the suspense of the film..
Man Hunt is released on the 31st January 2011
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