'The Most Dangerous Game' - Movie Review

Joel McCrea plays Bob Rainsford, a big game hunter. He and his friends are in a luxury yacht off the coast of South America when the owner of the boat insists on taking a dangerous passage the captain advises against. The boat sinks, with everyone dying except Rainsford. He finds himself on an island, where he makes his way to an old fortress. There he's greeted by Count Zaroff (Leslie Banks), who is entertaining two other recently shipwrecked guests, Eve Trowbridge (Fay Wray) and her brother Martin (Robert Armstrong). Zaroff shows considerable enthusiasm for hunting and Rainsford's writings on the subject - but is reluctant to show his trophy room. But I've already given away the big secret in the summary: Zaroff loves to hunt "the most dangerous game," humans.

The run time is surprisingly short by modern standards (it was shot in 1932) at 63 minutes. The special effects are really bad, the shipwreck in particular. And looking at the jungle sets, my first thought was of another movie made in the same year, "King Kong." As it turns out, I was closer than I ever guessed: this movie was filmed at night on the same set as "King Kong" using two of its stars, Wray and Armstrong.

While the effects are bad, they're no worse than any of the era. Banks is having fun being suave, sophisticated, and a bit insane. McCrea is mostly just noble - but knows about the hunt, and Wray is mostly there to be protected, but does at least have some brains. On the whole, a rather enjoyable movie.