Man Hunt

1941

Action / Drama / Thriller / War

26
Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Rotten 92%
IMDb Rating 7.3 10 4

Synopsis


Uploaded By: FREEMAN
November 30, -0001 at 12:00 AM

Director

Cast

Roddy McDowall as Vaner
John Carradine as Mr. Jones
George Sanders as Major Quive-Smith
Joan Bennett as Jerry Stokes
1080p.BLU
1.64 GB
1920*800
English
Not Rated
23.976 fps
1 hr 45 min
P/S 0/2

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by secondtake 8 / 10

A perfectly made period film that holds its own to this day...thanks to Fritz Lang

Man Hunt (1941)

Offhand the title and idea to this movie sounds a bit routine--a man singlehandedly avoiding authorities and pursuers. Even the extra theme that the Nazis are the bad guys sounded well worn, though the fact it was shot and released during that interesting two year period of WWII before the Americans got involved is something of a hook.

But I watched mainly because the formerly German director, Fritz Lang, is one of the handful of best directors ever.

And it pays off. The clich├ęs are made fresh--even the Nazi types are different than you'd expect. The filming is great, showing the use of shadows and ominous points of view that film noir would take up in the next couple of years. And the plot has a mixture of one man against the world survival as well as boy meets girl romance.

It's terrific stuff, hardly dated at all. And the cinematography is by one of the stalwarts of the period, Arthur Miller, so it has lots of moving camera and interesting tight compositions.

The main character Alan Thorndike is played by Walter Pidgeon, one of those leading males who hasn't always stood up well over time. The deep voice, nice guy quality he is famous for isn't always matched by a pertinent acting intensity. His physical presence in a film is often a shade unconvincing. Lang might have found a perfect balance here because Thorndike's situation is so harsh, at least at times, and there is often a contrasting focus on Pidgeon's face and the innocence it is so good at projecting.

Oddly (and maybe with some political savvy, who knows), Pidgeon is a Canadian playing a Brit, with no attempt at an accent, so this supposedly patriotic movie has a weird falseness in every scene. The reason this might be on purpose is it's carried through all along--the leading woman, Joan Bennet, is a New Jersey girl who has adopted a strong Irish (I think, or Cockney) accent. And the main Nazi is played by upper crust British legend George Sanders (who was born in Russia). And so goes this international plot.

Of course, Lang was an expatriate German Jew working for Hollywood. He was becoming known for his anti-Nazi fervor to the dismay of the right wing Hays Code commission, which we now understand better. Lang's penchant for shooting at night (which goes back to his days in the German film industry) and his ability to make people sinister without actually showing them doing sinister things is partly why this simple movie works. It's also made complicated by the large range of locations used (or invented in the studio), and by the irony of the sweet love affair in the wings in the second half.

You might say it's a propaganda film if you want to use that word loosely. It does at the very end send a message to the viewers, and to Hitler, that the British are out to get him. But really this is a movie about good against evil, about free thinking versus doing what you're told. And about love, completely unfulfilled, but so incipient you feel it and want it.

Yes, see this, if you like movies from the period, or know you like Lang's films. Or if you like film noir, since this is a pre-cursor. Or see it if you appreciate a very well made film with an edgy historical setting.

Reviewed by mukava991 9 / 10

top-drawer Lang

Man Hunt is one of Fritz Lang's most satisfying films: with the help of the superior scenarist Dudley Nichols, he has crafted an action-packed, humorous, emotionally wrenching, well- paced if not always plausible, literate and imaginatively photographed thriller. The plot grabs you immediately: in the summer of 1939 a tweedy British gentleman game hunter decides that it would be an interesting challenge to see if it would be possible to shoot Hitler if he wanted to, just for the sport of it, so he sneaks to the dictator's Bavarian retreat and fixes him in the sights of his unloaded hunting rifle. After satisfying his curiosity he makes a snap decision to actually load the weapon and fire, but just as he is about to pull the trigger a leaf falls on his gun sight and as he brushes it away, a guard sees his moving arm, jumps him and captures him. After a beating by Nazi goons, he is presented to suave bigwig George Sanders (in a matchless performance that goes a long way toward capturing and holding audience attention in the early scenes) who tries to convince him to sign a confession stating that he had intended to assassinate Hitler. When Pidgeon refuses to comply, Sanders and Co. shove him off a cliff in the middle of the night, but his fall is broken by a tree branch and he escapes with the Nazis at his heels. He manages to make his way to a port where he eludes his pursuers by hiding on board a cargo ship bound for London, with the help of a young ship mate played winningly by Roddy MacDowall. But the henchmen, led by the menacing John Carradine, follow him abroad. The rest of the film involves the cat and mouse action between the hero and villains.

I would be tempted to argue that this is Walter Pidgeon's finest work but I haven't seen everything he's done. Fritz Lang certainly got an uncharacteristically passionate performance out of him, especially in the final scenes. As the prostitute who gets caught up in his intrigues Joan Bennett makes a stronger emotional impact than she had made in films up to that time. Somehow Lang was able to draw out of her an appealing warmth which had escaped her previous directors. Her Cockney accent is perfectly serviceable, especially by contemporary Hollywood standards.

Typical of Lang, the set pieces and the camera-work that takes place within them are stunning, from a spooky and forbidding nocturnal London of narrow streets and wet cobblestones to an extended sequence in the claustrophobic and crowded passageways of the London Underground, with a gorgeous, frenzied, chiaroscuro climax. There are so many superlative visual moments in this film that it's pointless to list them. I can only recommend the film highly to anyone interested in masterful shot compositions. Anyone familiar with Hitchcock's SABOTEUR, made around the same time, will see multiple parallels not only in plot and situation but in an environment bursting with booby traps and evildoers lurking around every corner.

Reviewed by lange-frank 9 / 10

A WW II Treasure

I just saw this film on the Fox Movie Channel (DirecTV Satellite, 9 p.m., May 12th) and enjoyed it immensely! As a big WW II movie fan, I'm surprised I hadn't seen it before. Several things struck me about it: Walter Pidgeon's devil-may-care performance, George Saunder's excellent portrayal of the Gestapo leader, and John Carradine's eminently creepy role as the Gestapo agent sent to London to track his prey.

Also interesting were the surprisingly eloquent characterizations of Hitler's regime by the characters. Rather than the usual, emotional propaganda-driven exhortations prevalent in war movies at the time, the writing seemed to make an effort to take a higher, more articulate stab at the regime and those who blindly followed it. The writing overall is superb, as is the direction by Fritz Lang. Even the almost overdone ending matches the story perfectly and leaves us wanting more. I'm surprised they didn't make a serial about it throughout the remainder of the war!

This is a classic, classic WW II propaganda piece that was suspensefull, engaging and a joy to watch. If I could get it in ANY format, it would be a permanent fixture of my collection. If you find it, record it!

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