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Walter Pidgeon, George Sanders, Joan Bennett, Roddy McDowall
Directed by Fritz Lang
Black and white Fullscreen
Originally released 1941
Warner Home Entertainment 2009
Man Hunt, the 1941 Fritz Lang film noir is finally available on DVD. This classic movie starring Walter Pidgeon, George Sanders, and Joan Bennett looks absolutely pristine. Man Hunt features a good story and of course great directing. This is not one of Lang’s best known movies but will be a welcome addition to any classic movie DVD collector even if you do not have to be a cinema fan to appreciate it.
Though Man Hunt was the first movie to posit the question Would you kill Hitler if you had the chance? this is not what this film noir is about. This is especially interesting as the film is set slightly before WW II and was made and released before America went to war at the end of 1941.
This DVD is a cat and mouse thriller where the hunter (Walter Pidgeon) becomes the hunted. Big game hunter Alan Thorndike manages to get within shooting distance of Hitler. He is captured by the Germans, left for dead, and manages to make his way back to England. At first, he believes he got off scot free but a Gestapo man aka Quive-Smith (George Sanders) is on his trail. This is where the fun really begins.
Even when Thorndike believes he is safe, he is not. He cannot even go to the British authorities as Germany has lodged a formal complaint and if he is caught he will be arrested and sent to Germany to face trial. A London girl played by Joan Bennett is along for the ride as she has fallen hard for him.
The tension in this Fritz Lang thriller certainly sags for a while halfway through the movie when Thorndike and the girl spend some time together. The musical score is a bit annoying, especially the repetitive oboe or cornet 8 note ditty.
Man Hunt is a thriller with a bit of a sense of humor, especially the stereotypical Brit Vaner and the encounter between the working class girl and the Thorndike’ upper class friends.
Look for a very young Roddy McDowall as cabin boy Vaner.