Friday, March 25, 2016

Man Hunt (1941)

Director: Fritz Lang

Writers: Geoffrey Household, Dudley Nichols, Lamar Trotti

Composers: Alfred Newman, David Buttolph

Starring: Walter Pidgeon, Joan Bennett, George Sanders, John Carradine, Roddy McDowall, Ludwig Stossel, Heather Thatcher, Frederick Worlock, Roger Imhof, Egon Brecher

More info: IMDb

Plot:  British hunter Thorndike vacationing in Bavaria has Hitler in his gun sight. He is captured, beaten, left for dead, and escapes back to London where he is hounded by German agents and aided by a young woman.

My rating:  7/10

Will I watch it again? Maybe.

The first half hour and finale are outstanding.  As soon as we leave Germany and Thorndike (Pidgeon) gets to England and meets Jerry (Bennett) it goes downhill and the thrill is gone.  There about 45 minutes of that business and then it's back to being a one-on-one with the Major (Sanders) and Thorndike.  The interactions between these two are fantastic.  Sanders does a fine job of making his Nazi mean but not a cartoon character which we saw so much of back then.  That's something that always bugged me is the making of our enemies into caraicatures rather than showing them with any intelligence and firm beliefs.  That's scarier than making them a joke in a serious picture.  The ending would be amazing if it stopped at the cave but it goes into propaganda territory with the coda that gives us the happy and hopeful ending, wanting audiences to go out and kick Jerry (not Joan Bennett's character) in the guts and give 'em the ole what fer.   I might have felt differently about it 75 years ago but now it's hard not to want a downbeat ending.

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