Saturday, March 8, 2008

The Most Dangerous Game

Last week I watched the Criterion Collection version of The Most Dangerous Game. It was a pretty good movie. Even though it is a very old black and white movie with a fairly small budget, it still is worth watching. The plot for the movie is very simple. A hunter Zaroff has hunted every type of animal and has grown bored with it. Hunting animals was not enough of a challenge even using more primitive weapons (exchanging a gun for a bow & arrow). To bring back the thrill of hunting he decided to hunt the most dangerous animal of all - which of course is humans.

Part of me thought that Joel McCrea, the main character of this movie, deserved to be hunted and killed. He was a hunter who went out and killed animals all around the world as well. Unlike Zaroff he hadn't gotten bored of it. The female leads brother Robert was such a jerk that I didn't feel sorry for him at all.

There was a point in the movie in which Zaroff gave Joel the option to join him in hunting people. Zaroff knew Joel was a hunter as well and large fan of Joel's books. Joel refuses outright and ends up being hunted. I would have made different choices. I too would have been outraged but I would have agreed to go on a hunt with Zaroff. Two reasons. I don't want to be hunted and I'd have a much better chance of shooting Zaroff in the back or tying him up or something.

If I had decided to be morally outraged and let myself be hunted (as opposed to pretended to play along and betraying him), I would not have taken Fay Wray with me. Seeing as to how Zaroff had different plans for her. The hunt sexually exited him and he was going to use her as relief for his sexual urges after the hunt. I would have left her at the Count's place so as to make it easier to survive. Don't get me wrong I would have worried about her and would not want him to forcefully take advantage of her, but she would be too much of a liability while I'm being hunted. I'd have a better chance without her slowing me down and having to protect her as well as myself and she was in no danger until after the hunt anyways. Taking her with him was good for the movie but practically it would have been better to leave her since she wasn't in any real danger unless he was killed and if he was killed he wouldn't have been able to help her anyways.

In the movie, the villain had grown bored with hunting animals and started hunting humans. Having thought about it for a little while more, I started to wonder if he ever thought of hunting people legally. People do hunt people in real life. If you just want to kill people become a soldier. If you want to hunt people down become a bounty hunter. If he was planning on hunting and killing people he could have decided to get paid to do it and became an assassin. Heck if he wanted to hunt them on his island he could have kidnapped his victims and killed them on the island. That would be more challenging and most of the clients wouldn't mind where or how he killed them.

I liked that even though Zaroff was a mass murder and possibly a rapist, he did have rules. He gave his prey a 24 hour head start and he said he'd let them go if they survived until dawn. Overall it was a good movie. Leslie Banks did an excellent job as Zaroff. The film had a very good music score which is not very common for movies of that time period. The movie was pretty fast paced. Even the commentary for the movie was pretty good (I don't generally listen to the commentary tracks on movies).

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