After a shipwreck, big-game hunter Robert Rainsford (Joel McCrea) is washed ashore on a mysterious island where he’s introduced to a count (Leslie Banks) who’s a fellow hunter… and has found a new, intriguing prey. The first adaptation of a short story that was so sensational it came to inspire countless other movies and episodes of TV shows over the decades. Several of the actors and the sets were also used for King Kong (1933) – Fay Wray’s iconic scream is put to use here as well. This thriller is short, economically put together, and very effective, with a lot of action once the game begins. A few amusing performances, including Banks in a campy turn as the insane aristocrat.
1932-U.S. 63 min. B/W. Produced by David O. Selznick. Directed by Ernest B. Schoedsack, Irving Pichel. Screenplay: James Ashmore Creelman. Short Story: Richard Connell. Cast: Joel McCrea (Robert Rainsford), Fay Wray (Eve Trowbridge), Leslie Banks (Count Zaroff), Robert Armstrong, Noble Johnson.
Trivia: Remade as A Game of Death (1945) and Run for the Sun (1956).
Last word: “Leslie Banks, who played Count Zaroff in The Most Dangerous Game, was an astonishingly interesting actor, a very distinguished English actor. He looked like he’d had a stroke. He had something wrong with one eye and it gave him a really scary expression. It didn’t hurt that picture at all!” (Wray, Scarlet Street)