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Blu-ray Review

DVD cover


The Most Dangerous Game (1932)
(2022 2K Restoration)


Starring: Joel McCrea, Fay Wray, Leslie Banks and Robert Armstrong
Distributor: Eureka Entertainment
RRP: £22.99


Certificate: 12
Release Date: 24 October 2022

Big game hunter, Bob Rainsford, is on board a ship which flounders on rocks in a strait when it is discovered danger marker buoys have been moved. As the ship sinks in shark-infested waters, Bob – the only survivor – makes for the nearest island where he is taken in as a guest of Count Zaroff. It materialises that Zaroff is a dedicated hunter too, but the connection soon turns to suspicion when two other guests – a brother and sister – reveal their party previously numbered four and the other two have mysteriously disappeared. By the time the terrible truth is known, only the beautiful sister (Fay Wray) is left. Zaroff hunts people, and Bob is challenged to survive until sun-up...

To celebrate the classic film’s 90th anniversary, Eureka Entertainment releases Cooper and Schoedsack’s The Most Dangerous Game from 1932 on Blu-ray for the first time, as part of its Masters of Cinema series. This pre-code horror/adventure film, starring Joel McCrea and Fay Wray, is presented from a 2K restored scan. The film is adapted from the hugely popular 1920s short story by Richard Connell. So ground-breaking was the story that countless books and films wherein a human being is hunted-down for entertainment, information, money or a number of other reasons originates back to The Most Dangerous Game.

The film fully utilises the lavish jungle sets created for King Kong… whilst Kong was still being made! Many of the cast and crew worked on Kong during the day and The Most Dangerous Game through the night. This gives the film added gravitas. It’s easy with hindsight to dismiss Leslie Banks’ portrayal of Count Zaroff as pantomime-like, but in truth it is an intense representation of a character on the edge of madness. The movie proves to be a nice little pot-boiler; a claustrophobic horror/adventure. It even plays-out an elaborate final clash between hero and villain which was only referred to in the story.

There is a brand new audio commentary by that regular double-act author Stephen Jones and author/critic Kim Newman. Kim Newman appears on many classic film release extras and he is equally enthusiastic and entertaining here, with his talk on the hunted-human sub-genre. Not so much an interview as an engaging talk on the subject, bordering on rhetoric. Along with Mark Kermode, Kim Newman is the best film historian/critic around. There’s also a brand new interview with film scholar Stephen Thrower. A collector’s booklet featuring a new essay by Craig Ian Mann completes the piece, illustrated with archival imagery.

This is a good release. Buy yourself a piece of film history… before I set the hounds after you.


Ty Power

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