The Most Dangerous Game
The old story about a hunter (Leslie Banks, hamming it up like Dracula in an island castle) who is bored with knocking over tigers and elephants and now hunts human game. Soon a very young Joel McCrae and Fay Wray are fleeing through a studio jungle with Count Zaroff the Cossack in hot pursuit. Robert Armstrong is present as Wray’s brother, and overplays as always with possibly the world’s worst portrayal of a drunk. (Wray and Armstrong would re-unite a year later for King Kong.) And damn me if I don’t think they re-used some of those jungle sets for the crew of Carl Denham’s ship to run through and be picked off by dinosaurs. There is one scene where McRae and Wray run over a log spanning a crevasse, and I think it’s the same log Kong picks up and tosses, with half a dozen men aboard. This is really possible, as both pictures were made by RKO. (They both begin with that lovely logo of a giant tower shooting sparks from the north pole: A RADIO PICTURE. The idea of a “radio picture” always tickled me.) The acting is awful and the plot is stupid, but the sets are great and the lighting and photography are damn good. See it for laughs, and to enjoy the technical aspects. Or not.