Jump to content
 
Search In
  • More options...
Find results that contain...
Find results in...

MAN HUNT - Tired Formula Movie


AndyM108
 Share

Recommended Posts

After watching Man Hunt, I feel like Charlie Brown having been suckered in by Lucy's claim that "this time I won't pull the ball away." 

 

Look, Joan Bennett was glorious, granted.  But Sanders was little more than a cartoon Nazi with no depth whatever*, and Pidgeon was Pidgeon as only Pidgeon can be, forever the staid gentleman no matter what the role.  About as exciting as a 21 inning scoreless baseball game played in a rainstorm.

 

But am I misremembering, or did Bob say that this was Lang's BEST Hollywood film?  Is he crazy?  The worst is more like it.  Wholly pedestrian plot, little real suspense, innumerable impossible scenes and premises to swallow, all excused by what?  The need to raise homefront morale before we were even in the war? 

 

Seriously, while Lang is undoubtedly one of filmdom's all time great directors, how was this movie any better than the equally doltish and crudely propagandistic Mission to Moscow?  These cookie cutter wartime movies were understandably rah-rah for domestic purposes during the war itself, but once the war was over and they have to stand on their own merits, it's almost as if once you've seen one of them, you've seen them all.  I wish that TCM would cut a lot of these WW2 Hollywood potboilers and start showing more movies made in countries that actually experienced war on their own soil, and accordingly did a much better job of depicting war's complex realities.

 

* And it hurts me to say that, since aside from this dreadful movie Sanders is almost always interesting and one of our most underrated actors.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think this movie was released prior to us entering the war so it was against our neutral status at the time. The Hayes office wasn't happy with how they portrayed Germans and wanted it softened (pressure from Germany?).

 

The ending is silly, jumping out behind enemy lines and expecting viewers to believe he will finish what he didn't do earlier. But I do like this movie, the acting is well done and it makes you wonder what would have happened had Hitler been taken out early. Almost 60 million people died because of that nut.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The ending is silly, jumping out behind enemy lines and expecting viewers to believe he will finish what he didn't do earlier.

 

It isn't just the ending.  It's all those scenes where Pidgeon goes through elaborate maneuvers to ditch his Nazi bloodhounds, only to find them right there either stalking him or waiting for him the second he arrives at his hideout.  It happened in the manor house, several different times in the underground, in his cave in the woods, and probably several more places that I've mercifully forgotten. Not to mention that he somehow managed to survive a push off a high cliff without suffering anything more than a few scratches.  Quite a man!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It isn't just the ending.  It's all those scenes where Pidgeon goes through elaborate maneuvers to ditch his Nazi bloodhounds, only to find them right there either stalking him or waiting for him the second he arrives at his hideout.  It happened in the manor house, several different times in the underground, in his cave in the woods, and probably several more places that I've mercifully forgotten. Not to mention that he somehow managed to survive a push off a high cliff without suffering anything more than a few scratches.  Quite a man!

 

We all know the Nazi's were dummkopfs that couldn't shoot straight or capture enemies. Yes this was pure propaganda to help get us in a war, lol.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We all know the Nazi's were dummkopfs that couldn't shoot straight or capture enemies. Yes this was pure propaganda to help get us in a war, lol.

 The original review in the New York Times reinforces what I've been saying, even if IMO he overrates Sanders' performance:

 

"It is a film which is handsomely made and directed by Fritz Lang with unremitting intensity. Mr. Lang has also achieved the difficult task in such films of creating an illusion of actuality. Walter Pidgeon plays the leading role of the English huntsman—or rather the hunted—with superior sinew and integrity; George Sanders makes a hard and treacherous Nazi agent; even Joan Bennett handles the role of a Cockney street-walker with delicacy, and the remainder of the cast is up to scratch.

 

"But the script which Dudley Nichols prepared from a novel by Geoffrey Household—the popular novel, "Rogue Male"—has holes in it. For one, the Nazi Gestapo has been endowed with incredible ubiquity. Sly agents are all over the place, and always taking the right turn. For another, the design of the Nazi upon the hunted man after he has escaped is never made properly clear. If it is merely that they want him to sign a paper, why couldn't his signature be forged? And finally, why should he worry after he arrives safely in England? It is preposterous to think he'd be sent back to Germany for trial.

 

"To be sure, Mr. Nichols has attempted to plug up these holes with reasons, but every one of them leaks. And, as a consequence, you constantly feel that the "chase" is entirely contrived. Exciting? Yes, it is. But convincing? No. Somehow you just keep on asking, 'For goodness sake, what makes Captain Thorndike run?' "

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We all know the Nazi's were dummkopfs that couldn't shoot straight or capture enemies. Yes this was pure propaganda to help get us in a war, lol.

 

Well those Nazi hounds were dummies or they needed to blow their noses.   After the hunted man goes into that creek,  any hound well trained in their art would be able to pick up the scent from the place where the guy got out of the creek.     The Nazi's needed good  old USA southern 'catch me a convict' hounds!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

After watching Man Hunt, I feel like Charlie Brown having been suckered in by Lucy's claim that "this time I won't pull the ball away."

 

Look, Joan Bennett was glorious, granted. But Sanders was little more than a cartoon Nazi with no depth whatever*, and Pidgeon was Pidgeon as only Pidgeon can be, forever the staid gentleman no matter what the role. About as exciting as a 21 inning scoreless baseball game played in a rainstorm.

 

But am I misremembering, or did Bob say that this was Lang's BEST Hollywood film? Is he crazy? The worst is more like it. Wholly pedestrian plot, little real suspense, innumerable impossible scenes and premises to swallow, all excused by what? The need to raise homefront morale before we were even in the war?

 

Seriously, while Lang is undoubtedly one of filmdom's all time great directors, how was this movie any better than the equally doltish and crudely propagandistic Mission to Moscow? These cookie cutter wartime movies were understandably rah-rah for domestic purposes during the war itself, but once the war was over and they have to stand on their own merits, it's almost as if once you've seen one of them, you've seen them all. I wish that TCM would cut a lot of these WW2 Hollywood potboilers and start showing more movies made in countries that actually experienced war on their own soil, and accordingly did a much better job of depicting war's complex realities.

 

* And it hurts me to say that, since aside from this dreadful movie Sanders is almost always interesting and one of our most underrated actors.

I disagree with your take on MAN HUNT. Sure, it may not be Lang's best, but it's an intriguing little thriller. And it's actually not a wartime film; not only was it released some six months before Pearl Harbor, but it is supposed to take place before the war started in Europe, in the first half of 1939. As for it being propaganda, it pales compared to the real flag wavers (soon to be) turned out by Hollywood. And its plot may be cookie cutter, but only in hindsight; we hadn't yet been bombarded with a plethora of these. There had been a few warnings about the rise of Nazi Germany, but there were a few: THE MORTAL STORM, FOUR SONS, THE MAN I MARRIED, FOREIGN CORRESPONDENT, among others, including, surprisingly, a Sonja Henie vehicle, EVERYTHING HAPPENS AT NIGHT.

 

I think it is suspenseful enough, and it has as many improbabilities as the average thriller of its type.

 

PS......I think Pidgeon was effective enough, as was George Sanders. Sanders.may now be best known as usually playing a cad, but back then, he was just another bad guy featured player; he might be the other man, a crook, or a Nazi. He seemed perfectly plausible in his portrayal.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I disagree with your take on MAN HUNT. Sure, it may not be Lang's best, but it's an intriguing little thriller. And it's actually not a wartime film; not only was it released some six months before Pearl Harbor, but it is supposed to take place before the war started in Europe, in the first half of 1939. As for it being propaganda, it pales compared to the real flag wavers (soon to be) turned out by Hollywood. And its plot may be cookie cutter, but only in hindsight; we hadn't yet been bombarded with a plethora of these. There had been a few warnings about the rise of Nazi Germany, but there were a few: THE MORTAL STORM, FOUR SONS, THE MAN I MARRIED, FOREIGN CORRESPONDENT, among others, including, surprisingly, a Sonja Henie vehicle, EVERYTHING HAPPENS AT NIGHT.

 

I think it is suspenseful enough, and it has as many improbabilities as the average thriller of its type.

 

PS......I think Pidgeon was effective enough, as was George Sanders. Sanders.may now be best known as usually playing a cad, but back then, he was just another bad guy featured player; he might be the other man, a crook, or a Nazi. He seemed perfectly plausible in his portrayal.

I agree with you, Arturo. It's been a few years since I last saw Man Hunt but I recall thinking that it was most enjoyable, with effective casting of all three leads in the film. Joan Bennett, if memory serves me correctly, is quite winning and vulnerable in her role, and I like the comforting presence of Walter Pidgeon. Sure Sanders role is a stereotype. So what, he's still fun to watch.

 

I also recall thinking that the film's climax, with Pidgeon extricating himself from a tight situation while trapped in a cave, while unlikely from a logical viewpoint, was still exciting to watch from the thrill angle.

 

I didn't know that Robert Osborne called Man Hunt Lang's best American film but, if he did, I don't think it's such an outragious statement. It's certainly one of his best films, in my opinion.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I agree with you, Arturo. It's been a few years since I last saw Man Hunt but I recall thinking that it was most enjoyable, with effective casting of all three leads in the film. Joan Bennett, if memory serves me correctly, is quite winning and vulnerable in her role, and I like the comforting presence of Walter Pidgeon. Sure Sanders role is a stereotype. So what, he's still fun to watch.

 

I also recall thinking that the film's climax, with Pidgeon extricating himself from a tight situation while trapped in a cave, while unlikely from a logical viewpoint, was still exciting to watch from the thrill angle.

 

I didn't know that Robert Osborne called Man Hunt Lang's best American film but, if he did, I don't think it's such an outragious statement. It's certainly one of his best films, in my opinion.

I am in agreement too.  I liked it.  It has historical significance like very few movies do, such as Prelude To War, Hollywood Canteen or Stage Door Canteen.  As America was holding off from entering the war.  Prior to Man Hunt, pro-war movies were seen as being bad for international business in America by the studio heads, and were thereby discouraged (sound familiar?).  When this came out, war was right around the corner and this was one of those movies that was in the right place at the right time.  The Tom Cruise movie Valkyrie (2008) gained some new interest for Man Hunt, although it wasn't really a remake, or even in the same league.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Does Osborne normally pick Fox films for Bob's Picks?

 

 

No, but I wondered as TCM doesnt show Fox films too often, though more so lately in the last couple years.....if it were a Bob's pick, I could see them renting it......

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I read "Rogue Male" probably 25 or 30 years ago and enjoyed it thoroughly.  Ditto the movie, which I didn't seen until years later.   I do think we spend a bit too much time with the striking Joan Bennett hanging on Pidgeon's every last word, but that's a minor quibble.

 

I seem to recall that the original novel was a bit more taut and believable, in terms of actual plot points, but this is a really fast-paced thriller with top notch talent.  

 

Pilt

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I read "Rogue Male" probably 25 or 30 years ago and enjoyed it thoroughly.  Ditto the movie, which I didn't seen until years later.   I do think we spend a bit too much time with the striking Joan Bennett hanging on Pidgeon's every last word, but that's a minor quibble.

 

I seem to recall that the original novel was a bit more taut and believable, in terms of actual plot points, but this is a really fast-paced thriller with top notch talent.  

 

Pilt

 

I agree with you,  but since Bennett was so striking in that film,  it is as you say a minor quibble.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

© 2023 Turner Classic Movies Inc. A Time Warner Company. All Rights Reserved Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Cookie Settings
×
×
  • Create New...