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The Most Dangerous Game (The Criterion Collection)

130 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

"One of the best and most literate movies from the great days of horror," The Most Dangerous Game stars Leslie Banks as a big game hunter with a taste for the world's most exotic prey-his houseguests, played by Fay Wray and Joel McCrea. Before making history with 1933's King Kong, filmmakers Merian C. Cooper and Ernest B. Schoedsack wowed audiences with their chilling adaptation of this Richard Connell short story. Criterion is proud to present the DVD premiere of The Most Dangerous Game in a new digital transfer.

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The Most Dangerous Game is a classic, one of the first talkies to get pictures moving after five very static years following the birth of sound. The plot finds resourceful hero Joel McCrea and heroine Fay Wray being hunted on the island of the insane Zaroff (Leslie Banks). One of the grandfathers of the summer blockbuster, the film's setup has been reworked many times since, notably in John Woo's Hard Target (1993). By modern standards it's technically primitive, though still gripping stuff, complete with the jungle set built as a test run for King Kong (1933) and graced by Max Steiner's prototype of all Hollywood action scores. --Gary S. Dalkin

Special Features

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Product Details

  • Actors: Joel McCrea, Fay Wray, Leslie Banks, Robert Armstrong, Noble Johnson
  • Directors: Ernest B. Schoedsack, Irving Pichel
  • Writers: James Ashmore Creelman, Richard Connell
  • Producers: David O. Selznick, Merian C. Cooper
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Black & White, Closed-captioned, NTSC, Special Edition
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: Criterion
  • DVD Release Date: April 3, 2001
  • Run Time: 63 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (130 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 0780022114
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #75,861 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Most Dangerous Game (The Criterion Collection)" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

103 of 114 people found the following review helpful By Mr Peter G George on July 8, 2001
Format: DVD
The Most Dangerous Game is a superb early horror film. It is a really creepy, chilling film with great atmosphere. I always prefer this sort of moody horror to more modern films in the genre that depend on shocks and gore. The Most Dangerous Game can really get under your skin with its central theme of a manhunt. I had always thought, until watching the movie, that the `Game' of the title was referring to a game like Poker or Baseball, but really it is game in the sense of big game, lions and tigers and such. It is man who is `the most dangerous game.' For humans with their intellect are more of a threat to the hunter. This idea of a hunter matching his wits against a fellow human being is a deeply disturbing idea.
The film has a really fine cast. Leslie Banks plays the villain Zaroff and is suitably sinister without using histrionics. Joel McCrea shows why he would remain a leading man for the next thirty years and more. He had real star quality and a quiet acting ability similar to that of Gary Cooper. Fay Wray is delightful in a role which gives her more to do than just scream.
The Criterion DVD is very good indeed. The print is superb. There is some occasional damage, but it is hardly noticeable. The images are nearly always clear and sharp and show off the black and white photography very well. Best of all however is the sound quality. Many early talkies have terrible sound with indistinct dialogue and lots of background noise. This DVD has great sound and Criterion should really be congratulated. The DVD also has an audio commentary track by film historian Bruce Eder. His commentary is worth listening to as he is obviously enthusiastic and well informed about The Most Dangerous Game.
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27 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Jesmat on July 28, 2000
Format: DVD
There has been some debate by previous reviewers of 'The Most Dangerous Game' about the quality of the digital transfer on to DVD. My own view is that the picture quality is outstanding. You do occasionally catch sight of objects shimmering, but the effect is negliable. What really hits you is the incredible sharpness and clarity of the print. This isn't limited to the picture either - the sound quality is equally as impressive. For a movie 70 years old you simply could not hope for better. The only extra feature is a very good commentary by Bruce Eder, whose knowledge of 'The Most Dangerous Game' seems limitless. This guy really knows his stuff and what's more, he delivers it in a very relaxed and friendly manner. The film itself is an action packed 63 minutes that is enlivened by a luscious Fay Wray with great support from Leslie Banks and Joel McCrea. The relatively short running time actually helps maintain a high level of suspense and interest - it feels like an 80 minute movie but with all the boring stuff cut out! To label 'The Most Dangerous Game' as a classic is an exaggeration. It is still a well-made, exciting movie that has stood the test of time exceptionally well. The film itself deserves 4 stars, but the great picture quality, sound and commentary make this DVD worthy of a 5 star rating.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Simon Davis on January 9, 2006
Format: DVD
I think probably one of the greatest terrors you could experience would be as the prey of a hunter out to get you as a "trophy" in an isolated region far from help. As actor Joel McCrea says during the lead up to the exciting climax in "The Most Dangerous Game", "now I know how the animals feel!". RKO's film version of the short story by Richard Connell explores that chilling idea to perfection where one human being indulges in the "ultimate sport", (for lack of a better term), of hunting down and killing a fellow human being. As foreign and distasteful as that idea may be to the majority of people it makes for a fascinating story here that succeeds beautifully in keeping you on the edge of your seat for almost the entire film's running time. Fay Wray always remembered as King Kong's love interest and for possessing the best scream of any person in Hollywood in the 30's, here takes on a different kind of role which she filmed concurrently with "King Kong",on the RKO lot. Long consigned to terrible public domain copies that were almost unwatchable, Criterion here have given this fascinating movie a deluxe restoration treatment that returns it to the pristine condition it deserves to be seen in.

As the action opens we see big game hunter Bob Rainsford (Jole McCrea), who is also an author of hunting books, travelling with his group on a ship towards his next worldwide port of call. The Captain approaches a strange set of lighted markers in the water which somehow seem in the wrong spaces and very soon the boat has crashed into a reef and sunk leaving Bob the only survivor after a vicious shark attack removes all the others that survived the sinking of the boat.
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20 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Dave Clayton on January 7, 2001
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Richard Connell's famous short story that dates back to 1924 about a deranged Russian nobleman who shipwrecks vessels passing by his remote island and hunts down the survivors is still anthologized today. Like many works of naturalistic fiction, Connell's tale is a disquisition on the thin line separating civilization and the state of nature. When the sportsman Sanger Rainsford--the latest victim to arrive at Zaroff's front door--realizes what the madman is up to, he reacts in horror, rejecting the General's invitation to join the latter in his favorite pastime, and the hunter soons finds himself the hunted. At the conclusion, however, Rainsford not only defeats Zaroff but takes his place in the latter's bed. In effect, the two men have exchanged not just places but roles--the struggle for survival has transformed Rainsford himself into another Zaroff. The 1932 screen adaptation, directed by Ernest Schoedsack and Irving Pichel, eliminates the bitterly ironic reversal of the original story and turns the grim fable into a straightforward survivalist sermon. In addition, the movie dubiously improves on Connell's mano a mano conflict between Rainsford and Zaroff by introducing a love interest, another shipwrecked refugee played by the all-purpose virginal heroine Fay Wray, who becomes the principal stake in the contest between the two men. There seems to be some uncertainty about the circumstances of the film's production. Professor Bruce Kawin, who wrote the notes accompanying the DVD, says that The Most Dangerous Game was made to induce RKO into shooting King Kong, while Carlos Clarens in An Illustrated History of Horror and Science fiction Films states that the two films were made simultaneously.Read more ›
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Topic From this Discussion
Forgot name of anthology containing "The Most Dangerous Game"
Hi, the author of The Most Dangerous Game is Richard Connell. There was a collection called The Most Dangerous Game and Other Stories published in 1970 by Berkley Highland. The isbn is: 0425015378. It features a shirtless man w/ a knife fighting off 2 wolf-like creatures. It contains the... Read More
Oct 31, 2012 by J. Santoro |  See all 2 posts
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