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Based on Geoffrey Household's hit novel Rogue Male, Man Hunt itself became a big hit on the eve of World War II. It's still a grabber because Lang, abetted by top Fox cameraman Arthur Miller, art directors Richard Day and Wiard B. Ihnen, and composer Alfred Newman, created a brilliantly atmospheric and entirely studio-bound world--just like the old days at Ufa, but with superior production resources. The film is Germanic to the max, with imagery of fierce angularity and chiaroscuro, literally underground confrontations, and a scenario rife with doppelgängers and secret selves. Gestapo pursuer-in-chief George Sanders rates a bravura introduction, posed ramrod straight in a white uniform in a white room with a white mountain vista outside ... and yes, he has a monocle (like Lang's). Man Hunt marked Lang's initial association with two future partners: screenwriter Dudley Nichols, who would script the director's American masterpiece Scarlet Street, and actress Joan Bennett, who starred in three more Lang pictures. Her character--a little English streetwalker, not that the Production Code allowed her to be acknowledged as such--is key to the movie's potent emotional wallop (she anticipates the Gloria Grahame role in The Big Heat). As Lang told an interviewer three decades later, she "had all my heart." Which also cuts two ways. --Richard T. Jameson
- Commentary by author Patrick McGilligan
- Rogue Mate: The Making of Man Hunt
- Original theatrical trailer
- Restoration comparison
- Advertising, artwork, and still galleries
Top Customer Reviews
Briskly paced and edited, "Man Hunt" remains a tense thriller throughout its 105 minute running time, right up to its suspenseful climax. Seldom screened on television or in revival, and never before released on video, this classic film (which enjoys a small but avid cult following) has been long-awaited and arrives highly recommended.
Commentary by Author Patrick McGilligan
Rogue Male: The Making of Man Hunt
I have heard this is being released to coincide with the DVD release of Tom Cruise's Valkyries. Even though that movie is not as good as this one, I'll take it any way I can get it. This is somewhat like the release of the Dracula - The Legacy Collection (Dracula / Dracula (1931 Spanish Version) / Dracula's Daughter / Son of Dracula / House of Dracula) as a publicity stunt for the laughable CGI-fest Van Helsing (Widescreen Edition). Sometimes great films from the past emerge on DVD as a result of publicizing the films of the present.
A welcome addition to my DVD collection.
Man Hunt became the first war film to attract the attention of the then-neutral America's Hays censorship Office. Joseph Breen was alarmed by the script when he read it in 1941, calling it a "hate film." Yes, Lang did hate Nazis (National Socialists). Breen felt the isolationist atmosphere of 1941 America, the film showed all Germans as evil, unlike other films showing both good non-Nazi Germans as well as evil National Socialists. ( I don't remember any "good" Nazis in Casablanca either! )
Breen insisted that the Germans could not be characterised as so brutal. The US censorship office would pass the film only if it would "indicate" brutality rather than show it. Therefore, it did not show Thorndike's torture but left it in the mind of the audience.
Darryl F. Zanuck was also worried about Lang's anti-Nazi enthusiasm and banned him from the editing room. However, Lang and his associate Gene Fowler, Jr. secretly edited the film without Zanuck's approval.
Concerned about America's neutrality, Congressional hearings were making progress about this film. However after December 7, 1941 all investigations concerning the film were dropped. In light of what we now know about Nazi Germany, it is clear that the producers and director had it about right.
DVD has excellent picture and sound. Highly recommended.
My only (small) negative comment is the fact that the DVD case is one of those environmentally damaging, thin cases, with holes in it. This case has to be thrown away and replaced with a more substantial one.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Suspenseful without being morbid. Good acting even though it is dated as far as technology is concerned.Published 2 months ago by Nancy B Brown
OK, before there was Indiana Jones, there was Rogue Male. Both were gentleman adventurers, great with women and hated Nazis! Read morePublished 2 months ago by Michael Bee
A lot of people, myself included, like to think about certain historical events in the conditional-the “what if’s” of history. You know what if Robert E. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Alfred Johnson
This is an odd film with a plot one must conclude was at least in part shaped by political correctness. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Tom Diaz
Entertaining propaganda film, which is directed by Fritz Lang. Parts of the movie are brilliant and other parts are clunky due to the propaganda aspects of making all Germans evil... Read morePublished 8 months ago by Eric B.