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Man Hunt

4.0 out of 5 stars 81 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Based on Geoffrey Household's best-selling 1939 novel, "Rogue Male," a British game hunter takes aim at the biggest prize of all, Adolf Hitler. Captured and tortured, the hunter becomes the hunted as Nazi spies pursue him back to England in a desperate fight to the death.

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Fritz Lang was in peak form as a Hollywood studio director when he made Man Hunt (1941), a terrific thriller whose title, like so many things Langian, cuts two ways. First, Capt. Alan Thorndike (Walter Pidgeon), celebrated English big-game hunter, is caught near Berchtesgaden just as he's drawn a bead on Adolf Hitler. Thorndike claims he had no intention to shoot, it was just "a sporting stalk"--a notion mystifying to his Nazi captors, who aim to parade him before the world as a British government assassin. There follows a harrowing escape, in a forest primeval straight out of Die Nibelungen, and now it's Thorndike who's the quarry, pursued across Europe and home to foggy London--not that he finds much refuge there.

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


Special Features

  • Commentary by author Patrick McGilligan
  • Rogue Mate: The Making of Man Hunt
  • Original theatrical trailer
  • Restoration comparison
  • Advertising, artwork, and still galleries

Product Details

  • Actors: Walter Pidgeon, Joan Bennett, George Sanders, John Carradine, Roddy McDowall
  • Directors: Fritz Lang
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Black & White, Dubbed, Full Screen, Subtitled, Closed-captioned, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 1.0), English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo), Spanish (Mono)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
  • Dubbed: Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    NR
    Not Rated
  • Studio: 20th Century Fox
  • DVD Release Date: May 19, 2009
  • Run Time: 102 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (81 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B001SMC9L2
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #24,616 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Man Hunt" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By J. Michael Click on March 31, 2009
Format: DVD
Taut direction and splendid performances distinguish this World War II thriller about a big game hunter pursued by Nazis after he is caught targeting Hitler in his gunsights, and manages to escape back to Britain. Walter Pidgeon is fine as the stalwart "Rogue Male" (the film's original title, taken from the book on which the script was based), and George Sanders is supremely villainous as the crafty Nazi who is tracking him. On the distaff side, Joan Bennett is touching and convincing as an ill-fated Cockney streetwalker who is caught up in the conflict between warring ideologies; this is the first film of four that she made with director Fritz Lang, for whom she gave some of her finest film performances in the mid-forties (including "The Woman in the Window" and "Scarlet Street", made for their own independent company, Diana Productions).

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.
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Format: DVD
"Man Hunt" is an excellent thriller that doesn't look like it is almost seventy years old, and is one of my favorite Fritz Lang films. Ahead of its time in the complexity of its characters, it is about a British hunter (Walter Pidgeon) who contemplates assassinating Hitler when he gets him in his gun sight and gets caught doing so. Left for dead at the bottom of a cliff by the authorities, he lives and makes his way to a boat on its way to London. However, on the ship there is someone all too interested in his story. Soon he realizes he is being followed. Back in London he turns to Joan Bennett for help. If I'm getting the details wrong, it's because it's been about ten years since I've seen this one anywhere. Lang manages to do a very good job of portraying the Nazis in a more complex and articulate manner than other films of this time period (it was made in 1941). The following is the list of extras:
Commentary by Author Patrick McGilligan
Rogue Male: The Making of Man Hunt
Restoration Comparison
Trailer
Interactive Pressbook
Still Gallery

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.
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Format: DVD
I have loved this film for many years and have awaited it coming out on video. That said, the restoration looks great compared to TV versions I've seen. I've only seen a few minutes of the documentary plus the trailer, but these features seem to be more than on most older films. It's an exciting story played out against the backdrop of early WWII (even if the central premise is a bit far-fetched.) This is one movie I can watch several times and still enjoy.
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This is an icon movie set in Nazi Germany and Great Britain, perfect cast: Walter Pidgeon-Joan Bennet-George Sanders-John Carradine and a new kid/star, Roddy McDowall...it's all about a world/class game hunter who inadvertantly decides to assassinate, Adolph Hitler, just to prove it can be accomplished...it gets botched and the SS/Gestapo chase is on to hunt down and capture the worldy hunter from Germany to London...probably the most thrilling scene is the chase in the subway tunnel of underground London town...another is Pidgeon's expertise in the field to...improvise...at the end of the chase in a swampy area [well done]...the art/direction is superb [like you are there]...many little intrigues populate this fine film made during the WW2 years...you are in for a good Hollywood treat and a run [no pun] for your money...sit back and enjoy this movie [DVD] whenever it gets transferred to DVD....SSGT CHRIS SARNO-USMC FMF....PS.....FYI, the British/novel was entitled, "Rogue Male" and Peter O'Toole starred in the remake [the role of Walter Pidgeon]...it can't measure up to the "Manhunt" movie edition...not even close. folks.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Movie resulted in Congressional hearings because it was, "pro-British"

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.
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