Watched Jul 11, 2012
Everett Jones’s review:
This '50s take on THE MOST DANGEROUS GAME reduces the original story's perverse dimensions, motivating its villains with recent history instead of the purely sadistic pathology of 'Count Zaroff.' Much of the fun here comes simply from spending time with the cast: Richard Widmark cast against type as a rugged, Hemingway-like author/adventure; the lovely, and too-little-seen, film noir siren Jane Greer; the creepy Peter Van Eyck, and the always-great Trevor Howard as the lead villain. And it can really feel like you're hanging out with them in this, not slow paced, but certainly unusually relaxed adventure movie. This might be the only version of the MOST DANGEROUS GAME story where the villains are almost sympathetic, since putting aside what we learn about their pasts, Van Eyck and Howard are as driven by survival as the heroes. In these elements, both the villain's unreconstructed viciousness and the tight pacing, the original 1932 version feels more up to contemporary action standards than this film, which is most entertaining in its full datedness as an Eisenhower-era, Vistavision-shot travelogue/potboiler.