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The Most Dangerous Game (film)

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The Most Dangerous Game is a 1932 pre-Code adaptation of the 1924 short story of the same name by Richard Connell,2 the first film version of that story The plot concerns a big game hunter on an island who hunts humans for sport The film stars Joel McCrea, Leslie Banks, and King Kong leads Fay Wray and Robert Armstrong,2 and was made by a team including Ernest B Schoedsack2 and Merian C Cooper,2 the co-directors of King Kong 1933 The film was shot at night on the King Kong jungle sets


  • 1 Plot
  • 2 Cast in credits order
  • 3 Production
  • 4 Reception
  • 5 Home video and colorization
  • 6 Adaptations and influence
  • 7 See also
  • 8 References
  • 9 External links


In 1932, a luxury yacht is sailing through a channel off the western coast of South America The captain is worried about the channel lights not matching the charts, but is quickly dissuaded from changing course by the wealthy passengers for the sake of time, including famous big game hunter and author Bob Rainsford Joel McCrea It is a calm evening, with the cheerful passengers relaxing over drinks and a game of cards Bob and his companions are debating about whether hunting is at all sporting for the animal being hunted after a friend asks if he would exchange places with a tiger he had recently hunted in Africa Bob replies that there are two kinds of people in the world: those who hunt and those who are hunted

The ship suddenly runs aground, causing the ship to take on water and heave violently Water floods the boiler room, causing the ship to explode and sink into the channel Rainsford and two others manage to get away and cling to wreckage, but the other survivors are eaten by a shark He swims to a small, lush island Wandering through the jungle, he sees the channel lights off the shoreline change, and suspects the ship was deliberately led off course to its doom

He stumbles across a luxury chateau where he becomes the guest of the expatriate Russian Count Zaroff Leslie Banks, a fellow hunting enthusiast Zaroff remarks that Rainsford's misfortune is not uncommon; in fact, four people from the previous sinking are still staying with him: Eve Trowbridge Fay Wray, her brother Martin Robert Armstrong, and two sailors

That night, Zaroff introduces Rainsford to the Trowbridges and reveals his obsession with hunting During one of his hunts, a Cape buffalo inflicted a head wound on him He eventually became bored of the sport, to his great consternation, until he discovered "the most dangerous game" on his island Rainsford asks if he means tigers, but Zaroff denies it

Later, Eve shares her suspicions of Zaroff's intentions with the newcomer The count took each sailor to see his trophy room, on different days, and both have mysteriously disappeared She believes their host is responsible, but Bob is unconvinced Then Martin vanishes as well In their search for him, Rainsford and Eve end up in Zaroff's trophy room, where they find a man's head mounted on the wall Then, Zaroff and his men appear, carrying Martin's body Zaroff expects Rainsford to view the matter as he does, and is gravely disappointed when Bob calls him a madman

He decides that, as Bob refuses to be a fellow hunter, he must be the next prey If Rainsford can stay alive until sunrise, Zaroff promises him and Eve their freedom However, he has never lost the game of what he calls "outdoor chess" Eve decides to go with Rainsford The two initially succeed in avoiding Zaroff and his dogs

Eventually, they are trapped by a waterfall When Rainsford is attacked by a hunting dog, Zaroff shoots and the young man falls into the water Zaroff takes Eve back to his fortress to enjoy his prize However, the dog was shot, not Rainsford

Rainsford eventually shows up while Zaroff plays the piano for pleasure Zaroff says Rainsford has beaten him and gives him the key to the boathouse, but Rainsford discovers him holding a gun behind his back Rainsford fights first Zaroff, then his henchmen, killing the henchmen and mortally wounding Zaroff As Rainsford and Eve speed away in a motor boat, the dying Zaroff tries to shoot them Unsuccessful, he succumbs to his wounds He falls out of a window into the pack of his frenzied hunting dogs

Cast in credits orderedit

  • Joel McCrea as Robert "Bob" Rainsford
  • Fay Wray as Eve Trowbridge
  • Leslie Banks as Count Zaroff
  • Robert Armstrong as Martin Trowbridge
  • Noble Johnson as Ivan
  • Steve Clemente as Tartar
  • Dutch Hendrian as Servant
  • William B Davidson as Captain


The Most Dangerous Game was filmed at night on the King Kong sets with two King Kong leads, Fay Wray and Robert Armstrongcitation needed


The film made a profit of $70,000 during its first year of release1 The Most Dangerous Game currently holds a 100% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoescitation needed

Home video and colorizationedit

The Most Dangerous Game lapsed into the public domain in 1960 and has since seen a plethora of budget releases The first high quality edition was via a 1995 LaserDisc from the ROAN Group3 In 1999, Criterion released a restored DVD featuring an audio commentary by film historian Bruce Eder The film was initially colorized in 1992 and again, using improved technology, in 2008 by Legend Films, who subsequently released their version on DVD alongside the B&W version4

In 2012, Flicker Alley released the film on a region-free Blu-ray; this version was restored from the original 35mm studio fine grain master by film preservionist David Shepard5 The Blu-ray also included Gow the Headhunter 1931 aka Cannibal Island, an audio commentry for each film and an audio interview with Merian C Cooper, conducted by film historian Kevin Brownlow

Adaptations and influenceedit

Main article: The Most Dangerous Game § Adaptations

The Richard Connell short story has been adapted for film a number of times, and its basic concept has been borrowed for numerous films and episodes of television series Gilligan's Island, Lost in Space, Get Smart, Fantasy Island, Slave Girls from Beyond Infinity and Predators among others

The 1932 film was referenced in the plot of the David Fincher movie Zodiac 2007 Jake Gyllenhaal's character recognizes quotes from the film in letters from the Zodiac Killer sent to the newspaper office where he works

See alsoedit

  • List of films with a 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, a film review aggregator website


  1. ^ a b c Richard Jewel, 'RKO Film Grosses: 1931-1951', Historical Journal of Film Radio and Television, Vol 14 No 1, 1994 p39
  2. ^ a b c d Hall, Mordaunt November 21, 1932 "The Most Dangerous Game 1932 Leslie Banks in a Fantastic Tale of a Mad Russian Hunter" The New York Times 
  3. ^ "The Most Dangerous Game: Collector's Edition 1932" LDDbcom Retrieved 6 January 2017 
  4. ^ "The Most Dangerous Game: Legend Films' DVD" legendfilmscom Retrieved 6 January 2017 
  5. ^ "Full disclosure: I co-produced this BD and want to share info" Amazoncom Retrieved 6 January 2017 

External linksedit

  • The Most Dangerous Game at the American Film Institute Catalog
  • The Most Dangerous Game on Internet Movie Database
  • The Most Dangerous Game is available for free download at the Internet Archive
  • The Most Dangerous Game at the TCM Movie Database
  • The Most Dangerous Game at AllMovie
  • Criterion Collection essay by Bruce Kawin
  • The Most Dangerous Game at Rotten Tomatoes

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