August 2, 2014

FRITZ LANG MAN HUNT

New release: Screen Archives Entertainment and Twilight Time have announced that Fritz Lang's classic film, Man Hunt, is coming to Blu-ray! Lang had fled to America from Germany in the mid-1930s and Man Hunt was the first of his anti-Nazi films produced in the States. The story centers around a big game hunter (Walter Pidgeon) who is captured in the woods near Hitler's country retreat with a sniper rifle. Although he claims to have pulled the trigger of his empty gun as a "sporting stalk", the Nazi's are determined to establish him as an official spy/assassin. Pidgeon's character narrowly escapes certain death and makes his way home (with the help of young Roddy McDowall), only to find that he has now become prey to a wicked mahunter (George Sanders) and his web of Nazi spies. More below.


The movie was slightly controversial for its time. Made during a period of neutrality, just before the US entered WWII, the Hayes Office and studio were afraid Man Hunt would be seen as a "hate film" against Germans and that it could insight further political tension. The studio tried to take control of the final cut, but Lang apparently edited the movie in secret to his satisfaction. Man Hunt made its debut on June 13th, 1941. By September of 1941, FDR order all warships to fire on German vessels found in US defensive waters (from America across the North Atlantic to Great Britain). The United States officially entered the war in December, putting Man Hunt on the forefront of public imagination. Lang may have even seemed prophetic, just as his work had commented on the rise of the National Socialist party in the early 1930s. Other major anti-Nazi films like Casablanca followed Man Hunt a year and a half later. Fritz Lang was the master of expressionist thrillers and his work had a lasting influence on Alfred Hitchcock and other directors. Lang essentials: MSpies, Testament of Dr. Mabuse, 1,000 Eyes of Dr. MabuseMinistry of Fear, Cloak and Dagger, and MetroplolisMan Hunt was based on the 1939 novel, Rogue Male, by Geoffrey Household (1900-1988). The book was also adapted for a TV movie (Rogue Male/1977), starring Peter O'Toole, Alastair Sim, Harold Pinter, and Michael Byrne. Blu-ray info below.


From SAE: "Director Fritz Lang’s masterful Man Hunt (1941), made before the United States had entered World War II, is an unabashed call to arms disguised as an expressionistic thriller. It opens with a bang—or lack thereof—as celebrated hunter Alan Thorndike (Walter Pidgeon) draws a “sporting” bead on none other than Adolf Hitler, and promptly finds himself arrested by the Gestapo, led by the sinister Quive-Smith (George Sanders). When Thorndike escapes, the hunter becomes the hunted: pursued through London’s back alleys and subterranean byways by a gang of ruthless Nazis, with only a love-struck girl of the streets (Joan Bennett) to help him." Limited edition of 3,000 units. Region free. 1080p 1.33:1. Special features include commentary track, isolated score, making-of documentary, and theatrical trailer.


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