Monday, January 14, 2008

Man Hunt (Fritz Lang, 1941)

***½
USA



Fritz Lang's anti-Nazi propaganda thriller opens with one of several startling sequences: in a windy, secluded German forest, we see Hitler through a gunman's crosshairs, then the gunman takes a 'practice' shot. Subsequently, the gunman is revealed to be American-accented Walter Pidgeon playing an aristocratic English game hunter (in his defence, he does say 'cahn't' instead of 'cain't'), while the Nazi commander is played by George Sanders, speaking awkward German and flawless English. The film's conception of Britain and the British also includes a misjudged cardboard cityscape and a gut-busting attempt at Cockney by (the ravishingly beautiful) Joan Bennett. It gets difficult to determine whether you should it all that seriously, even though Fritz Lang is patently desperate that you do. The suspense setpieces at least, are handled with the expertise you'd expect.

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