Man Hunt Fritz Lang

Even though it was deprived of a VHS release, Man Hunt, one of Fritz Lang's best American films, is finally being issued on DVD. Once again, Fox Home Video has succeeded in restoring one of their archival gems, an important film in Lang's filmography, as well as in the film noir canon. In the opening scene of Man Hunt, big game hunter Alan Thorndike (Walter Pidegon) creeps past Nazi guards and catches Adolf Hitler in the sights of his rifle. He's caught by SS officers but tries to explain to monocle-wearing Nazi bad guy Quive Smith (George Sanders) that it was a "sporting stalk," for the hunt only, not the kill. Smith turns the tables on Thorndike, releasing him only to chase and hunt him through the continent, eventually leading to a showdown between the two. The film also features a ten-year-old Roddy McDowell and John Carradine as one of the dastardly villains. There are some very silly elements to Man Hunt: Joan Bennett, who plays Thorndike's love interest, has a ridiculous Dick Van Dyke-esque, cockney accent. But overall, the film is a terrific thriller, enlivened by Lang's expressionistic sensibilities, which lend a noir style to the visuals. The film was made in 1941, predating both the recognized rise of film noir and America's involvement in WWII. Lang, who famously fled Nazi Germany for Hollywood, uses the film to condemn Hitler's regime, and the film's conclusion blatantly solicits America's intervention. Though controversial at the time, once the U.S. entered the war at the end of 1941 Man Hunt became almost prototypical for the kind of anti-Nazi populist thrillers that dominated cinema. Special features include a wonderful short documentary on the making of the film, information on the film's restoration and a commentary track with Patrick McGilligan, author of Fritz Lang: Nature of the Beast, which is somewhat dry but rewardingly informative. (Fox)