Man Hunt

Screening on Film
Directed by Fritz Lang.
With Walter Pidgeon, Joan Bennett, George Sanders.
US, 1941, 35mm, black & white, 102 min.
Print source: Criterion Pictures

Never one to shy away from a sensational pulp setup, Lang opens his first anti-Nazi film with the protagonist lining up the Führer himself in his rifle sight. Equally characteristic, Lang’s camerawork and editing emphasizes the murky motivations underlying this dream of power. After evading his Nazi captors, Walter Pidgeon’s gentleman hunter leads German agents on a thrilling chase through a carefully arranged series of confined spaces: the hold of a ship, an abandoned subway tunnel and a prototypically Langian standoff around the opening of a cave. Pidgeon’s relative affectlessness in the lead role makes his character strangely interchangeable with George Sanders’ cocksure German, a fellow hunter jauntily sporting Lang’s signature monocle. Even in a film with obvious propaganda value for the Allied cause, the director cannot help but blur the distinctions between Good and Evil. 

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