"Good heavens, man, I never intended to shoot. I merely wanted to find out if it were possible."
1941 was an interesting time for the US as the country started the year off as a passive, neutral observer of what Germany and Hitler were doing in Europe and ended with the attack on Pearl Harbor, leading the US to officially enter WWII. And while Fritz Lang’s 1941 anti-Nazi film “Man Hunt” was rushed by Darryl F. Zanuck and 20th Century Fox into production then subsequently theatres to be current, they still had to contend with the Production Code and how the film would be seen by people while the Neutrality Act was still in effect. It’s a film that reflects the time in which it was made really well, giving us insight now not just how the filmmakers were thinking, but how society and the government were all thinking and working together (or against each other).
Join us – Pete Wright and Andy Nelson – as we continue our Fritz Lang series with “Man Hunt.” We talk about why this film is still such an interesting glimpse into what was going on in the late 30s/early 40s and how people were thinking. We chat about Lang and what he brings to the table paired with Dudley Nichols, the screenwriter, and how he adapted the source material, often in ways that make us scratch our heads. We look at the opening sequence of the film and talk about how powerful it is, likely even moreso at the time of its release. We discuss Walter Pidgeon, Joan Bennett, George Sanders, John Carradine, Roddy McDowall and the rest of the cast, deliberating on how well they did (or didn’t) do and whether any of them are any good at accents. We discuss the opening and closing shots of the film, looking at the imagery of the hunt and how it works in both contexts. And we look at the beautiful black-and-white cinematography by Arthur Miller and how well he worked with Lang here to give us some frightening urban night scenes that would fit perfectly in many of Lang’s films.
The film may have story issues and some performances that we struggle with, but it’s still an interesting film to watch with some powerful moments that really stand out as pure Lang. Check it out then tune in!
- Watch this film: iTunes • Amazon
- Original theatrical trailer
- Original poster artwork
- Rogue Male by Geoffrey Household