. . . which means it had been read by everyone, but that never stops them. "Say, this wildly popular book we're making into a movie - folks already know the story. Won't that be a problem?" Not for Hollywood; they change it all around just enough to irritate the people who came to see the thing converted into flickering spirits.
It concerns a fellow tromping around Germany who just happens to find himself in a remote woods with the Fuhrer in his rifle sight. Was he trying to assassinate him? You might think, well, yeah, it's a black-and-white movie. But "Man Hunt" was released before the United States' entry into the war, and there's genuine ambiguity about whether the sportsman was trying to kill Hitler.
Which makes it all rather odd.
He’s captured, and interrogated by . . .
Col. Sanders, if you will, wearing the most modern monocle posible. Look at that guy! This is why we should fear the Nazis: snappy dressers, good with accessories, and fanatical. Here’s our hero:
An aristocratic gent who’s really down-to-earth, and has the English toff-moniker of Alan Thorndike; played by Walter Pidgeon. Doesn’t look much like the guy who’d play Dr. Morbius in “Forbidden Planet” 15 years later.
He escapes, and flees back to England pursued by Nazis. A beautiful young woman of the night gets caught up in his story. He’s on the run, because the Nazis want him to sign a confession that he tried to kill Hitler. Then they’d have an excuse . . . for war!
Reviews from people who read the book said they made an utter hash of it.
IMDB reviewers rave. A few lone voices say "look, this is nonsense, most of it, and the romance - which wasn't in the book - gums it all up." Granted. But there's a reason to see it: Fritz Lang directs.
Almost everything he made in Hollywood was a disappointment compared to “Metropolis” and “M” - it’s almost impossible to think that the same fellow made “Metropolis” - not because it’s so spectacular and everything else is so bad, but because you don’t find a guy shifting from visionary budget-busting sci-fi to small noirs. And they’re disappointing because they seem ordinary. There are few visual touches that make you stop. Except, of course, when he slips something in.
Nazis: they have the best offices.
The clubby civilized jolly-good English office, by the way:
It has a few noir shots that remind you what Lang could do:
It has a spooky villain, the Nazi agent played by John Carradine, above - nine feet of gaunt Nazi menace.
And then there’s this kid.
There was something about him that made me think - I've heard that voice. Or rather the personality behind it. And so I had. This was his 17th movie; he'd made dozens more. He's been dead for many years - but he lived long enough to be a kid in one of the first anti-Nazi movies Hollywood made . . . and a voice in a Pixar movie. Oh, and an ape.
Strib blog and Tumblr up & running in the afternoon; see you there, and have a grand day.
Oh, right, the answer. It represents success because I came to the end of the seasonal-patterned Bounty Towels just as the holidays ended.
Surely that's a good omen.