A Game of Death


1h 12m 1945

Brief Synopsis

A novelist and a pair of siblings are among the innocents stranded on remote island at the mercy of Nazi madman.

Film Details

Also Known As
The Most Dangerous Game
Release Date
Jan 1945
Premiere Information
New York opening: week of 23 Nov 1945
Production Company
RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.
Distribution Company
RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the short story "The Most Dangerous Game" by Richard Edward Connell in Collier's (19 Jan 1924).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 12m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
6,486ft

Synopsis

Lured too close to shore by misplaced channel lights, the yacht carrying noted big game hunter and author Don Rainsford hits a corral reef and sinks, throwing its passengers and crew into shark-infested waters. Rainsford, the sole survivor, swims ashore and makes his way to a mysterious-looking fortress. Inside, he is greeted by Eric Kreiger, the master of the house, and his servant Pleshke. Kreiger, a fervent hunter, recognizes Rainsford's name and insists that he join him and his guests for dinner. Escorted by Pleshke as he goes to change his wet clothes, Rainsford is puzzled by the bars on the windows. At dinner, after introducing Rainsford to his guests, Ellen Trowbridge and her brother Robert, Kreiger boasts that he bought the island as a hunting preserve and has stocked it with the most dangerous game in the world. After dinner, Ellen tells Rainsford of the disappearance of two other guests and warns him to be wary of Kreiger. As the clock strikes eleven, Kreiger sends his guests to bed, and later that night, Rainsford hears the sounds of dogs baying and a man screaming in the distance. Soon after, Ellen comes to Rainsford's room to ask for help in locating the missing Bob. Finding the door to Kreiger's trophy room unlocked, the two enter and discover the walls are lined with human skulls. Bob, who has unlocked the door, then joins them, and they descend a flight of stairs to a boathouse, arriving just in time to see Kreiger and his servants dock their boat and unload a dead body. The three retreat upstairs in horror, and Rainsford declares that Kreiger is homicidal, having been driven insane by being gored in the head during a hunting accident. Discovering that the windows in Ellen's room have no bars, Rainsford instructs Bob and Ellen to keep Kreiger and his men occupied while he sneaks into the jungle to lay some traps. The next morning, Pleshke becomes suspicious when Ellen delays him at breakfast, but by the time Kreiger goes to search Rainsford's room, Rainsford has slipped into bed and pretends to be asleep. Later, when Kreiger's scar begins to throb, he speaks of a hunt that night. Planning to lure Kreiger into the traps he planted, Rainsford pretends to condone his unique prey and asks to join the hunt. Encouraged by Rainsford's praise, Kreiger admits to moving the lights in the channel to lure ships onto the coral reefs and thus replenish the prey on the island. He then invites Rainsford to join the hunt for Bob. Soon after, Pleshke discovers Rainsford's dirty bedsheets and tells Kreiger that he has been deceived. As the clock strikes eleven that night, Kreiger posts his man-killing dog at the door to Rainsford's room, thus trapping him and thwarting his plan to protect Bob and capture Kreiger. With Rainsford imprisoned in the house, Kreiger begins to stalk Bob, slaying his prey with a well-aimed arrow. Meanwhile, at the house, Rainsford restrains the dog with a harness that he has improvised and runs to the boathouse with Ellen, arriving just as Kreiger returns with Bob's body as his prize. Hoping to lure Kreiger into his trap, Rainsford challenges him to a hunt, and Kreiger accepts, agreeing to free Rainsford if he is still alive at 5:10 a.m., the moment of sunrise. Ellen insists on accompanying Rainsford, and the two disappear into the jungle. After shrewdly avoiding Rainsford's trap, Kreiger trades in his bow and arrow for a high-powered rifle. When Ellen and Rainsford plunge into the mists of Fog Hollow to avoid the range of the rifle, Kreiger sends his dogs after them. The beasts pursue them through the swamps and to a cliff above the ocean. At 5:08, a dog lunges for Rainsford's throat and Kreiger shoots, sending man and beast over the cliff. After recapturing Ellen, Kreiger returns to the house and is playing the piano when the door opens and Rainsford enters. When Rainsford explains that the bullet hit the dog, Kreiger grants him his freedom. Rainsford refuses to leave, however, and announces that Kreiger is now his prey. Kreiger grabs a gun, and as the two struggle, Pleshke joins the fray. As Rainsford and Kreiger tumble behind a couch, the gun fires, wounding Kreiger. After Rainsford shoots Pleshke, he and Ellen run to the launch. Meanwhile, Kreiger struggles to his feet, shoulders his rifle and climbs to a window. While taking aim at the speeding boat, he collapses and falls to his death.

Film Details

Also Known As
The Most Dangerous Game
Release Date
Jan 1945
Premiere Information
New York opening: week of 23 Nov 1945
Production Company
RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.
Distribution Company
RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the short story "The Most Dangerous Game" by Richard Edward Connell in Collier's (19 Jan 1924).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 12m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
6,486ft

Articles

Robert Wise (1914-2005)


Robert Wise, who died at age 91 on September 14, was the noted film editor of Citizen Kane (1941) and other movies before he became a producer and director, and all his works are marked by striking visual rhythms. He is best remembered for two enormously popular musicals, West Side Story (1959) and The Sound of Music (1965), which brought him a total of four Oscars® -- each winning for Best Picture and Best Director. (Wise's directorial award for West Side Story was shared with Jerome Robbins.)

Born on September 10, 1914 in Winchester, Ind., Wise was a child of the Depression who quit college to earn a living in the movie industry. He began as an assistant cutter at RKO, where he worked his way up to the position of film editor and earned an Oscar® nomination for his bravura work with Orson Welles on Citizen Kane. He also edited The Magnificent Ambersons (1942) for Welles, along with several other RKO films.

Wise became a director by default when RKO and producer Val Lewton assigned him to The Curse of the Cat People (1944) after Gunther von Fritsch failed to meet the film's production schedule. Wise turned the film into a first-rate psychological thriller, and enjoyed equal success with another Lewton horror film, The Body Snatcher (1945).

Critical praise also was showered upon Wise's Born to Kill (1947), a crime melodrama; and Blood on the Moon (1948), an unusual psychological Western starring Robert Mitchum. Even more highly regarded was The Set-Up (1949), a no-punches-pulled boxing drama that won the Critics' Prize at the Cannes Film Festival. Wise moved on from RKO in the early 1950s, directing one of the movies' classic alien invasion films, The Day the Earth Stood Still, for 20th Century Fox.

At MGM he directed Executive Suite (1954), a compelling all-star boardroom drama; Somebody Up There Likes Me, a film bio of boxer Rocky Graziano that established Paul Newman as a major star; and The Haunting (1963), a chilling haunted-hause melodrama. His films for United Artists include Run Silent, Run Deep (1958), a submarine drama with Clark Gable and Burt Lancaster; I Want to Live! (1958), a harrowing account of a convicted murderess on Death Row, with Susan Hayward in her Oscar-winning performance; and the crime caper Odds Against Tomorrow (1959).

Wise served as president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and the Directors Guild of America. He was awarded the Academy's Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award in 1966, and the Directors Guild's highest honor, the D.W. Griffith Award, in 1988. He remained active as a director through the 1970s. His final film, Rooftops (1989) was a musical with an urban setting that recalled West Side Story.

The films in TCM's salute to Robert Wise are Citizen Kane (1941), The Magnificent Ambersons (1942), The Curse of the Cat People (1944), The Body Snatcher (1945), Born to Kill (1947), Blood on the Moon (1948), The Set-Up (1949), Executive Suite (1954), Somebody Up There Likes Me (1956), Run Silent, Run Deep (1958), B>West Side Story (1959), Odds Against Tomorrow (1959) and The Haunting (1963).

by Roger Fristoe
Robert Wise (1914-2005)

Robert Wise (1914-2005)

Robert Wise, who died at age 91 on September 14, was the noted film editor of Citizen Kane (1941) and other movies before he became a producer and director, and all his works are marked by striking visual rhythms. He is best remembered for two enormously popular musicals, West Side Story (1959) and The Sound of Music (1965), which brought him a total of four Oscars® -- each winning for Best Picture and Best Director. (Wise's directorial award for West Side Story was shared with Jerome Robbins.) Born on September 10, 1914 in Winchester, Ind., Wise was a child of the Depression who quit college to earn a living in the movie industry. He began as an assistant cutter at RKO, where he worked his way up to the position of film editor and earned an Oscar® nomination for his bravura work with Orson Welles on Citizen Kane. He also edited The Magnificent Ambersons (1942) for Welles, along with several other RKO films. Wise became a director by default when RKO and producer Val Lewton assigned him to The Curse of the Cat People (1944) after Gunther von Fritsch failed to meet the film's production schedule. Wise turned the film into a first-rate psychological thriller, and enjoyed equal success with another Lewton horror film, The Body Snatcher (1945). Critical praise also was showered upon Wise's Born to Kill (1947), a crime melodrama; and Blood on the Moon (1948), an unusual psychological Western starring Robert Mitchum. Even more highly regarded was The Set-Up (1949), a no-punches-pulled boxing drama that won the Critics' Prize at the Cannes Film Festival. Wise moved on from RKO in the early 1950s, directing one of the movies' classic alien invasion films, The Day the Earth Stood Still, for 20th Century Fox. At MGM he directed Executive Suite (1954), a compelling all-star boardroom drama; Somebody Up There Likes Me, a film bio of boxer Rocky Graziano that established Paul Newman as a major star; and The Haunting (1963), a chilling haunted-hause melodrama. His films for United Artists include Run Silent, Run Deep (1958), a submarine drama with Clark Gable and Burt Lancaster; I Want to Live! (1958), a harrowing account of a convicted murderess on Death Row, with Susan Hayward in her Oscar-winning performance; and the crime caper Odds Against Tomorrow (1959). Wise served as president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and the Directors Guild of America. He was awarded the Academy's Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award in 1966, and the Directors Guild's highest honor, the D.W. Griffith Award, in 1988. He remained active as a director through the 1970s. His final film, Rooftops (1989) was a musical with an urban setting that recalled West Side Story. The films in TCM's salute to Robert Wise are Citizen Kane (1941), The Magnificent Ambersons (1942), The Curse of the Cat People (1944), The Body Snatcher (1945), Born to Kill (1947), Blood on the Moon (1948), The Set-Up (1949), Executive Suite (1954), Somebody Up There Likes Me (1956), Run Silent, Run Deep (1958), B>West Side Story (1959), Odds Against Tomorrow (1959) and The Haunting (1963). by Roger Fristoe

Quotes

Trivia

The footage of the hunting dogs is lifted directly from Most Dangerous Game, The (1932).

Notes

The working title of this film was The Most Dangerous Game. According to a pre-production news item in Hollywood Reporter, the film was originally to star John Loder and June Duprez, who were teamed in RKO's 1945 film The Brighton Strangler. Duprez was forced to drop out of the project because of a previous commitment to appear in the 1945 Twentieth Century-Fox film And Then There Were None. Although a Hollywood Reporter production chart places Larry Wheat in the cast, his participation in the released film has not been confirmed.
       Other films based on Richard Edward Connell's short story are the 1932 RKO film The Most Dangerous Game, directed by Ernest B. Schoedsack and Irving Pichel and starring Joel McCrea and Fay Wray (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1931-40; F3.2962) and the 1956 United Artists film Run for the Sun, directed by Roy Boulting and starring Richard Widmark and Jane Greer.

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States Winter February 1946

Remake of "The Most Dangerous Game" (USA/1932).

Released in United States Winter February 1946