Man Hunt (1941): The Thriller As Propaganda

Man Hunt (1941)

An entertaining thriller set in London on the eve of WW2 from Fritz Lang filmed a la noir, with inspired photography from Arthur Miller.  A suave English gentleman adventurer is pursued by Nazis through dark fog-laden streets.

Man Hunt (1941)

Walter Pidgeon is charming as a toff game-hunter turned animal liberationist, who takes a pot-shot at Hitler at his rustic German residence, is caught, then escapes, and makes it back to London as a stow-away, into a trap that he eludes with the help of a young cockney lass, played by Joan Bennett, who is as cute as a button.  The dastardly Nazi villain is played with relish and aplomb by George Sanders.

The dark and earnest mood is lightened by a wryly humorous and witty script.

They don’t make movies like this anymore. A must-see.

15 thoughts on “Man Hunt (1941): The Thriller As Propaganda”

  1. Hi! Tony D’Ambra,
    According, to the link below this title Man Hunt is expected to be released on dvd soon!….(My *finger are crossed*)(Because somtimes the distributors?!?, studios?!?, or powers-that-be
    postpone titles that are set to be released (sometimes at the last minute!) such as the recently postponed “The Man on the Eiffel Tower.” Btw, I have never watched this film before therefore, I guess that I will have t seek it out!

    ps D’Ambra said, “An entertaining thriller set in London on the eve of WW2 from Fritz Lang filmed a la noir, with inspired photography from Arthur Miller.”(Is this the same Arthur Miller, that penned “Death of a Saleman?”) Wow!

    dcd 😉


  2. I do like this film for its entertainment value, Tony, and Walter Pidgeon and George Sanders are both winning in their respective roles. Good review that gives this somewhat obscure picture a rare moment in the spotlight.


  3. I bet Allan has seen this, (there is virtually nothing he hasn’t seen) but sad to admit I have not. Tony, am I missing something here? There appears to be only two short paragraphs comprising your review, unless you intended that. I am buoyed by DCD’s announcement of the impending DVD, and I will surely get my copy, but I am perplexed at having let this one slip by for so long. Anything with Mssrs. Pidgeon and Sanders of course is to persue, so I await the release. Nice capsule in any case.


  4. Nice piece, Tony, but I feel this film has been overrated in some quarters. It’s quite a schematic piece, part propaganda, but with a laughably unlikely plot and an atrocious attempt at cockney from Joan Bennett which should carry a Government Health Warning.

    Sam’s let more things slip by him than a paraplegic nailed to a conveyor belt…


  5. Haha, Allan, yes, Joan Bennett’s cockney accent is nothing less than “atrocious.” The film is very schematic, with an unlikely plot, but I found it worth watching for Pidgeon, Sanders and much of the atmospherics.


  6. I must say I did a double-take when I saw all the comments this am.

    This movie is an ‘entertainment’ in the sense used by Graham Greene to describe some of his early novels such as Orient Express, so I considered a short review adequate. It is a film I would have loved as a boy. Sometimes it is so much fun to go back to those days, when I lay in front of the b&w TV mesmerised by similar adventures. Yes, the plot is contrived but who cares when you are having fun – you just lower the usual suspension of disbelief threshold a notch or two.

    Ok, when Joan Bennett, first opens her mouth, you are reminded of a whining cockney feline, but hey, she is so cute, her over-acting so engaging, and character so utterly disarming, that I forgive her anything and everything…

    Btw, Allan’s old mate Halliwell gave it 2 stars!!


  7. Tony D’Ambra said, “No Dcd, this is another Arthur Miller – Arthur C. Miller to be exact. Check him out at IMDB – he had a long and prolific career as a cinematographer.” Tony D’Ambra, ahh!…now do I know who is who? You betcha!
    A little bit of trivia that I found out about (Arthur C. Miller) over there on IMDb: He was the President of the American Society of Cinematographers (ASC) 1954-1956.
    Awards:Won 3 Oscars. Another 4 nominations more…
    A couple of films that are considered “noir(s)”
    under his belt!…interesting!
    The Prowler (1951)
    Whirlpool (1949)
    Dragonwyck (Gothic Noir)
    and Johnny Apollo
    (I hope to watch this film soon!)
    I would be “remissed” not to mention the couple of 100s films “under his cinematographer belt” that aren’t considered film noirs. Which is way to “vast” for me to mention here in D’Ambra’s “house” (Btw, I look upon every blogger “blog” as (his/her) “home” and upon entering or posting a comment, respect him, her and it!… ha! Oops!…I didn’t mean to digress)…Therefore, if the link open check out his (Miller’s) films “cred”entials.
    dcd 😉


  8. Excellent and instantly understandable point about lowering one’s standard suspension of disbelief a notch or two, Tony, especially in order to be swep along with an entertainment such as this, something I do with great regularity considering the unhealthily voluminous number of film of all kinds I watch.


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