One of the best-loved of Lang's spy dramas, MAN HUNT is a superbly exciting, tightly constructed picture which stars Pidgeon, terrific as Thorndike, a big-game hunter in the Bavarian Alps who accidentally discovers that he has a chance to assassinate Hitler. Apprehended by Gestapo leader Quive-Smith (Sanders), he refuses to sign a confession and is beaten and left for dead. With the help of a friendly youngster (McDowall), Thorndike stows away on a Danish steamer. Also on board, however, is the mysterious, umbrella-wielding Mr. Jones (Carradine), who has Thorndike's passport and has taken his identity. Befriended by a friendly cockney prostitute (Bennett, rarely better) in London, Thorndike eventually has a memorable showdown with Jones in a subway tunnel. Our dashing hero isn't out of danger yet, though; Quive-Smith threatens as well, and it's up to a hatpin to save the day.
Theatrical Release: June 13th, 1941
DVD Review: 20th Century Fox - Region 1 - NTSC
|DVD Box Cover||
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|Distribution||20th Century Fox Home Video - Region 1 - NTSC|
Average Bitrate: 6.86 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s
NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.
|Audio||English (Dolby Digital mono), English (Dolby Digital 2.0)|
|Subtitles||English, French, Spanish, None|
by author Patrick McGilligan
Mitch tells us in email: "I just got the DVD "Man Hunt" from Amazon and the image appears to be fine as far as sharpness and artifacts. However, part way through the film the right side of the monochrome image takes on a faint greenish tinge, sort of like the monochrome of Kino discs. And sometimes on a plain white background (like the sky when Jones releases his pigeon messenger, or on the letter that Thorndike opens in his cave) there is some chroma. I also notice the film clips in the documentary appear greenish. I don't see the same thing on your screen captures, but the problem isn't in the early part of the film. It happens some time later about the time Thorndike boards the freighter, perhaps when the disc changes layers. Have you noticed this? I was wondering if I have a defective disc. Please let me know what you think. I do want a good copy of this great movie. I know the problem is not with my TV or disc player. I've had no similar problems with other discs. Thanks." (Thank YOU Mitch!)
The restoration has some strong moments. There are also other parts where the 'repair' seems to have been more prominently focused - turning damage marks or other weaknesses into highly watchable scenes. Few will notice the lesser spots and the dual-layered DVD supports a wonderful presentation. Contrast looks strong with some possible minor black levels boosting but there is some noise in the muddier backgrounds. Close-ups show surprising detail. Yes, this is very good with decent greytones and no untoward manipulations. Fox has done this title quite proud for standard definition.
Audio gives the option of 2.0 channel stereo or original mono. Purists may opt for the latter but I didn't note a lot of difference (both being clear and consistent) although my testing was limited. There are optional yellow subtitles in English, Spanish or French and the disc is coded for region 1 in the NTSC standard.
Patrick McGilligan (author of many books including Fritz Lang: The Nature of the Beast) doesn't sound totally comfortable but the commentary seems to flow more smoothly as it progresses. The first half seems scripted and the rest less formal. He reflects on the novel that the film was based; Rogue Male. Aside from being a bit dry - it is very professional and he is quite prepared - imparting layer after layer of valuable information - some on Fritz Lang's ability to follow studio edict or infuse his film's with more of his own vision. No question this guy knows his stuff! I felt I learned a great deal. There is also a 17-minute 'Making of...' that has McGilligan and others giving input over segments of the film and other production details. It's quite good although I felt it could have been longer. A comparison is shown between the film transfer and the restoration, but I honestly don't see much in these as the image is only half the DVD screen. There is also a trailer and some galleries (Advertising, Artwork, Stills) available in a click-thru fashion.
I don't know of too many film fans who would pass on this title. It's so encouraging to see this restored and available now on DVD. The film is a pure classic and the commentary and extras add essential value to the package that is being offered for only $10. I'd have paid triple myself. Strongly recommended.