Richard Connell

Bloodlust! (1961, Ralph Brooke)

What’s startling about Bloodlust! isn’t how bad it gets–the film opens on a docked ship, with the principal cast pretending it’s moving violently so the bad is obvious straight away–but how many not bad elements there are to the film. None of them are enough to make Bloodlust! worthwhile, unless someone’s a big June Kenney fan or “Brady Bunch” enthusiast.

Kenney gives a good performance as the level-headed girl. She’s dating Robert Reed, who isn’t any good. He’s not as bad as he could be–Eugene Persson is pretty lame as the other guy (Bloodlust! is a little like “Scooby-Doo (without the dog) meets The Most Dangerous Game”). As the other girl, Persson’s girlfriend, Joan Lora is appealing but bad. Out of nowhere, though, Kenney will turn in some fantastic scene and it’s inexplicable why she’s in this picture.

As the manhunting madman, Wilton Graff does an amiable job chewing the construction paper scenery. Director Brooke is not a dynamic director, not one bit; he does like blood and gore effects though, which occasionally gives the film a pulse. He cuts to hide the lack of action. It goes from an arrow firing to an arrow hitting, for example. It’s budget conscious but Brooke and editor Harold V. McKenzie don’t cut the sound right.

Strangely, Brooke has some good ideas in the script. He improves on Dangerous Game standards. Plus, he gives Kenney to do than the boys.

Bloodlust! is short, bad, dumb and mildly amusing.

0/4ⓏⒺⓇⓄ

CREDITS

Produced and directed by Ralph Brooke; screenplay by Brooke, based on a story by Richard Connell; director of photography, Richard E. Cunha; edited by Harold V. McKenzie; music by Michael Terr; released by Crown International Pictures.

Starring Wilton Graff (Dr. Albert Balleau), June Kenney (Betty Scott), Robert Reed (Johnny Randall), Eugene Persson (Pete Garwood), Joan Lora (Jeanne Perry), Troy Patterson (Captain Tony), Walter Brooke (Dean Gerrard), Lilyan Chauvin (Sandra Balleau) and Bobby Hall (Jondor).


The Most Dangerous Game (1932, Ernest B. Schoedsack and Irving Pichel)

Running about an hour, The Most Dangerous Game shouldn’t be boring. But it somehow manages. Worse, the boring stuff comes at the end; directors Schoedsack and Pichel drag out the conclusion with a false ending or two.

The film doesn’t have much to recommend it. That laborious ending wipes short runtime off the board, leaving nothing but good sets, Henry W. Gerrard’s photography and Leslie Banks’s glorious scene-chewing performance as the bad guy. James Ashmore Creelman’s script occasionally has good dialogue, most of it goes to Banks. Unfortunately, Creelman’s script doesn’t have a good story.

Still, the script isn’t Game‘s problem. Simply, Directors Schoedsack and Pichel do a rather bad job. They rely heavily on second person close-ups–the actors are performing for the viewer, showing exaggerated emotion; it’s a terrible choice. Joel McCrea seems silly in the lead and Fay Wray is often just plain bad. She has a couple good moments, early on, but they’re amid some atrocious ones.

The hunt–if you don’t know what kind of animal is “the most dangerous game,” I won’t spoil it (though you should)–starts up over halfway into the film. Here Schoedsack and Pichel present a really boring chase sequence through the magnificent jungle sets. Their action is two dimensional. They also never establish their setting, which would have made the action play better… and give Game more weight.

Robert Armstrong is hilarious, but he isn’t not enough to save the picture.

And Max Steiner’s score is dreadful.

0/4ⓏⒺⓇⓄ

CREDITS

Directed by Ernest B. Schoedsack and Irving Pichel; screenplay by James Ashmore Creelman, based on the story by Richard Connell; director of photography, Henry W. Gerrard; edited by Archie Marshek; music by Max Steiner; released by RKO Radio Pictures.

Starring Joel McCrea (Robert Rainsford), Fay Wray (Eve Trowbridge), Robert Armstrong (Martin Trowbridge), Leslie Banks (Count Zaroff), Noble Johnson (Ivan), Steve Clemente (Tartar) and William B. Davidson (Captain).


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