An overlooked gem with Joel McCrea as a big game hunter shipwrecked on a mysterious island. This is an early version of a storyline that is still popular in books, movies and TV.
Hunter Bob Rainsford (Joel McCrea) is on a yacht with friends. When it hits a reef the boat is wrecked and Bob is the only survivor. Give him credit. Through the entire ordeal he kept his tie on.
He wakes up and goes to a big house. He’s greeted by mute cossack Ivan (Noble Johnson). Then his host Count Zaroff (Leslie Banks) appears. Also on hand are brother and sister Martin (Robert Armstrong) and Eve (Fay Wray). They’re survivors from the last shipwreck in the area. Martin is drunk. Martin is always drunk.
The Count says he knows Bob from his books about his hunts and is an admirer of his. He adds that he too is a hunter but got bored with it. Now he says he uses his island to hunt the most dangerous game. He doesn’t tell Bob what that is.
He convinces the Count to play the piano. That gives Eve a chance to warn Bob that the Count is lying about the launch being repaired. Time for some sleep. Martin stays behind. The Count takes him to his trophy room which is behind a locked iron door.
Eve goes to Bob’s room concerned about her now missing brother. They go to the trophy room. It’s unlocked. They see the Count and his pals bring in a stretcher. It’s Martin’s dead body. Now Bob knows what the Count hunts.
Bob is told that the Count is going to hunt him. The prize is Eve. Of course no one asked her opinion. Bob has until sunset to avoid getting killed. Eve goes with him and the hunt is on. Good thing Bob was still wearing his tie.
Lots of suspense in this fast moving movie. Defintely see this one.
This is before Armstrong and Wray teamed up for 1933’s blockbuster “King Kong.” Some of the sets in this movie during the hunt sequence look like those used in “King Kong.” Noble Johnson appeared in Kong as the native chief.
Joel McCrea became a huge star in westerns. On TV he was Marshal Mike Dunbar in the short lived series “Wichita Town” (1959-60).