The Best Old Movies On a Big Screen This Week: NYC Repertory Cinema Picks, April 8-14

04/08/2015 9:46 AM |


The Most Dangerous Game (1932)
Directed by Ernest B. Schoedsack and Irving Pichel
The actor Joel McCrea held a talent for holding firm onscreen amidst chaotic circumstances. His gift for solidly sorting through confusion served the California-born classical Hollywood star throughout myriad comedies, dramas, Westerns, and action films, with the last category including The Most Dangerous Game, a film that gave McCrea one of his earliest important parts. The first screen adaptation of Richard Connell’s well-known short story features him as the cocksure big-game hunter Bob Rainsford, who washes up on an island post-shipwreck and finds shelter in a mansion owned by the mysterious Count Zaroff (Leslie Banks). The solicitous count claims to know his guest’s work well; Zaroff, it turns out, is himself a hunter whose favored prey is human beings. This arms-bearing host unleashes Bob and another captive named Eve (Fay Wray) one evening with a challenge—if they survive the night, then they’ll go free. McCrea shows Bob keeping his wits about him and, like an animal, seeking spots around the island where he and Eve might stay safe. Aaron Cutler (Apr 8-10, 1:30pm at MoMA’s “Acteurism: Joel McCrea”)