I now blog over at The Eyre Guide! This blog is an archive of my past posts.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Suspense Sundays (13)

Posted by Charlene // Tags: ,

Suspense Sundays

Suspense was a radio series from 1942 to 1962, claiming to be "radio's outstanding theater of thrills."  I have a fondness for "Old Time Radio" as we call it now, and Suspense is my favorite show.  It sets up weird, dark, scary, or intriguing stories with a plot twist in the end, and all in half an hour.  And many of them had very famous stars of the Golden Age of Hollywood.  I love the old-fashion story-telling and I thought it would be fun to give a short review of an episode every Sunday.  I'll have some fun with it too, since the stories can be silly and over-the-top to modern audiences, but I hope you, dear Reader, will give it a listen sometime if the story seems interesting.

"The Most Dangerous Game"
Air date: September 23, 1943 (69 years ago today!)
Starring Orson Welles
>>Episodes here<<

Renowned hunter Sanger Rainsford unluckily has a yacht mishap and winds up on a deserted island.  Or so he thought - it is actually inhabited by eccentric hunter General Zaroff.  Zaroff is a big-game hunter who has recently become bored by hunting, leading him to try hunting an animal who would provide a bigger challenge - one who can reason.  Man.  Zaroff usually hunts "the scum of the Earth" - sailors and scoundrels (and Japs!!?) but hunting Sanger would provide a much bigger pleasure.  Sanger sets off with a knife and some food and hunting clothes and if he survives after 3 days Zaroff will let him go.  Zaroff sets off with a pistol and a hound three hours later. (Not very sporting to have a pistol and hound!) And Sanger manages to evade Zaroff by setting traps and using all the tricks he can think of.  But Zaroff is still very near to catching him, so he jumps off a cliff into the sea.  Zaroff goes home thinking it is over, but Sanger swam to Zaroff's house and is waiting for him.  They have a duel and Sanger wins.

I read the short story this radio play is based on when I was a freshman in high school and really loved it.  I think this adaptation does it justice.  I knew how it would end, but Orson Welles as Zaroff played this sinister character so well, that the listener is pulled into Sanger's efforts to best him.  I was also struck by how calm and rational Zaroff tries to be, but he is really just a crazy piece of work.

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  1. In 1943, of course he was hunting "Japs!" Radio drama was all part of the war effort; he probably wasn't hunting "Krauts" because they're white like "us." In the 60s, he'd have been hunting "Gooks," and if made today they would be "Ragheads." America wasn't always the tolerant, gracious paradise it is today!

    But all that aside, a marvelous choice yet again. I'm really enjoying the work you do with these, and will be a fan until the end!

    1. That's true, yet still sad how easily they denigrate a whole race. Nazi I understand since they all hold the same awful beliefs, but the Japanese were probably not all for the war... maybe...

      Thanks for reading Jack!