Thursday, October 28, 2010

The Most Dangerous Game and Other Stories of Adventure, by various authors

(pb; 1957, 1967: story anthology)


Solid, action-oriented anthology, with only one stinker in the mix. Worth checking out from the library.


1.) "The Most Dangerous Game" - Richard Connell: Sanger Rainsford, an American hunter, gets trapped on the island of a homicidal Cossack (General Zaroff), and becomes Zaroff's prey in literal manhunt. Gripping, sharp work, with a zinger end-line.

Numerous film versions have resulted from this story.

The first film version was released stateside on September 16, 1932. It was directed by Irving Pichel and Ernest B. Schoedsack, from a script by James Ashmore Creelman.

Joel McCrea played Bob. Fay Wray played Eve. Robert Armstrong played Martin. Leslie Banks played Zaroff. Steve Clemente (billed as Steve Clemento) played Tartar. An uncredited Buster Crabbe plays "Sailor who falls off boat".

Other versions include, but are not limited to: A Game of Death (1945), The Most Dangerous Game (1953), Bloodlust! (1961), Surviving The Game (1994, sporting a great cast, among them Rutger Hauer).

2.) "Leiningen Versus the Ants" - Carl Stephenson: A Caucasian gung-ho plantation owner and his native "peons" battle an ant invasion in Brazil. If you can ignore its era-inherent racism, this is a visually wild and thrilling tale.

This story was released stateside as a film on March 3, 1954. Titled The Naked Jungle, it was directed by Byron Haskin, from a script by Ranald MacDougall and Ben Maddow (credited as Philip Yordan).

Charlton Heston played Christopher Leiningen. Eleanor Parker played Joanna Leiningen. Abraham Sofaer played Incacha. William Conrad played "Commissioner". Romo Vincent played "Boat Captain".

3.) "Journalism in Tennessee" - Mark Twain: Witty, raucous take on Southern firebrand newspapermen.

4.) "Alone in Shark Waters" - John Kruse: After a hurricane sinks his ship and leave him afloat in the Indian Ocean, a fisherman (Mike Gardener) fends off dehydration, sharks and other forms of ocean-borne death. Harrowing, intriguing story.

5.) "Rikki-Tikki-Tavi" - Rudyard Kipling: This story lost me almost immediately, interest-wise, so I didn't finish reading it - his writing style here is so jangly-noisy, perhaps too vivid.

Two animated films resulted from this story.

The first animated version aired on stateside television on January 9, 1975. Chuck Jones directed and scripted the thirty-minute short.

Orson Welles provided the voices for Narrator, Nag and Chuchundra. June Foray provided the voices for "Nagaina the Cobra, Wife of Nag", Teddy's Mother and Darzee's Wife. Les Tremayne voiced Father. Michael LeClair voiced Teddy. Shepard Menken voiced Rikki-Tikki-Tavi the Mongoose. Lennie Weinrib voiced Darzee the Tailorbird.

A later animated version, made by a different film crew, aired on Hungarian television on November 10, 1983.

6.) "To Build a Fire" - Jack London: In seventy-five-below-zero degree weather, a man wages a spirited struggle for survival against an omnipresent Yukon threat. Infotainment, with a nature-centric, telling finish.

Two film shorts have resulted from this story.

A twenty-minute short resulted from this story in 2003. Directed and scripted by Luca Armenia, Olivier Pagès played The Man.

A second, thirty-minute short was released stateside in October 2008. Mark Dissette co-directed this with Dave Main (who also scripted the short).

Michael Elmendorf played The Man. Eldon Cott played The Old Man of Sulfur Creek. Steven Kramer played Macmorvan. Chad Rowland played Bud. Bill Selig played Jedadiah.

7.) "Locomotive 38, The Ojibway" - William Saroyan: A seemingly crazy Indian (Locomotive 38) and a fourteen year-old boy (Aram, aka "Willie") go on a fishing trip in Locomotive 38's new Packard. Odd, light and charming, this.

8.) "High Air" - Borden Chase: Tunnel miners encounter a potentially fatal emergency. Solid, crises-exciting story.

9.) "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty" - James Thurber: A wife- and society-pecked older man (Mitty) imbues his mundane life with unseen but intuited adventures. Fun, brief, to the point.

One film has resulted from this story. A remake of that film is rumored to be on the way.

The first version, released stateside on September 1, 1947, was directed by Norman Z. McLeod, from a script by Ken Englund, Everett Freeman and Philip Rapp.

Danny Kaye played Walter Mitty. Virginia Mayo played Rosalind van Hoorn. Boris Karloff played Dr. Hugo Hollingshead. Fay Bainter played Mrs. Eunice Mitty. Ann Rutherford played Gertrude Griswold.

The second version is scheduled for stateside release in 2012. According to, Gore Verbinski is set to direct it, from a script by Steve Conrad.

I'll update this remake listing, as more information becomes available.

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