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Laid back surfer, James Caan has his car break down in a Southern town
from Hell. Mickey Rooney is a rather nasty Sheriff who likes to let
prisoners escape so he can watch his dogs tear them to pieces.
Robert Altman may have had a hand in the directing and writing.
This works better than one might expect due to some great acting on Caan and Rooney's part. Rooney offers the excuse that he keeps the town safe and the townspeople keep reelecting him. Caan shows that he has a lot of guts for a surfer dude.
Bruce Dern has a small role playing his usual nasty good old boy. It is nice to see him so young. Actually, it is nice to see Caan so young too. He looks a little like Paul Newman here.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
THE HUNT 1963 This is an episode from the 1963-65 series, KRAFT
James Caan is driving an old beat-up wreck through some backwoods hill country. He is taking a short cut on his way to California. He hits a pothole and puts a hole through the car's oil pan. A few hours later, a jeep followed by several pick-ups full of armed men pull up.
Mickey Rooney jumps out of the jeep and sticks a revolver in Cann's face. "Who are you, and what are you doing here?" Rooney, it turns out is the local Sheriff. He and the armed men are looking for an escaped prisoner.
Cann explains the situation with his car and asks if there is a repair shop close. One of the men with Rooney, Bruce Dern, says he can fix Caan's car after they get the escapee. Cann climbs on one of the pick-ups and the chase resumes.
The posse soon corners the escapee and Rooney has the dogs set on the man. Caan watches in horror as the man is torn to pieces. He turns away and is sick. One of the men in the posse says that the dead man is the seventh killed during an escape.
Later that day while Dern is working on Caan's beater. Caan says that he thinks Rooney is a sadist and a murderer. Dern of course passes this info to his buddy, Rooney. Caan, not knowing when to shut up, now calls long distance to California. He tells his girl about what he has seen. Of course the local operator, Peggy Rea, is Rooney's kin and she also fills him in on Caan's call.
That evening, Caan hits the road in his just repaired auto. He however does not get far. Waiting outside town is Rooney. He stops Caan and searches his car. He has received a report of a stolen shotgun. Needless to say he pulls a shotgun out the back of Caan's car.
Rooney slaps Caan in the village cells on a charge of theft. There, Caan is soon paid a visit by Dern, who offers to help him escape. Caan knows a rat when he sees one and declines. Dern opens the cell door anyways and leaves. Caan sits as if nailed to the spot.
Outside, we see Rooney sitting under a tree with a rifle across his knees. Several hours pass and Rooney can tell Caan has no intention of playing his game. Rooney marches into the jail and cracks Caan in the head with his rifle butt.
When Caan regains his senses, he finds himself in the middle of the woods with baying hounds in the distance. Rooney intends to have his sport. Caan, being in better shape than most, hotfoots it away from the closing hounds.
He manages to cross a roaring creek and up some steep cliffs where only one of the hounds follows. Caan defends himself with a large rock and tosses the dog back in the water. He then heads further into the woods. He finally reaches a main road and jumps on the back of a passing big truck.
Several days later, Caan, along with a State Attorney and several large State Police arrive at Rooney's jail house. Rooney is told he is no longer in command as serious charges of murder have been made against him. His Deputy, Kelly Thordsen, is to take over.
Rooney, needless to say is less than amused with this turn of events. He pulls his pistol and fires at Caan. Deputy Thordsen yanks his own .45 and drops Rooney with two rounds to the chest. Thordsen has had enough of Rooney as well.
This is a very entertaining take on, THE MOST DANGEROUS GAME.
The director was veteran television man, William Graham. The d of p was three time nominated, and one time Oscar winner, Lionel Lindon. His work included films such as, AROUND THE WORLD IN EIGHTY DAYS, THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE, HELL'S ISLAND, THE SCARLET HOUR, THE TURNING POINT, THE SUN SETS AT DAWN, QUICKSAND, ALIAS NICK BEAL and THE BLUE DAHLIA.
The story and screenplay were by John D. Black, Ed Waters and Robert Altman. (color)
A young James Caan plays a surfer bum who finds himself stuck in a backwoods town, where a sadistic sheriff (baby-faced Mickey Rooney) and buddies like to hunt down and kill "escaped" prisoners. Instead of collecting their scalps, the sheriff collects their belts. In a particularly chilling scene, Caan finds and counts those belts while searching the sheriff's office. Soon after, the sheriff strips Caan of his belt before setting him loose for the hunt. Based on the story, Zaroff's Hounds (filmed as The Most Dangerous Game), this is the best Kraft episode I have seen to date. Caan and Rooney play well against each other. Bruce Dern has a small role as the town's mechanic and holder of a duplicate jail key, which is used to help each prisoner "escape" and thus start the game afresh. Gripping from start to finish.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
***SPOILERS*** With his woody wagon station-wagon breaking down free
living and peace loving surfer Rick Peterson, James Caan, is confronted
by the local Sheriff Williams, Mickey Rooney, and his motley looking
posse. Sheriff Williams feels that Rick's up to no good for no other
reason then him being an outsider in the community.
As we and a startled and shock Rick soon find out that the sheriff is a bit off the wall mentally and a very dangerous psychopath to boot. In Sheriff Williams feeling free to hunt down and have torn to pieces by his hungry bloodhounds anyone who ends up in his district whom,in not having any roots in the community, no one will miss! Rick who's been jailed for vagrancy by Sheriff William and sensing he's soon going to be Sheriff Williams' next victim does everything possible not to give him an excuse, by trying to escape, to have him murdered.
With him knocked out by Sheriff Williams goons Rick finds himself taken from his jail cell and dumped in the woods where Williams lets loose his bloodhounds to track down and tear Rick, who's now a fugitive from the law, apart! It's Rick's good luck that he manages to escape Sheriff Willims' both hounds and goons by making it battered and bruised back to the main highway and getting a lift by a local trucker back into town, away from Sheriff William's domain, and to civilization.
***SPOILERS*** Now exposed by Rick as the blood thirsty murderer that he is and with the State and Federal authorities just about to put the cuffs on him the now no longer Sheriff Williams tries to exact revenge on Rick before he's himself put behind bars! Williams would have succeeded in offing Rick but it's his loyal friend and fellow law enforcement officer Deputy Dick, Kelly Thordsen, who unexpectedly comes to Rick's recuse. With Williams getting so out of control with his actions in thinking that he's the king of the hill or the town even his most loyal supporters and friends like Deputy Dick couldn't take him any more. And in the case of Deputy Dick finally put an end to Williams, in his last act in the attempted murder of Rick Peterson, reign of terror.
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