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Thread: Hunted (1952)

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    discuss hunted as one of the most disturbing films ever

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    Do you mean the 1951 Dirk Bogarde / Jon Whiteley version of Hunted? If so, I can't see how it was one of the most disturbing films ever. Just a very well made, fast paced and thrilling drama. One of the first "road" type of movies.

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    Senior Member Country: United States theuofc's Avatar
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    (joanwebster

    discuss hunted as one of the most disturbing films ever


    Not Dirk Bogarde' "Hunted," right? Bogarde's film was one of the best I've seen of an adult-child duo, which sometimes doesn't work. This one was excellent, and in part due to Bogarde's shepherding his role/dialogue and little Jon Whiteley through their duo scenes. Bogarde often commented that "Hunted" was one of his favorite films in terms of plot and execution. Unlike some of his films from that era, 'Hunted' gave him an opportunity to show his marvelous skill at nuanced interior reactions, letting his eyes and the camera reveal what he was thinking and feeling. The cinematography is also excellent, with the back lighting of the scenes quite well done, plus Bogarde's leaps from rail car to car. Definitely one of my favorite Bogarde films of that era. Glad it's out on DVD.



    All the best,



    Barbara

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    I couldn't agree more, Barbara and to prove it, I include below my personal review of Hunted that I submitted to the IMDb some months ago:



    HUNTED, filmed in England and Scotland in 1951 and released early in 1952, is a wonderful film in which six years old orphaned Scots boy Robbie Campbell (a truly outstanding debut performance by six years old Scots boy Jon Whiteley) accidentally sets the kitchen curtains on fire in is adoptive London home and, believing he has set the house on fire, flees the severe punishment that he believes will be meted out to him by his cruel and violent adoptive father. He ends up running into a derelict building on a bomb site some distance from home where he accidentally comes upon a man, Chris Lloyd (Dirk Bogarde), murder his wife's lover in a crime of passion. Seeing that Robbie is the only witness to his crime, Chris abducts him and takes him on the run with him as he attempts to flee the country and the long arm of the law. Robbie, unloved at home and cruelly treated by his adoptive father, dare not return home and a bond develops between the two fugitives as Robbie flees his adoptive father and Chris flees the police and the hangman's rope.



    Robbie, once he gets over the initial shock of being dragged off by Chris, becomes devoted to Chris and needs no persuading to follow him anywhere, obviously seeing him as a father figure. Chris is at first completely uncaring and rough in his attitude to Robbie, but he gradually takes on the responsibility for Robbie's devotion as the two flee from London and travel up through the midlands to Stoke-on-Trent and then north into Scotland. As the journey gets tougher, Chris has to force Robbie to keep going, through marshes and swamps and over hill and dale; to carry him in his arms and to hold him tightly, against the cold, as the two exhausted fugitives sleep out in the wilderness...



    I won't spoil the ending for anyone who hasn't seen it, but you will enjoy this British gem from start to finish. It really is a superbly made drama, one of the first "road" movies and I read somewhere that, of all the many films that Dirk Bogarde made during his long career, this was his personal favourite. It is also, like many parts of The Blue Lamp, a filmic record of a bygone post-war Britain; from its bomb sites and tramcars and horse drawn wagons in the capital, to the now long gone pottery factories of Stoke on Trent, belching forth their black smoke from huge bottle ovens and covered with industrial grime.



    The railway scenes in the film were filmed on the equally now long gone Potteries Loop Line at Burslem, Stoke-on-Trent, one of hundreds of lines that fell under the Dr Beeching axe in the 1960's. Today, all that remains of this once very busy railway is a short stretch between Cobridge and Burslem that has been turned into a landscaped greenway for use by cyclists and walkers. So,, 54 years later in 2005, there is nothing left, save memories, of this location with its sidings and wagons and steam engines and bridges captured for posterity on film in Hunted.



    The scenes filmed in the Scottish wilderness probably have changed little if at all in the intervening years and, no doubt, the harbour of Portpatrick in western Scotland, where the final scenes were filmed, has also changed very little. The film is also a social record of the UK in 1951, a time of general poverty; of post-war austerity and ration books, when everybody dressed so drably. The police in the film may, by modern standards, seem to be having great difficulty in tracking down Chris and Robbie. But you have to take into account the facts that in those days, television was in its infancy; the police had no personal radio communications or computers or helicopters and the pace of life was very different. In real life 1951, a man on the run could quite easily abduct a little boy and take him all over the country with him without being apprehended.



    So this film, then, is a contemporary account of how things would have been back then. Today, in an age when, in the minds of many, man abducting little boy equals sex, this film is from a time when characters in films apparently didn't even think of such things. This mindset is no better demonstrated than by one of the detectives in the film who confesses to a colleague that he can't understand what Chris Lloyd wants with the boy. These days, the police would probably put two and two together and make five.



    However, the story is far more complicated than it would seem at first glance. For the film is not really as much about child abduction as it is about two people of very different ages teaming up in a common cause...neither of them can go home again and all they have is each other. Robbie soon comes to realise that from now on, his only future is with his co-fugitive. This film is an absolute classic. Beautifully acted; directed and photographed. One of the best British films of the 1950's. 10 out of 10 for this black and white gem from David in Stoke on Trent, England.

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    (DAVID RAYNER @ Jan 12 2006, 03:10 PM)

    I couldn't agree more, Barbara and to prove it, I include below my personal review of Hunted that I submitted to the IMDb some months ago:

    HUNTED, filmed in England and Scotland in 1951 and released early in 1952, is a wonderful film ....

    the story is far more complicated than it would seem at first glance. For the film is not really as much about child abduction as it is about two people of very different ages teaming up in a common cause...neither of them can go home again and all they have is each other. Robbie soon comes to realise that from now on, his only future is with his co-fugitive. This film is an absolute classic. Beautifully acted; directed and photographed. One of the best British films of the 1950's. 10 out of 10 for this black and white gem from David in Stoke on Trent, England.


    Hello David,



    Bravo on your truly insightful and articulate review of Hunted. The best I've read, actually. I can see that we are both Bogarde appreciators.



    I've also read with great interest your September 2004 thread on the filiming locations of Hunted. I'm always keen on knowing where a favorite film has been shot, so thanks for all the research work that went into that thread. It took me a long time to track down the interior "grand estate" shots for Bogarde's "Libel." I was deeply satisfied to discover that it was Longleat with an even more interesting Bogarde-Daphne Thynne-Fielding connection.



    Thanks again for the fascinating details on Bogarde films.



    Barbara

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    Thank you, Barbara. It's very nice to know that my review is appreciated. Sir Dirk Bogarde (yes, let's give him his well deserved title) was a superb actor and, given the right role; the right script and the right director, was capable of turning in a wonderful performance, especially in films as diverse as Hunted; The Spanish Gardener; Victim; HMS Defiant; The Servant and his masterpeice (in my opinion) Death in Venice, in which he portrayed superbly the role of a man infatuated with a beautiful young boy and who's unrequited love for this boy leads to his own downfall. Anyone who has ever been in that situation, whether involving a boy or a girl, will be able to identify with the emotional pain and turmoil being suffered by von Aschenbach, especially myself, for, as far as unreturned love goes, in my life, to put it into modern parlance, I've been there, done that and got the T-shirt. Because of that, Death in Venice is one of my all time favourite films.

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    (DAVID RAYNER @ Jan 13 2006, 08:38 AM)

    Thank you, Barbara. It's very nice to know that my review is appreciated. Sir Dirk Bogarde (yes, let's give him his well deserved title) was a superb actor and, given the right role; the right script and the right director, was capable of turning in a wonderful performance, especially in films as diverse as Hunted; The Spanish Gardener; Victim; HMS Defiant; The Servant and his masterpeice (in my opinion) Death in Venice, in which he portrayed superbly the role of a man infatuated with a beautiful young boy and who's unrequited love for this boy leads to his own downfall. Anyone who has ever been in that situation, whether involving a boy or a girl, will be able to identify with the emotional pain and turmoil being suffered by von Aschenbach, especially myself, for, as far as unreturned love goes, in my life, to put it into modern parlance, I've been there, done that and got the T-shirt. Because of that, Death in Venice is one of my all time favourite films.
    Hello, David,



    A wonderful assessment, particularly of Sir Dirk's sensitive portrayal of von Aschenbach's quest for beauty and truth in the form of the beautiful young boy. Thanks also for your sentiments on the power of love, whether returned or unrequited. In this day of worshipping passing fancies and noncommitment, they're a welcome revelation.



    Best,



    Barbara

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    Yes, Barbara, a wonderful performance by Dirk. As a viewer, I could feel all the torment that came through in his portrayal of von Aschenbach. Mainly because I'd been through similar experiences myself. As far as I know, Death in Venice was the only time such a subject had been portrayed in a film with such sincerity. I can't recall seeing a subject like this tackled since that film was made in 1970. Although it was a major Warner Bros picture released in the UK in March, 1971, I don't think it was shown in many places outside London. It was certainly never shown here in this city of Stoke on Trent. Maybe it was considered too highbrow for most audiences and I didn't get to see it until it was shown on BBC2 about seven years ago.



    I now have the DVD and on that, there is a short about the making of the film. In that short, the narrator states that Bjorn Andresen was chosen from hundreds of boys to play Tadzio. Whoever did the choosing, they chose well. He is absolutely fascinating to look at and the viewer can well appreciate von Ashenbach being infatuated with him.



    When most people think of Italian films, they tend to think of examples such as Hercules Unchained or White Slave Ship. But Death in Venice was an Italian film that was completely in a league of its own.

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    Death in Venice tore me apart the first time I saw it, and Mahler's beautiful music did it just as much as DB's wonderful portrayal of von Aschenbach. Never have I been so affected by any character in any other movie ever, and I cannot listen to that music without feeling overwhelming sadness for his emotional suffering and his lonely death.

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    The music, although of course not composed specially for the film, fitted the film and its atmosphere of hurt and loneliness like a glove. It's not often classical music can do this for a film, but it worked superbly with Death in Venice. The film and the music were made for each other. The film moved me to tears when I first saw it and that was on television. God knows what effect it must have had on the more romantic and sensitive patrons among the cinema audiences of 1971.

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    David - I'm new on here - but it was a joy to read your review of HUNTED and subsequent replies to others who commented. I watched the film last night having just picked it up in Australia over Christmas where it has been released along with some other Rank classics by www.magnapacific.com.au who do a great job at releasing old British films at very cheap prices (fabulous Korda collection a couple of years ago).



    I am a great fan of Dirk Bogarde. I believe him to be one of Britain's finest actors. He has played so many diverse roles and that, for me, is the sign of a talented actor. He always lends such conviction to the role he is playing.



    You touch on the sympathetic roles he has played: THE SPANISH GARDENER, DEATH IN VENICE and HUNTED. Don't forget OUR MOTHER's HOUSE (1967), quite forgotten these days but again that ambigious relationship with children, blowing hot and cold.



    With all the intelligent coments I am reading on this forum I think I am going to enjoy it. What a wonderful place to be!

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    (Graemets @ Jan 15 2006, 03:43 AM)

    Don't forget OUR MOTHER's HOUSE (1967), quite forgotten these days but again that ambiguous relationship with children, blowing hot and cold.

    With all the intelligent comments I am reading on this forum I think I am going to enjoy it. What a wonderful place to be!
    Welcome, Graemets, and especially to a fellow Bogarde appreciator as far away as Indonesia. Bogarde very much enjoyed his two months of filming "Our Mother's House," working with Jack Clayton and the crew of children. He himself called it a "magical experience...the children were fantastic, good actors, kind, funny, devoted and professional." As you say, it is a film quite forgotten unfortunately despite its being the official British entry to the Venice Festival.



    Besides admiring Bogarde's superb acting talent, I respect his never resting on his good looks or remaining stuck in his matinee Idol status as many would have been tempted to do. Instead, he was willing to transform himself into a character like the sleazy father Charlie Hook.



    Yes, the Australian video sources are excellent. They were the first to come out with a DVD of "Boys in Brown." JPC-Germany also offers Bogarde DVDs that are hard to get, such as Singer Not the Song.



    Barbara

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    And a warm welcome from me, too, Graemets and thank you for your kind comments about my review of Hunted. I have to admit that I've never seen Our Mother's House, but I'm sure that will be rectified one day. Dirk was one of those unique actors who could be equally convincing as a goodie or a baddie in films. It's not an easy thing to be. For instance, can you imagine John Wayne playing anything other than John Wayne? That's the differance between a film star and a real actor. Dirk was both and a very fine actor at that.



    In 1961, his friends tried to disuade him from playing a homosexual in Victim. They told him his career would be finished if he went ahead and made that film. But he went ahead and did it and far from finishing his career, he went on from strength to strength. In these very different days, when nobody cares if somebody is "gay" or not, Dirk's position 45 years ago may be difficult to understand. But life and attitudes to sexuality were very different back then. These days, he'd have to play a paedophile for it to have the same shock value.



    After his many years at Rank, Dirk wanted to be accepted as a serious actor and not just a matinee idol. He took a very big chance with Victim. Yes, it could have finished his career, but it didn't and the rest, as they say, is history.

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    Very true David. That's why I have always admired Bogarde. He was always believable and compelling whether playing an aristocrat, a criminal on the run, a sadist, a soldier, a playboy, a professional or whatever. He could play across the classes, too. Really such a fine actor. I also happen to think that he was a good writer. I particularly enjoyed his "A Gentle Occupation", which is set in Indonesia, where I have lived for 17 years. I understand he sang, too! Has anyone heard him sing? There is a CD of him on Amazon.co.uk.

    What a man!

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    I understand he made an LP once in the early 1960's, although I've never heard it and I remember him bringing out a 45 rpm single on the Fontana label in 1965 entitled "Darling", from the film. Although I can't remember now whether he sang on it or just spoke the lyrics to an orchestral backing.

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    (DAVID RAYNER @ Jan 15 2006, 04:02 PM)

    I understand he made an LP once in the early 1960's, although I've never heard it and I remember him bringing out a 45 rpm single on the Fontana label in 1965 entitled "Darling", from the film. Although I can't remember now whether he sang on it or just spoke the lyrics to an orchestral backing.
    On most of the ones I've heard he just spoke the words to a musical backing. But it does bring out the poetry of the lyrics. The classic recording is probably his "Lyrics for Lovers".



    But Barbara can probably tell us more.



    Steve

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    (DAVID RAYNER @ Jan 15 2006, 04:02 PM)

    I understand he made an LP once in the early 1960's, although I've never heard it and I remember him bringing out a 45 rpm single on the Fontana label in 1965 entitled "Darling", from the film. Although I can't remember now whether he sang on it or just spoke the lyrics to an orchestral backing.
    Hello, David,

    I could never resist Lyrics for Lovers.



    And here's the thing about Lyrics: although Dirk himself had to be dragged into the studios to make the then vinyl, and critics since have had some mild fun over his non-singing talent (which is as true as it is of let's say Rex Harrison's "singing" in My Fair Lady)....I'm very glad Dirk made the recording.



    Why? Despite being a bit over the top in some of the sentimental songs, he can unexpectedly wrap you in the embrace of the lyrics and fill you with the spell of Bogarde back then when he was in his prime and looking finer than any man alive. Who wouldn't want to hear that Bogarde, that face, that voice whisper those lyrics?



    The very special perk about "Lyrics" is the time frame when Dirk recorded it.

    Dirk's younger voice in that recording is one of the few we have from that

    period. His audiobooks on the whole were recorded much later in life from his

    60s on. As an older man, his voice also had a wonderful sound but a deeper,

    more mature, authoritative feel, and quite a different timbre than in his 40s.



    So Lyrics is to be appreciated for its time frame alone.



    That's another reason I cherish his interview in the Victim (1960) DVD

    because it gives us Bogarde as Bogarde when he was 39 prime. Other than seeing him in The Epic That Never Was a few years later, that's about alll we have available from that remarkable ending of his Idol of the Odeons decade. There must be newsreels of DB at premieres in the 50s/60s, etc. but who has them.



    Here are the tracks on the vinyl, now rereleased on CD: If you listen closely you can hear Dirk pause to take a drag on his cigarette. He also changed and omitted some of the words to the songs. Could Dirk ever resist changing a script?



    1. A Foggy Day

    2. The Way You Look Tonight

    3. Our Love Affair

    4. You Go To My Head

    5. Can't We Be Friends

    6. Smoke Gets In Your Eyes

    7. Just One Of Those Things

    8. Get Out Of Town

    9. I Get Along Without You Very Well

    10. These Foolish Things

    11. Where Or When (From Babes In Arms)

    12. As Time Goes By



    Enjoy,



    Barbara

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    Administrator Country: Wales Steve Crook's Avatar
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    (theuofc @ Jan 16 2006, 10:34 AM)

    [snip]

    That's another reason I cherish his interview in the Victim (1960) DVD

    because it gives us Bogarde as Bogarde when he was 39 prime. Other than seeing him in The Epic That Never Was a few years later, that's about alll we have available from that remarkable ending of his Idol of the Odeons decade. There must be newsreels of DB at premieres in the 50s/60s, etc. but who has them.
    He makes a few appearances in the newsreels that are available at British Pathe. Although doing a quick search I only see 6 of them and he isn't mentioned in the title of any of them. He might just make a "walk on" appearance in them and I'm not sure if he speaks in any of them.



    You can view a low quality version for free or you can buy a high quality version. But you have to agree to their copyright & reproduction agreement.



    Steve

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    That LP sounds worth listening to. A lot of Pathe News reels at the time featured film premieres, but usually only of films that were being released on the ABC circuit. With Dirk appearing mostly in Rank films shown at Odeon or Gaumont cinemas on their initial release, if there are any premieres of his films on newsreels of the period, they will probably be on British Movietone News, as their's were the reels that were shown on the Gaumont and Odeon circuits.



    By the way, for anyone interested who hasn't got it, there's a 49 years old film magazine on eBay at the moment with a Dirk Bogarde / Jon Whiteley photo cover. Very cheap, too. I've already got one, so I won't be bidding.

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    (DAVID RAYNER @ Jan 16 2006, 02:00 PM)

    That LP sounds worth listening to. A lot of Pathe News reels at the time featured film premieres, but usually only of films that were being released on the ABC circuit. With Dirk appearing mostly in Rank films shown at Odeon or Gaumont cinemas on their initial release, if there are any premieres of his films on newsreels of the period, they will probably be on British Movietone News, as their's were the reels that were shown on the Gaumont and Odeon circuits.
    There is also a web site with the British Movietone News archive. They require you to register but they don't charge.



    They have 8 clips found in response to a search for Bogarde. But again, none that mention him in the title.



    Steve

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