Fantastic would-be thriller [from a story by Richard Connell] whose efforts at horrifying are not very effective.
A crazy Russian count (Leslie Banks), who derives more pleasure from hunting human beings than lions and tigers since a wild bull kicked him in the head, is this one’s baby-scaring Frankenstein. He operates alone on a deserted tropical isle, using shipwreck victims for game. When he gets ’em he fattens ’em up. The routine then is to send them out on the jungle-like isle with a few hours’ start.
It’s a foregone cinch that Joel McCrea, as a big game hunter on his way to India when tossed into the count’s trap, will hand the man hunter a trimming. It looks for a moment like the count wins this one, too, when McCrea goes over the waterfall with a hunting dog at his throat.
The producers have heretofore specialized in animal films with a more or less natural background. This time they stick mostly to the studio, and although the swamp and jungle settings serve, considering the limitations, they’re frequently obviously phoney.
Banks grabs everything worth grabbing among performance honors. Fay Wray has no opportunity to be anything but decorative. With McCrea and Robert Armstrong (as a booze-guzzling simpleton) miscasting is evident.