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Films of Sergio Leone => Other Films => Topic started by: cigar joe on February 03, 2005, 03:46:55 PM

Title: Death Hunt (1981)
Post by: cigar joe on February 03, 2005, 03:46:55 PM
Charley Bronson - Lee Marvin.  Tonight AMC 10:00PM EST
Title: Re: Death Hunt (1981)
Post by: Tim on February 05, 2005, 09:28:33 PM
  Anchor Bay just released this on DVD a couple of weeks ago.  Haven't got around to picking a copy up.
Title: Re: Death Hunt (1981)
Post by: Belkin on February 06, 2005, 02:28:07 PM
Charley Bronson - Lee Marvin. Tonight AMC 10:00PM EST
No classic, cigar joe, but it's a movie I love. Caught it as part of a BRONSON double bill, it was the main feature along with a very strange but very watachable western called WHITE BUFFALO!
Title: Re: Death Hunt (1981)
Post by: deMaie on February 07, 2005, 07:33:11 PM
You were lucky to have both movies as a double bill.
I like both of these movies, Death Hunt since I'm in Canada,
but White Buffalo really stuck with me cause of the crazy/
heavy atmosphere  throughout the film & surprising cast.
Title: Re: Death Hunt (1981)
Post by: cigar joe on March 17, 2005, 04:15:43 PM
Watched this the other day on AMC, Bronson and Marvin, actually not bad (pan & scan though), and I think it was recently released on DVD which if its widescreen I'll probably pick up for the collection. Reminded me a bit of The Great Silence with all the snow scenes in the Canadian Rockies. Its probably one of the last westerns for both Marvin & Bronson, I'd have to do a IMDb search to check for sure.
Title: Re: Death Hunt (1981)
Post by: Christopher on March 17, 2005, 04:53:26 PM
I have seen the Death Hunt DVD out for a pretty cheap price. I think $9.99. I believe the DVD is in widescreen. I've seen the movie on TV at least twice and I've always thought it was pretty good. It's always fun watching Lee Marvin and it's probably one of the better movies Bronson made during that time period.
Title: Re: Death Hunt (1981)
Post by: Christopher on February 23, 2006, 06:12:53 PM
For anyone who has the Fox Movie Channel, they've been playing this recently. I watched it last weekend--Uncut and in widescreen.
Title: Re: Death Hunt (1981)
Post by: Banjo on February 24, 2006, 06:35:49 AM
Definately one of Bronsons and Marvins better later efforts!
Title: Re: Death Hunt (1981)
Post by: Tim on February 25, 2006, 09:34:41 PM
  I'm always suprised toward the end when Ed Lauter, I think its him I haven't watched DH in awhile, makes a move on the young officer, sorry I can't remember his name.  I honestly did not see that coming.

  And I always get a kick out of seeing Seinfeld's Uncle Leo as one of the posse who goes after Albert Johnson.  If I remember right, he meets a rather grizzly end.
Title: Re: Death Hunt (1981)
Post by: cigar joe on November 30, 2006, 09:24:59 PM
Got a DVD of this Charles Bronson - Lee Marvin  "End of the West" Snow Western, Dir. by  Peter R. Hunt. Even though the Action takes place in 1931 Canada in the Northwest Territory at the town of Rat River near the MacKenzie River Delta. The Nortwest Territories, Alaska,  and The Yukon were and to a certain extent still are the last closest thing we have in North America to the Wild West.

Its a good flick, though by 1981 both Bronson (60) & Marvin (56) are showing their age, and I believe its the last Western film each actor was in. Score is not very memorable, too bad, it would have enhanced a good story.

There are some great supporting actors in the cast that some of you will recognize from their later roles, Andrew Stevens, Carl Weathers (Predator), Ed Lauter (Breakheart Pass), Angie Dickinson, William Sanderson (from Deadwood), August Schellenberg (Black Robe), Len Lesser (Uncle Leo from Seinfeld), and Maury Chaykin (Dances With Wolves).

The Story is based loosely on the historical Albert Johnson, the "Mad Trapper of Rat River" the film does a nice job of adding a sort of bait and switch twist to the historical story.  Which I wont give away, so buy or rent this you will enjoy it for some great action sequences, I think the broadcast versions on TV may be edited of some graphic violence.

Albert Johnson, known as the Mad Trapper of Rat River, was a criminal whose actions eventually sparked off a huge manhunt in the Northwest Territories in Canada. The event became a minor media circus as Johnson eluded the Royal Canadian Mounted Police team sent to take him into custody, which ended after a 150 mile (240 km) foot chase in a shootout in which Johnson was fatally wounded.

Details of Johnson's life before his arrival in Fort MacPherson on July 9, 1931 are unknown. Soon after arriving he set up a small 8x10 foot cabin on the banks of the Rat River, near the Mackenzie River delta. Johnson did not take out a trapping license; however, which was considered somewhat odd for someone living in the bush.

In December one of the local trappers complained to the local RCMP detachment in Aklavik someone was tampering with his traps, tripping them and hanging them on the trees. He identified Johnson as the likely culprit. On December 31 Constable Alfred King and Special Constable Joe Bernard, each of whom had considerable northern experience, trekked out to Johnson's cabin to ask him about the allegations. They noticed smoke coming from the chimney, and approached the hut to talk. Johnson refused to talk to them, seeming to not even notice them. King approached and looked in the window at which point Johnson placed a sack over the window. They eventually decided to return to Aklavik and get a search warrant.

They returned two days later with two additional RCMP officers and a civilian deputy. Johnson again refused to talk and eventually King decided to enforce the warrant and force the door. As soon as he started, Johnson shot him through the wood. A brief firefight broke out, and the team managed to return King to Aklavik, where he eventually recovered.

A posse was formed this time with nine men, 42 dogs and 20 pounds (9 kg) of dynamite which they intended to use to blast Johnson out of the cabin. After surrounding the cabin they thawed the dynamite inside the coats, eventually building a single charge and tossing it into the cabin. After the explosion collapsed the building the men rushed in, only to have Johnson open fire from a foxhole he had dug under the building. No one was hit, and after a 15 hour standoff in the 40-below weather the posse again decided to return to Aklavik for further instructions.

By this point news of the events had filtered out to the rest of the world via radio. When the posse returned on January 14th, delayed because of almost continual blizzards, Johnson had left the cabin and the posse gave chase. They eventually caught up on January 30th, surrounding him at the bottom of a cliff. Johnson decided to fight his way out, shooting Constable 'Spike' Millen through the heart [1] The troops remained in position, and that night Johnson scaled the cliff to escape once again.

The posse continued to grow, enlisting local Inuit and Gwich'in who were better able to move in the back country. Johnson eventually decided to leave for the Yukon, but the RCMP had blocked the only two passes over the local Richardson mountains. That didn't stop Johnson, who scaled a 7,000 foot peak and once again disappeared. This was only discovered when an Inuit trapper reported odd tracks on the far side of the mountains.

In desperation, the RCMP hired Wop May to help in the hunt by scouting the area from the air. He arrived in his new ski-equipped Bellanca monoplane on the 5th. On February 14th he discovered the trick Johnson had been using to elude his followers, when he noticed a set of footprints leading off the center of the Eagle River to the bank. Johnson had been following the caribou tracks in the middle of the river, where they traveled to allow better visibility for predators. This hid his footprints and allowed him to travel quickly on the tramped-down snow without having to use his snowshoes. He only left the trail at night to make camp on the river bank. May radioed back his findings and the RCMP gave chase up the river, eventually being directed to him by February on the 17th.

The team rounded a bend in the river to find Johnson only a few hundred yards in front of them. He attempted to run for the bank, but didn't have his snowshoes on and couldn't make it. A firefight broke out in which one RCMP officer was seriously wounded and Johnson eventually brought down after being hit nine times. May landed and flew the officer to help, being credited with saving his life.

On examination over two thousand dollars in bills were found in his pockets, some gold, a pocket compass, a razor, a knife, fish hooks, nails, a dead squirrel, and a dead bird. During the entire chase the Mounties had never heard Johnson say a single word. To this day no one knows who he was, why he moved to the arctic, or what he was doing to the traps.

The event has been written about in a number of books, as well as a fictionalized account that was later turned into the movie Death Hunt, starring Charles Bronson.

Title: Re: Death Hunt (1981)
Post by: dave jenkins on May 18, 2007, 01:05:53 PM
Great review, Joe, and thank you for all the historical background. I had been skeptical of this film's merits, but I happened to see it on AMC recently and thoroughly enjoyed it. It essentially plays out as a slow burn duel between the RCMP sergeant who has a job to do (Marvin) and the civilianwho has been wrongly accused (Bronson) and is being persecuted by society. I always love conflict created by what one could call "irreconcilable virtues." The locations are great , the situation is choice, and the ending is rather clever. Just a great men-in-nature picture.
Title: Re: Death Hunt (1981)
Post by: cigar joe on May 19, 2007, 05:11:31 AM
Yea I caught part of the AMC version too, the DVD is uncut and shows a bit more gore if you want to check it out. O0
Title: Re: Death Hunt (1981)
Post by: Dust Devil on March 23, 2012, 08:29:35 AM
Yes this is (still) thoroughly entertaining, although slow burning and rather surprising in a couple of situations. The Bronson - Marving thing doesn't really get going, but perhaps it wasn't supposed to in first place.

Title: Re: Death Hunt (1981)
Post by: Groggy on March 23, 2012, 09:08:05 AM
I remember finding this a slog but it's been awhile. As always Joe your expertise is appreciated. O0
Title: Re: Death Hunt (1981)
Post by: Dust Devil on March 23, 2012, 01:30:49 PM
From Wiki:

A second, also highly fictionalized, version of Johnson's story appeared in Charles Bronson's 1981 movie Death Hunt. The film reverses the facts, making Johnson a sympathetic, freedom-loving character, and changing RCMP hero Edgar Millen from the young and popular figure that he was into a broken-down, middle-aged alcoholic (played by Lee Marvin) who rather than being shot by Johnson actually leads the pursuit to capture him. Furthermore bush pilot Wop May is represented as a Royal Canadian Air Force captain, Hank Tucker, who is shot down and killed by the posse after Tucker wildly shoots up members of the posse.

Title: Re: Death Hunt (1981)
Post by: dave jenkins on May 24, 2012, 11:53:12 AM
Blu review:
Title: Re: Death Hunt (1981)
Post by: dave jenkins on May 16, 2013, 12:05:39 PM
U.S. Blu comin' in August:
Title: Death Hunt (1981)
Post by: Spikeopath on March 05, 2017, 07:40:17 AM

Your father said the best part of you ran down your mamas leg.

Death Hunt is directed by Peter Hunt and written by Michael Grais and Mark Victor. It stars Charles Bronson, Lee Marvin, Carl Weathers, Ed Lauter, Andrew Stevens, Scott Hyland, Maury Chaykin and Angie Dickinson. Music is by Jerrold Immel and cinematography by James Devis.

Film is loosely based on the real "Mad Trapper" man hunt that occurred in the Yukon Territory, Canada, 1931.

Directed by the man who helmed On Her Majesty's Secret Service, and starring two of the iconic stars of The Dirty Dozen, it's no surprise to find Death Hunt full of machismo. What transpires is a two part movie, where time is afforded the set up for the first half, and the second half features the man hunt across the Yukon landscapes.

Plot basically sees Bronson as nomadic loner Albert Johnson (The Mad Trapper of lore), who rescues a severely injured dog from a dog fight held by baying locals, much to their displeasure. Unwisely tracking Johnson down and taking him on, one of their number is shot and killed. So in come the legal guys, the RCMP, led by grizzled old pro Edgar Millen (Marvin), who desperately tries to keep things in order as the situation quickly spirals out of control. As Johnson takes to the snowy terrain, with Millen and co in pursuit, a respect begins to form between the two wise heads, with Millen very much aware that there will be only one winner in this hunt.

So it goes, framed by lovely location photography, and with Bronson and Marvin doing what they do best, film plays out as a snowy chase and survive adventure. It's very much fictionalised from the real story, but some instances are real, including the incredible journey that Johnson undertook whilst fleeing his pursuers. Violence slots in and out of proceedings, as does moments of humour, and there's a nice grey area in the narrative that questions who you should be rooting for. In fact Marvin's characterisation of Millen is very enjoyable because he is irked by the cretins he finds himself hunting with.

Some of the support players are under written, so therefore underused, while Dickinson pops in only briefly and purely as a bit of sexy relief from the machismo on show. All told it's a safe and enjoyable movie for fans of the stars and fans of outdoor action/adventure/thrillers. Kind of like First Blood meets The Fugitive who then take Seraphim Falls out for a drink. Only, remember, this was before all those and it has Bronson and Marvin in the locker! 7/10

Viewed via Region 2 DVD.