Cauli Le Chat

Cauli Le Chat
Cauli Le Chat, MPL Roving Reporter

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Cat-and-Mouse, Human Style

Humans use the phrase cat-and-mouse to describe a one-sided predator/prey encounter, in which the infinitely more skilled hunter toys with the sadly ill-equipped prey.  I figure meeses (could be spelled meeces) have smaller brains than we felines, so we are entitled to advantages in stalking our din-dins.  Of course, we so-called "domesticated" kitties prefer our food from cans--why knock yourself out chasing after a fast-moving meal when yours can be served to order by humans?--so we don't need to play games with our dinners.

This whole "cat-and-mouse" routine was characterized in quite descriptive human terms in The Most Dangerous Game, by Richard Connell.  My minions first read the tale in a high school literature class.  Connell turned big-game hunting on its head with this short story, and it's clear that the reader is intended to squirm as the terror intensifies.  The author vividly describes the setting on a Caribbean island known for collecting shipwrecks.  General Zaroff as the hunter is deeply sinister, and the prey, Sanger Rainsford, seems a worthy adversary, as he, too, is a big-game hunter.  But it is all too easy for Zaroff, at least initially, to track and "bag" his human target, so there is much toying around.  Rainsford, though, is no hapless victim.  He gains ground by taking the offensive against his evil adversary, but this may not be good enough in a life-and-death struggle. The reader won't know the outcome until the final sentence.  Even then, the ending is merely implied.

Our book trailer summarizes the plot.

MPL Book Trailer #166
The Most Dangerous Game, by Richard Connell

If you like adventure stories with a touch of terror, I can't think of a better one.  Thanks to the Lady With the Red Hair for suggesting we make a book trailer for this work.

The story is available in our online Evergreen Indiana catalog, if you have an E.I. library card.

Your Roving Reporter On The Go,

Cauli Le Chat

P.S.  The Most Dangerous Game has been repeatedly adapted for movies and television since it was first published in Collier's Weekly on January 19, 1924.  Perhaps the most famous motion picture adaptation was the 1932 version starring Joel McCrea, Leslie Banks, and Fay Wray.  Another lesser film version was Bloodlust! (1961), riffed magnificently by Mystery Science Theater 3000.  Connell's short story has even been made into a video game, apparently, as this video clip portends.

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