Manhunter (1986)




Michael Mann’s take on Thomas Harris’ Red Dragon, Manhunter. Forgotten and replaced by a much cornier take that places more of a role on Hannibal Lector. I will argue that Brian Cox plays a more interesting ‘Hannibal’ in his few minutes on screen in Manhunter than Anthony Hopkins ever did, but there is no question that plays are far better ‘Francis Dolarhyde‘ than Ralph Fiennes, (also in the William Friedkin’s amazing To Live and Die in L.A., another forgotten gem) plays a much more interesting and tormented ‘Willam Graham‘.
Visually far more interesting than the later remake, aside from some oddball ’80s rock songs (which are more than made up for in some great haunting soundscapes) and a plot that either assumes or doesn’t care if  you know William Graham’s back story, which makes it less heavy handed than any of the other movies based on The Harris ‘Lector’ series. I should also mention NBC’s series ‘Hannibal’ as the inspiration in watching this, if you haven’t seen that it is worth checking out.


  1. have watched both this and red dragon in the last six weeks. manhunter gets the upper hand for its use of the high museum and marriott marquis alone.

    i couldn’t get past the feeling that enorton was just sleepwalking his way through red dragon. and hopkins was so clearly an older version of his silence of the lambs portrayal that it would have been less distracting to have another actor play him altogether.

    to live and die in la, +a. everybody wang chung tonight…

  2. Gray

    Manhunter messed me up when I first saw it as a child (most likely an early HBO joint), especially the pantyhose over half the face bit. Don’t think I’ve seen it since, and definitely never saw Red Dragon, but would imagine that flaming body in the wheelchair in the parking deck is still more boss than whatever Anthony Hopkins says about fava beans.

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