But, the basic structure of the story is the same: Rainsford (Joel McCrea)—in the story his name is Sanger, in the film he's just plain "Bob"*—is a big game hunter on a yacht with friends in the midst of a hunting trip. The ship hits a reef, explodes and the crew are eaten by sharks (interesting sequence, that). Only Bob survives and is washed up on the island of Baranka, the home of the Russian Baron Zaroff (Leslie Banks). He is found and brought to the Baron's rather creepy stone "lair" and made welcome.
|The Baron has ambitious goals.
|Wait a minute, isn't that?...no, no, that's next year...
What is going on?
Well, if you haven't figured it out yet, you haven't seen a lot of movies, or are so familiar with what has become something of a trope in films and television, it may hold no surprises or cause a thought that it might be unusual. But it does lead up to a sustained set-piece with man (and woman) versus man in a jungle hunt. And where Connell's story dripped with irony and a macabre wit, there's not much evidence of it in the filmed version, despite efforts to increase the "ick" factor (a lot of which went missing when the Hays Code came into effect...and when preview audiences ran out of the theater).
Now the film is a curiosity, not only for its relationship to Kong (which was filmed about the same time with many of the sets used in both films) and for its none-too-subtle forays into the horror field. Still, for what it is, it's nicely acted by McCrea, Wray, and the superbly creepy Banks who has a lazer-like stare that rivaled Lugosi's. Two years later, he would star as Hitchcock's The Man Who Knew Too Much (British version), as the father of a child kidnapped by terrorists to keep him silent about a planned political assassination. But, here he's "the bad guy" and he's as effective as he is in more heroic roles for other directors. He's a revelation and a powerful presence, quite more than the original character in the story's.
* With a name like "Bob" no wonder he survived the ship-wreck (Ooooh...sorry).