Anthony Mann regarded T-Men, the subject of this chapter, to be his first film because he had more influence on the development of the story and its characters than he had previously in his Hollywood pictures. The policier was produced in the “semi-documentary” style fashionable after World War II when an increasing number of crime melodramas utilized practical locations to achieve newsreel-style realism for increasingly jaded moviegoers. The tense story of two Treasury agents going undercover to destroy a Detroit counterfeiting ring marked the second Mann collaboration with screenwriter John C. Higgins and the director’s first with noir cinematographer John Alton. The chapter utilizes research obtained from the Edward Small papers at USC on the film’s production and marketing and includes numerous frame captures illustrating Mann and Alton’s artistic monochromatic compositions. Analyses are also made of several scenes Mann later fondly cited (including a murder staged in a steam bath).
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