The Crime Films of Anthony Mann

The Crime Films of Anthony Mann

Max Alvarez

Print publication date: 2014

ISBN: 9781617039249

Publisher: University Press of Mississippi

Abstract

Anthony Mann was a major contributor to film noir, and this book studies the development, production, and marketing, of the director’s 1942-1951 cycle of 15 thrillers and suspense melodramas (one of which he provided the story, not direction). Through analyses of screenplays, production and censorship papers, eyewitness interviews, and other sources, author Max Alvarez reveals how such films as Raw Deal, Desperate, T-Men, Border Incident, and Side Street, were made. The book resolves the mysteries behind Mann’s uncredited participation in He Walked By Night, a film whose best sequences were in fact his. It analyzes Mann’s influences on his thrillers known (as were his westerns) for their troubled and violent protagonists. The filmmaker’s pre-Hollywood career as New York stage actor and director, along with his vital contributions to the Federal Theatre Project and groundbreaking work as an NBC-TV director in 1939-1940, are similarly examined. The book argues not only for a clarification of Mann’s place in film noir history but also for a comprehensive understanding of his roots and the cultural and political influences prior to his making cinematic history as a specialist in both the crime and western milieus. The goals of this book are to clarify and correct previous misinterpretations of Anthony Mann’s life and career in order to better comprehend his achievements. The book examines Mann’s stage and television work, including the controversial 1936 military school Broadway play So Proudly We Hail, and the director’s 1939 live television direction of the stage mystery A Criminal at Large.