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The Lost Noir of Anthony Mann

The Lost Noir of Anthony Mann

(p.226) Chapter 17 The Lost Noir of Anthony Mann
The Crime Films of Anthony Mann
Max Alvarez
University Press of Mississippi

This chapter contains new research on an aspect of Anthony Mann’s work never before analyzed or acknowledged – his direction of the now lost film noir short, “Load.” Originally to have been included in the M-G-M anthology, It’s a Big Country (1952), Mann’s segment starring Jean Hersholt and Ann Harding was cut prior to release. Through analysis of the original 1931 Dudley Schnabel short story and its subsequent Luther Davis screen adaptations (preserved at USC), the chapter reconstructs the spirit of the Mann film about a meek Scandinavian immigrant load dispatcher at a Midwest utilities plant who, during a massive power outage in the region, learns that his delinquent son has killed a man during a robbery. The surviving scripts indicate that both Mann and Davis did stellar work in visualizing and verbalizing the emotional intensity of this dramatic story, which may have been the most personal film Mann ever made.

Keywords:   M-G-M, film noir, Hersholt, USC, Scandinavian

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