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From Broadway to Hollywood

From Broadway to Hollywood

(p.19) Chapter 2 From Broadway to Hollywood
The Crime Films of Anthony Mann
Max Alvarez
University Press of Mississippi

This chapter focuses on Mann’s beginnings as a stage director, beginning with his 1933 staging of Thunder on the Left, based on a Christopher Morley novel. Mann (still known professionally as Anton Bundsmann) subsequently directed Hollywood-bound James Stewart in a summer stock play and was soon directing on Broadway (the revue New Faces of 1936, the controversial So Proudly We Hail) and for the Federal Theatre (The Cherokee Night, Haiti, Big Blow). Mann’s freelance work as screen test director for film producer David O. Selznick enabled him to accept more daring theater projects. During 1939-40, Mann became one of the world’s first television directors when he worked at NBC’s experimental TV station W2XBS, directing everything from commercials to live plays. After NBC ended the experiment, Mann freelanced until early 1941, when he accepted an apprenticeship offer from Paramount Pictures in Hollywood to shadow Preston Sturges during production of Sullivan’s Travels.

Keywords:   Morley, Federal Theatre, Haiti, Selznick, NBC, Paramount, Sturges

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