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Strangers in the Night (1944)

Strangers in the Night (1944)

(p.45) Chapter 4 Strangers in the Night (1944)
The Crime Films of Anthony Mann
Max Alvarez
University Press of Mississippi

This chapter focuses on Anthony Mann’s strangest and shortest film, the Republic Pictures gothic melodrama Strangers in the Night. Mann began his unhappy association with the “Poverty Row” studio after a brief musical interlude at Universal Pictures, and the second project Republic assigned him was this tale of two sinister spinsters and a veteran of the South Pacific war. The chapter argues that Strangers in the Night cannot be fully explained without placing it within the context of Republic’s bizarre style of melodramas, several of which (Frank Borzage’s Moonrise and Fritz Lang’s House by the River) are amongst the most compelling of their years. Mann had limited input into the material but asserts himself directorially and stylistically, from menacing uses of a staircase to several potent lengthy camera takes. Despite her uneven performance, Helene Thimig must have fascinated Mann given that she was the widow of stage director Max Reinhardt.

Keywords:   Gothic, Republic Pictures, Universal, Borzage, Lang, Reinhardt

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