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Two O’Clock Courage (1945)

Two O’Clock Courage (1945)

(p.51) Chapter 5 Two O’Clock Courage (1945)
The Crime Films of Anthony Mann
Max Alvarez
University Press of Mississippi

Anthony Mann’s initial film for RKO, the comic mystery Two O’Clock Courage, a low-budget remake of the 1936 picture Two in the Dark, is the focus of this chapter. Tom Conway stars as a murder suspect with amnesia retracing his steps with the aid of a woman taxi driver (Ann Rutherford). This chapter documents the film’s sixteen-day production schedule and conducts a comparative analysis between key sequences from the 1936 film. Despite being handed used material that too often relies on obvious comedy, Mann leaves his mark in a number of superlatively staged suspense scenes, several involving a craning, tracking, or zooming camera. Analysis of the film reveals at least one instance (Conway breaking into a mansion at night) where studio editorial interference lessened the impact of Mann’s directorial conception. That Two O’Clock Courage was a routine studio assignment (and a remake at that) confirms how RKO viewed Mann in 1945.

Keywords:   RKO, amnesia, murder, remake, taxi

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