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Strange Impersonation (1946)

Strange Impersonation (1946)

(p.70) Chapter 7 Strange Impersonation (1946)
The Crime Films of Anthony Mann
Max Alvarez
University Press of Mississippi

Anthony Mann’s final Republic Pictures assignment, Strange Impersonation, is the focus of this chapter. It stars Brenda Marshall as the most spellbinding female character to appear in a Mann picture, a chemist whose experiments with a new type of anaesthesia have disastrous results. This noir, whose author Mindret Lord had earlier collaborated with Mann on the Broadway revue New Faces of 1936, incorporates playful Brechtian elements into its dark narrative. In order to stay within his limited schedule and budget, Mann employed several extended uninterrupted camera takes, which nonetheless showcased his aptitude for positioning actors within confined spaces. The climactic police interrogation scene with its gruelling collage of close-ups, tilted medium shots, and expressionist low-angles, lays the visual foundation for such subsequent Mann enterprises as Railroaded! and Raw Deal. The chapter also monitors the film’s distribution in 1946, where it benefitted from being double-featured with a major M-G-M Technicolor musical.

Keywords:   Anaesthesia, noir, Mindret Lord, Brechtian, expressionist

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