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DESPERATE -- a new Anthony Mann fan


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So this is my first Mann (and I'd love to explore his noir westerns) and my appetite is whetted for more! Would like to see RAW DEAL next.

 

I was never really involved emotionally in Brodie and his wife's plight but was drawn into the hyperbolic camera stylizations and also got "a kick" (boy, Anthony is rather sadistic, isn't he?) out of the hulking psychotic menace of Raymond Burr and his touching brotherly love.

 

I dug the masks in the van but wonder about the inclusion of the Czech wedding.

 

The kid with the toy machine gun in the opening was supposed to be, it seemed to me, a parody of foreshadowing.

 

Message was edited by: Bronxgirl48

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Your first Mann? Isn't that rather personal?

 

Mann's westerns are good, if not great. They're serious. I understand they breathed new life into the genre. But they're not on the level with Ford, Hawks or Henry King. I haven't seen DESPERATE. Chronologically, it seems to fall into his most impressive run. Dark, mature crime stories like T-MEN, RAW DEAL and HE WALKED BY NIGHT. This is followed by the westerns, some drama, some stuff I don't know. And wouldn't you know he winds it all up with a couple of tedious sword and sandal epics. EL CID; FALL OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. What the hell? We all have bills to pay!

 

RR

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LOL, loved your great feedback, rr! I wasn't able to see HE WALKED BY NIGHT, which came on before DESPERATE.

 

I didn't know he also did those s&s movies. I'll have to check them out too!

 

I'm also new to Steve Brodie. Good, potato-faced, Everyman quality. (not that every man is a potato face, but you get the idea)

 

Message was edited by: Bronxgirl48

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Hi Bronxie, I think you will like the new Mann in your life as you get to know him (but don't worry, Duane). I wouldn't think Desperate was nearly his best so I look forward to your reactions to what lies ahead. Of course, *Man of the West* is my MANN. ;)

 

Coincidentally, after I watched Desperate that evening I watched some of the episodes of my "Alfred Hitchcock Presents - Season 3" and there was *Steve Brodie* in one of them.

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I'll have to tell my Duane that Mann is not my man, or we'll devolve into an A&C routine.

 

Thank you for your seasoned comments, I think I've got some good stuff to look forward to. I'll make a note of MAN OF THE WEST.

 

Wouldn't mind seeing more of Brodie, in films or t.v.

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Brodie gives the vibe that this is a guy you might meet around any corner in New York, at the neighborhood grocery (which is now one of a massive chain, of course) or in my case, on the job. Very real and basically a "right guy" (though not in that Alfie episode---decidedly not).

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I believe it was James Brown who said, "It's a Mann, Mann, Mann's World". And a noirish one it is.

 

I've only seen a couple of the Westerns -- *Winchester '73* and *The Naked Spur* -- but they, especially the latter (James Stewart and Robert Ryan), are among my favorites.

 

His noirs rank with the best. And John Alton was the cinematographer for *T-Men* , *Raw Deal* , *He Walked by Night* and *Reign of Terror* (aka *The Black Book* ). That immediately puts them a cut above (some shill for John Ford; me, it's John Alton).

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I used to meet Brodie types in Chicago and the Big Apple.

 

But there aren't any here in Boca.

 

Only a lot of Jerry Stillers.

 

Or else they look like Mark Rydell in THE LONG GOODBYE.

 

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Actually, "oy vey" as well, for Mark Rydell as upwardly mobile but psychotic gangster Marty Augustine in THE LONG GOODBYE.

 

You shouldn't know from him! (he makes Sonny Corleone seem tame)

 

Message was edited by: Bronxgirl48

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Hi, Mann's BronxGirl -- Anthony Mann is one of my favorite directors. I'm attempting to see as many of his films as possible, but I'm a slow attempter.

 

Here are my current Mann rankings:

 

1. Raw Deal

 

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2. Winchester '73

 

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3. Man of the West (VHS)

 

4. The Naked Spur

 

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5. The Great Flamarion

 

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6. T-Men

 

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7. The Far Country

 

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8. God's Little Acre

 

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9. The Man From Laramie

 

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10. Side Street

 

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11. Railroaded

 

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12. Border Incident

 

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I also have Reign of Terror and Bend of the River on DVD but I haven't watched them yet.

 

Reign of Terror

 

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Bend of the River

 

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Here's the upcoming Anthony Mann schedule on TCM:

 

12/1 Raw Deal 8:30 AM EST

12/9 The Heroes of Telemark 2:00 PM EST

12/17 Man of the West 10:00 PM EST

1/5 Man of the West 12:30 PM EST

1/19 The Tin Star 4:00 PM EST

2/4 The Glenn Miller Story 6:00 PM EST

2/18 Quo Vadis 10:30 AM EST

2/18 The Fall of the Roman Empire 1:30 PM EST

2/19 Cimarron 2:15 PM EST

2/19 The Tin Star 6:15 PM EST

2/21 Strategic Air Command 9:15 AM EST

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[bronxChiBocaGirl] -- As always, Mr. Grimes' taste is so impressive for a relative newbie, putting this oldie and Mann fan to shame. I really need to dig deeper into his Westerns and it's embarassing that as a Mann and Stroheim fan I have not yet seen *The Great Flamarion* .

 

For what it's worth, my ordering (based on my enjoyment more than my feeble judgment of artistic merit) is:

 

1. *The Naked Spur*

2. *Reign of Terror* (aka *The Black Book* )

3. *Raw Deal*

4. *He Walked by Night* (uncredited director)

5. *The Man from Laramie*

6. *Winchester '73*

7. *T-Men*

8. *God's Little Acre*

9. *Railroaded*

10. *Border Incident*

11. *Desperate*

12. *The Glenn Miller Story*

13. *Strange Impersonation*

 

I haven't seen *El Cid* and *The Fall of the Roman Empire* since seeing them at release, so I won't rate them. And I've assumed that most of *Spartacus* is Kubrick's.

 

It's hard to go wrong (my top 4 could be shuffled), but I suggest saving *Strange Impersonation* for the end of your journey -- it might derail you if seen too early.

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LOVE THAT BRONXGIRL! -- My Grimey Baby -- What can I say?

 

Your illustrating photos, your insights, that Mann schedule on TCM.....

 

HERE'S A GIANT HUG!!!!

 

Wow! We've come a long way since I got fresh with you as your slave. Thank you for the giant hug! Hugs always feel good coming from you. Thanks!

 

Anthony Mann's films are usually psychologically complex but not complex enough to follow. He was a very talented director with great substance, and his films are well worth the look, especially his westerns and noirs. Mann and Hitch are the ones who helped make me a Jimmy Stewart fan.

 

Hi, Fellow Mann Man -- As always, Mr. Grimes' taste is so impressive for a relative newbie, putting this oldie and Mann fan to shame.

 

You are definitely too kind, Chi-Town. Truly. You easily have it over me in terms of taste and knowledge. I've immensely enjoyed following your Jacques Tourneur journey. I have taken in many of your opinions. Some of them are very unique, which I like a lot. It's one of the biggest reasons why I like Dewey here in Noir Town. He has his own opinion and speaks it more eloquently than anyone. When he speaks, I definitely listen. The same can be said of you.

 

I really need to dig deeper into his Westerns and it's embarassing that as a Mann and Stroheim fan I have not yet seen The Great Flamarion.

 

The Far Country has grown on me with each viewing. I know Miss G is a big fan of the film. Man of the West is an absolute must view for you. I think you'll really like it. It's a very dark western. Miss G is the one who suggested this film to me, and she nailed it, like I knew she would.

 

I'd love to hear your opinion of The Great Flamarion. This is yet another Mann film that keeps climbing the list for me. The camerawork and lighting aren't as breathtaking as in T-Men and Raw Deal, but I do like the way the story is told and the story itself. Mary Beth Hughes' "Connie Wallace" is one of my favorite femme fatales in noir history, Erich Von Stroheim plays the sap with stoic power and glory, and Dan Duryea is interesting as a sucker drunk. It's quite an interesting film. I hope you seek it out.

 

For what it's worth, my ordering (based on my enjoyment more than my feeble judgment of artistic merit) is:

 

1. The Naked Spur

2. Reign of Terror (aka The Black Book )

3. Raw Deal

4. He Walked by Night (uncredited director)

5. The Man from Laramie

6. Winchester '73

7. T-Men

8. God's Little Acre

9. Railroaded

10. Border Incident

11. Desperate

12. The Glenn Miller Story

13. Strange Impersonation

 

I haven't seen El Cid and The Fall of the Roman Empire since seeing them at release, so I won't rate them. And I've assumed that most of Spartacus is Kubrick's.

 

It's hard to go wrong (my top 4 could be shuffled), but I suggest saving Strange Impersonation for the end of your journey -- it might derail you if seen too early.

 

Of the available Mann films on DVD, I'm most interested in seeing Strange Impersonation (your low ranking quells my enthusiasm a bit) and Reign of Terror (primarily because of you and Rosenbaum's liking of the film). You REALLY like the film. I do have the film on DVD now. I taped Desperate and I also have Bend of the River on DVD. I can't remember if I taped The Heroes of Telemark or not. The film I want to see the most is The Furies.

 

By the way, I noticed God's Little Acre isn't buried on your list. Not bad. I still can't believe it's a Mann film.

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[FrankG] -- *I'm most interested in seeing Strange Impersonation (your low ranking quells my enthusiasm a bit)*

 

Please, don't let me quell any enthusiasm. I'd like to hear your opinion of it and a comparison with a favorite non-Mann film of yours from the prior year. It could have been that my hopes were too high, so any minor disappointment became unduly magnified. It's worth seeing for a completist such as yourself. Remember -- in any list, something has to be last.

 

But get thee to the *Reign of Terror* viewing immediately. I type that as Robert & Arlene look down at me from my *The Black Book* insert by my desk.

 

By the way, you just connected me to Dewey and Rosenbaum. You are a loon. But I owe you a drink if I'm ever near Candyland.

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ChiO, My Hero -- Please, don't let me quell any enthusiasm. I'd like to hear your opinion of it and a comparison with a favorite non-Mann film of yours from the prior year. It could have been that my hopes were too high, so any minor disappointment became unduly magnified. It's worth seeing for a completist such as yourself. Remember -- in any list, something has to be last.

 

Strange Impersonation has intrigued the heck out of me since I got into Anthony Mann because I wanna see a Mann film with a female lead. Railroaded is pretty close to a female-lead film I've seen of his, but Strange Impersonation seems to be a female-drive flick. The only reason why I haven't purchased the DVD is because it's pretty pricey by itself. Now that it's bundled in the new Kino Noir bundle, I'm thinking about getting it. I already have Scarlet Street on DVD, so I'm deciding if the other 3 films are worth the bundle price and I'm thinking they are. My brother is the lucky one because he would get my Scarlet Street single for nothing.

 

But get thee to the Reign of Terror viewing immediately. I type that as Robert & Arlene look down at me from my The Black Book insert by my desk.

 

Your ranking of Reign of Terror as your 2nd favorite Mann film is what really has made me interested in the film. Yes, you even top Rosenbaum on this one. And hearing that you have the insert by your desk only adds to my want to see the film. I love that kind of enthusiasm for a smaller, unknown film.

 

By the way, you just connected me to Dewey and Rosenbaum. You are a loon. But I owe you a drink if I'm ever near Candyland.

 

At least you realize I'm a loon dishing out the compliments. You always have to consider the source.

 

You're in Dewey and Rosenbaum's class for me because I value your opinion just as I value theirs. No joke.

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I agree that REIGN OF TERROR's high ranking is the intrigung element to me. It's synopsis barely interests me, on first reading, but I've enjoyed Basehart and Cummings in quite a few of their crime-drama films so this is a full-steam-ahead selection for me, too. Thanks, guys, for getting me to spend money on yet another film! ha ha...grrrr

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Hey, Ollie -- I agree that REIGN OF TERROR's high ranking is the intrigung element to me. It's synopsis barely interests me, on first reading, but I've enjoyed Basehart and Cummings in quite a few of their crime-drama films so this is a full-steam-ahead selection for me, too.

 

This is what first attracted me to Reign of Terror:

 

From Jonathan Rosenbaum --

 

Period Noir:

 

Anthony Mann?s The Black Book (1949). One of the great unacknowledged forms of noir is costume drama. I can?t think of a better example than this campy, hugely enjoyable thriller about the French Revolution?-also known as Reign of Terror, with Robert Cummings, Richard Basehart, and Arlene Dahl--brilliantly shot by John Alton, the greatest noir cinematographer. I even prefer it to Mann?s more conventional noirs in contemporary settings, many of them also shot by Alton. Furthermore, the version of this gem currently available is priced so low that it?s an uncommon bargain.

 

Thanks, guys, for getting me to spend money on yet another film! ha ha...grrrr

 

That's a common problem with me and this board. I won't name names, though. :D

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[MissG] -- *I didn't know a period film can be a film noir...is that really so?*

 

It was that very question that kept me from watching *Reign of Terror* for so long. Costume dramas don't grab me generally, and the idea of a film noir set during the French Revolution struck me as odd. But my love for John Alton's work won out...and I'm glad it did. The theme (paranoia; Fate sticking out its foot and tripping people) and cinematography are noir staples...it just so happens that the people are wearing 19th century clothing and there is a guillotine.

 

I figured that I was the only person who liked this little public domain gem because I never saw discussions of it. Then I saw that Rosenbaum likes it, so I knew there were two of us and it became one of those movies that I proselytize on behalf of.

 

And... film noir can be in color: *Slightly Scarlet* (Allan Dwan, with cinematography by John Alton). As that insert by my desk, with drawings of John Payne and the very hot hot hot Rhonda Fleming & Arlene Dahl looking at me, puts it:

 

NOT EXACTLY CROOKED!

NOT EXACTLY STRAIGHT!

...just caught in the ever-tightening web of graft in a corrupt city!

 

That could almost work for *Reign of Terror* as well.

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Thanks for the reply, ChiO. It just hit me sideways that a period film might be considered "noir". I haven't seen the movie, but isn't The French Revolution the cause of the dramatic events? In which case it's not really "fate" is it, that trips the people up, right?

 

And... film noir can be in color:

 

Would *Leave Her to Heaven* qualify then as a film noir?

 

By the way, I'm just positing these questions out of curiosity, I don't really care much about how films are categorized. :)

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Hi, Miss G:

 

Thought I'd add my 2 cents' worth here.

 

I don't want to go into too many details (which would spoil it for you), but "fate" does still play a part in the goings on in THE BLACK BOOK, and there's a nice (historically true) ironic ending involving Basehart as well.

 

As to the "noir in color" question, yes, LEAVE HER TO HEAVEN would definitely qualify as noir.

As noted, SLIGHTLY SCARLET does as well

 

The whole idea of a "period" film qualifying as noir has been widely (& hotly debated). Some folks feel that in order to be truly noir, a film must be limited basically to the post-war (WWII) era of the mid-1940s through to the late 1950s or early 1960s, or in other words, approximately the time the genre enjoyed its greatest popularity among filmmakers. And although they would concede the presence of noir elements in these other films, they would not consider them to be "true" noir.

 

Others feel that that "ain't necessarily so" and make note not only of THE BLACK BOOK, but of the "noir Western", some classic examples of which have been mentioned right here on this thread. Another good example is PURSUED, from 1947, with Robert Mitchum. These folks feel that the "look" and "feel", even the "attitude" of noir is not necessarily restricted to any given period setting, even if it perhaps was best exemplified by the post World War II era, as noted above.

 

Lastly, I can't comment on FALL OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE because I've not seen it, but I always thought EL CID was more than just your run of DeMille costume epic. It's worth a look!

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Well, too bad, FG, hugs are my forte and I intend to continue delivering them, so there! I don't mean to come across as a discombobulator, lol.

 

Lubitsch was my intro to Jimmy Stewart, in THE SHOP AROUND THE CORNER.. I was astounded that someone so American could be totally convincing as a Hungarian store clerk. Granted, the story itself is timeless, but it IS rooted in locale, so I was really impressed. I love this movie, it's one of my all time favorites.

 

Mary Beth Hughes is underrated, imo, as a femme fatale. She was impressive in her short screen time in THE OX-BOW INCIDENT.

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