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Raw Deal


CaveGirl
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Even though I own it, I got into watching Anthony Mann's "Raw Deal" last night. I was struck immediately by the seemingly theme oriented cinematography of John Alton, which can express danger, attraction and mystery through his inimitable lighting and painterly style.


First scene has Dennis O'Keefe sitting behind a meshy diamond-articulated screen in the visitor room in the big house, and there we see Marsha Hunt with similar criss-crossed starlights in her eyes being all schmoopy over him, plus she is wearing a veil with a similar diamond pattern. Next up, good old Clair Trevor arrives as girlfriend Numero 1 [at least in her mind], and she too has the trademark John Alton stars in her eyes and also is wearing the obligatory veil behind which she observes all.  All these veiled artifices give the impression that they were all a bit caged. These stars in eyes disappear as Dennis starts to make both woman a bit suspicious of his motives by the way.

 

With both women vying for O'Keefes attention, it is inevitable that when Claire helps him break out, and run for cover that Marsha will be drawn into the triad. The film also has the great, Raymond Burr back in his truly heavy days and John Ireland and even a wonderful bit with Whit Bissell as a killer, before he cleaned up his act in films and went straight.

 

The Alton cinematography was fantastic, from start to finish. Alton always believed from what I've read in his book, that to make the camera lie you need to use diffusion. He also had specific techniques for shooting fire in scenes, and used small arc lights held in one's palm to simulate a cigarette being lit. He also suggests low angle lighting for criminal settings and prisons. Interestingly in his book "Painting With Light" Alton uses some of the exact scenes depicted in "Raw Deal" to illustrate his many theories.


It is no surprise to me, that the ending of "Raw Deal" wherein [spoilers ahead] Raymond Burr and Dennis O'Keefe fight to the death, had lighting which prefigured that in the movie "Sin City". I would bet that comic book artist, Frank Miller was highly influenced by the cinematography of John Alton. Who else watched?

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Well, you have to remember, RAW DEAL was done to fulfill contractual obligations Schwarzenegger had, so his heart wasn't really in it. I always thought his slicked back hair looked silly, and just having Arnold in the world of the mafia seemed like a wrong fit. I would have to say...huh, what's that? Wrong RAW DEAL? Oh, sorry.

 

 

But I did record the one last night, just haven't watched it. I'm watching nunsploitation at the moment.

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I always thought it was nuns and steel rulers.....

 

Heh....They did leave lasting impressions on some people....

 

My stepfather was Catholic, and attended Catholic school when growing up, and one of his older sisters( he had four) became a nun.  Whenever she came for a visit, it tickled me to see him sit there with a look of fearful dread on his face, afraid to speak much lest he slip and let loose with an even mild profanity.  She noticed it with amusement, and whenever she'd leave, she'd tell him, "I'm leaving now, George.  You can start breathing  again!"  She was a wonderful person, and I liked her a lot.  We all did.

 

Sepiatone

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I always thought it was nuns and steel rulers.....

 

Heh....They did leave lasting impressions on some people....

 

My stepfather was Catholic, and attended Catholic school when growing up, and one of his older sisters( he had four) became a nun.  Whenever she came for a visit, it tickled me to see him sit there with a look of fearful dread on his face, afraid to speak much lest he slip and let loose with an even mild profanity.  She noticed it with amusement, and whenever she'd leave, she'd tell him, "I'm leaving now, George.  You can start breathing  again!"  She was a wonderful person, and I liked her a lot.  We all did.

 

Sepiatone

Yeah, I knew quite a few nice nuns actually, but it's still fun to gossip about them as demons with old classmates.

 

One time after my school days were over, we were all talking about some person who was praying constantly and going to confession every day and a friend's cousin was there who was a nun. She listened to all this and then said "That person is not religious, they sound more like a fanatic." She also was a great person just like your aunt, Sepia.

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I only happened to catch the last 2/3's of the film, CG, but yeah its cinematography immediately had be hooked to the very end.

 

(...not to mention that there was always somethin' about Marsha Hunt's face which I found intriguing)

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