Thursday, December 06, 2007

steve badger - Anthony Mann

The older I get the more I feel close to the work of Anthony Mann. I suppose being a crazed paranoid loser helps but my appreciation for his skills both with character and style grow every time I see one of his films.

I don't know who Steve Badger is. I ran across this site yesterday and think it's worth checking out. Here are a couple samples of his assessments of Mann's work.

3) The Naked Spur, 1953. Jimmy Stewart made eight films with Anthony Mann. Five were westerns. Many film critics consider The Naked Spur to be the finest western ever made. Besides Stewart there are four other characters, played by Robert Ryan, Janet Leigh, Millard Mitchell (also in Winchester '73) and the always watchable Ralph Meeker (memorable in Jeopardy and as Mike Hammer in Kiss Me Deadly). Technically Ryan is the villain, but each male character is nuts in his way. Meeker in particular personifies heroic villainy, if that is possible. When watching the sunny, breathtaking scenery of The Naked Spur, I always think of the darkness of Mann’s film noir movies. Mann’s command of both interior darkness and panoramic light is an amazing accomplishment.

6) Raw Deal, 1948. Here we discover something Anthony Mann loves to film as much as shadows: co-star Marsha Hunt’s face. Aside from how beautiful it is, one reason may be because she is the only sympathetic character in this movie -- and she isn’t even the most likeable! (That honor goes to the #2 villain played by John Ireland.) The lead bad guy here is perhaps the heaviest heavy in the history of American film: Raymond Burr. Perry Mason fans unfamiliar with Burr’s film noir work are in for a jolt here when he throws burning alcohol on a party guest when she accidentally bumps him: "She should have been more careful." True to Anthony Mann movies though, that scene isn’t the creepiest. That distinction goes to John Ireland and the deer antlers... YOW!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I'm going have to investigate Mann...mostly for the last several decades I'd think of him as the guy SPARTACUS was taken away from, to be given to Stanley Kubrick. If SK seemed a more bankable choice, that must indeed say something about Mann's outlook and habits...