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Mann of the West

An established authority on film, Professor Basinger has updated her monograph on the films of Anthony Mann for good reason.  Not only has her original edition of 1979 long been out of print, it has been in much demand.  This second edition of Anthony Mann will mean that a new generation of students of film, and of American film in particular, will again be indebted to her.

Anthony Mann (1907-67) is remembered today chiefly for his direction of Hollywood films in the 40’s and the 50’s—he did his best work from 1947 to 1958, in two cycles.  Having learned his craft, he was a creative force in film noir, working with the great cinematographer John Alton, among others, in the production of B-movies that are cult objects today, the best of them being Desperate (1947), T-Men (1947), Raw Deal (1948), Reign of Terror (a.k.a. The Black Book, 1949), Border Incident (1949), and Side Street (1949).  Basinger is brilliant on Border Incident, and perhaps that is the best of these movies.  But nothing can erase the memory of the outré Reign of Terror, a cinematographically radical treatment of the French Revolution!

The two noirish Westerns that Mann made for MGM in 1950, Devil’s Doorway and The Furies, were transitional works that took him in that year to Winchester ’73...

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