A Two Disc Set
Director Anthony Mann and noted cinematographer John Alton were key practitioners of Forties film noir. This DVD set includes three of their toughest and most sought-after crime films:
T-Men and Raw Deal (both 1947), along with He Walked By Night (which Mann directed without credit in 1946). Film noir is not a specific genre like the Western of the Horror Film. It's a balance of mood and visual style (night photography, strange camera angles and stark black and white).
Mann, Alton and writer John C. Higgins created foggy landscapes full of low-life characters, despair and paranoia. The cities in these films seem to be populated entirely by criminals. Everyone has an angle. And a price. In T-Men, cops blend a little too well with crooks, a moral ambiguity that forms the backbone of many noirs. Dennis O'Keefe's crook is the closest thing to a hero you'll find in Raw Deal. And we follow a cop killer in the semi-documentary style He Walked By Night (which provided an inspiration for Dragnet). Anthony Mann went on to direct a stable of psychological Fifties Westerns. But his films here with Alton, Dennis O'Keefe and Richard Basehart remain some of his strongest work.