Category Archives: Anthony Mann

Happy Birthday, Jimmy Stewart.

James Maitland Stewart
(May 20, 1908 – July 2, 1997)

Jimmy Stewart, surely one of the greatest movie actors of all time, was born 111 years ago today.

Having just finished a commentary for Kino Lorber’s upcoming Blu-Ray of Anthony Mann’s Thunder Bay (1953), and Bend Of The River before that, I’ve been marveling at Stewart’s craft — over and over again. Nobody underplays quite like he does, and nobody uses their own personal quirks to such a huge advantage.

But, of course, it doesn’t stop at the movies. Stewart also flew in the Air Force during World War II and beyond — something he rarely spoke about, and never waved around to bring attention to himself. They guy was a real national treasure.

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Filed under 1953, Anthony Mann, Dan Duryea, Harry Morgan, James Stewart, Kino Lorber

DVD News #218: Cold War Thrillers.

If you like your international intrigue filled with miniskirts, Walther PPKs and loads of Cold War paranoia, then this Mill Creek set is for you. Cold War Thrillers brings six 60s spy movies in from the cold — at a price even cash-strapped socialist nations can afford.

Man On A String (1960)
Directed by Andre De Toth
Starring Ernest Borgnine, Kerwin Mathews, Alexander Scourby, Colleen Dewhurst, Glenn Corbett, Ted Knight, Seymour Cassel

Ernest Borgnine stars in this 1960 spy picture based on the life (and autobiography, Ten Years A Counterspy) of Boris Morros, a Russian-born musical director in Hollywood (John Ford’s Stagecoach, 1939) who was first a Russian spy, then a counterspy for the FBI. Andre de Toth focuses on the double-crosses that stack up like cordwood.

The Deadly Affair (1966)
Directed by Sidney Lumet
Starring James Mason, Maximillian Schell, Simone Signoret

Sidney Lumet directs a picture from a book by John Le Carré, with James Mason in the lead. How can it miss? It doesn’t .

Otley (1968)
Directed by Dick Clement
Starring Tom Courtenay, Romy Schneider, Leonard Rossiter

Tom Courtenay is mistaken for a spy and murderer in swinging London.

Anthony Mann, Mia Farrow and Laurence Harvey on the set of A Dandy In Aspic

A Dandy In Aspic (1968)
Directed by Anthony Mann
Starring Mia Farrow, Laurence Harvey, Tom Courtenay, Peter Cook

While shooting this in Berlin, Anthony Mann had a heart attack and died. Laurence Harvey climbed into the director’s chair and finished it. It’s a solid spy picture  with Mann’s incredible use of Panavision giving it a real edge.

Hammerhead (1968)
Directed by David Miller
Starring Vince Edwards, Judy Geeson, Peter Vaughan, Diana Dors, Tracy Reed, Veronica Carlson, David Prowse

This is one I’ve been wanting to see for some time. The cast is great and David Miller’s usually worth paying attention to — after all, he did Flying Tigers (1942) and Lonely Are The Brave (1962).

The Executioner (1970)
Directed by Sam Wanamaker
Starring George Peppard, Joan Collins, Judy Geeson, Charles Gray

Here’s Judy Geeson again, this time with George Peppard in a spy picture packed with maybe too many double-crosses.

Open up a newspaper from 1966, and you’ll see there are enough 60s spy movies (or James Bond ripoffs) to do several volumes of these things. Which would be fine with me.

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Filed under 1960, 1966, 1968, Andre de Toth, Anthony Mann

Blu-Ray News #209: The Heroes Of Telemark (1965).

Directed by Anthony Mann
Starring Kirk Douglas, Richard Harris, Ulla Jacobsson, Michael Redgrave, Anton Diffring

Anthony Mann’s next-to-last movie, The Heroes Of Telemark (1965) is a based-on-fact secret-mission-in-the-snow picture in the Where Eagles Dare (1969) vein. It’s quite good — and it’ll certainly benefit from the leap to Blu-Ray. The skiing sequences, with Olympic ski coach Helge Stoylen and his students serving as camera operators, are terrific.

Sony has recently announced that it’s coming. Perfect for some snowy night around the fire.

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Filed under 1965, Anthony Mann, DVD/Blu-ray News, Kirk Douglas

Blu-Ray News #208: Noir Archive 1944-1954, Volume 1.

I am so stoked to report on this one. Kit Parker has put together the nine-film, three-disc Blu-Ray set Noir Archive 1944-1954, Volume 1. These are pictures from Columbia and Eagle Lion, and they’ll hit the streets in April.

Address Unknown (1944)
Directed by William Cameron Menzies
Starring Paul Lukas, Carl Esmond, Peter Van Eyck

Escape In The Fog (1945)
Directed by Oscar (Budd) Boetticher
Starring Otto Kruger, Nina Foch, William Wright

The Guilt Of Janet James (1947)
Directed by Henry Levin
Starring Rosalind Russell, Melvyn Douglas, Sid Caesar

The Black Book (aka The Reign Of Terror) (1949)
Directed by Anthony Mann
Starring Robert Cummings, Richard Basehart, Arlene Dahl

Johnny Allegro (1949)
Directed by Ted Tetzlaff
Starring George Raft, Nina Foch, George Macready

711 Ocean Drive (1950)
Directed by Joseph M. Newman
Starring Edmond O’Brien, Joanne Dru, Otto Kruger

The Killer That Stalked New York (1950)
Directed by Earl McEvoy
Starring Evelyn Keyes, Charles Korvin, William Bishop

Assignment Paris (1952)
Directed by Earl McEvoy
Starring Dana Andrews, Marta Toren, George Sanders

The Miami Story (1954)
Directed by Fred F. Sears
Starring Barry Sullivan, Luther Adler, John Baer

Look at those casts! And those directors — Mann, Boetticher, Sears! This is going to be a great set, with the promise of more. I urge you to pick one of these up — the success of this one will lead to more!

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Filed under 1950, 1952, 1954, Anthony Mann, Barry Sullivan, Budd Boetticher, Columbia, DVD/Blu-ray News, Eagle Lion, Edmond O'Brien, Fred F. Sears, George Sanders, Joseph M. Newman, Kit Parker, Richard Basehart, Sam Katzman

Blu-Ray News #196-A: Thunder Bay (1953).

Directed by Anthony Mann
Starring James Stewart, Joanne Dru, Gilbert Roland, Dan Duryea

Always liked Thunder Bay (1953), and I’m a bit embarrassed to admit that all its technical stuff is where a lot of my enthusiasm comes from. It was shot for 1.37, but Universal-International made it their first widescreen film — cropping it to 1.85, giving it stereophonic sound and making a very big deal about it all.

It’s turned up on DVD in various parts of the world in both 1.37 and widescreen. Not sure how the upcoming Kino Lorber Blu-Ray will be presented, but one thing’s for sure — I’m working a commentary for it. They’ve got it listed as an “early 2019” release.

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Filed under 1953, Anthony Mann, Dan Duryea, DVD/Blu-ray News, James Stewart, Kino Lorber, Universal (-International)

Blu-Ray News #196.

From The New York Daily News, May 15, 1953.

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Filed under 1953, Anthony Mann, Dan Duryea, DVD/Blu-ray News, James Stewart

Blu-Ray News #144: T-Men (1947).

Directed by Anthony Mann
Starring Dennis O’Keefe, Mary Meade, Alfred Ryder, Wallace Ford, June Lockhart, Charles McGraw, Frank Ferguson

I’m so glad Classicflix is spiffing up Anthony Mann’s T-Men (1947) for Blu-Ray. It’s one of the most visually striking pictures of the 40s, thanks to the great John Alton. I can’t wait to see his shadows in high definition.

Dennis O’Keefe and Alfred Ryder are treasury agents trying to bust up a counterfeit ring, and they end up trying to infiltrate the Detroit mob. Mann gets things to a full boil almost immediately, and we spend the rest of the hour and a half wondering when it’s all gonna blow apart — and how little of the cast will still be alive.

Anthony Mann: “This is what I really call my first film. I was responsible for its story, for its structure, its characters and for actually making it.  This was my first real break towards being able to make films the way I wanted.”

Mann and Alton’s use of LA and Detroit locations and their overall documentary-style treatment really add to the realism and tension of the whole thing. Oh, and did I mention it’s got Charles McGraw, Wallace Ford and Frank Ferguson in it? This movie’s absolutely essential.

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Filed under Anthony Mann, Charles McGraw, ClassicFlix, Dennis O'Keefe, DVD/Blu-ray News, Eagle Lion, Frank Ferguson