Veteran bounty-hunter Morg Hickman rides into a town in danger. The sheriff has been killed, and young inexperienced Ben Owens named a temporary replacement until a permanent can be found. Ben wants to be that permanent replacement, so needs to impress the townspeople with his skill. When he finds that Morg was a sheriff for a long time before he became a bounty-hunter, he asks the older man to teach him. Morg thinks that being a sheriff is a foolish goal, but agrees to instruct Ben in handling people, more important to a sheriff than handling a gun. Continue reading
Synopsis (All Movie Guide)
This ambitious independent production was packaged by producer W. Lee Wilder, brother of Billy Wilder, and distributed by Republic. The title character, played with relish (and a bit of mustard) by Erich Von Stroheim, is an arrogant vaudeville artiste specializing in a trick-gunshot act. A dyed-in-the-wool misogynist, Flamarion at first pays little attention to his beautiful assistant Connie (Mary Beth Hughes)-just as well, since Connie is already married to Flamarion’s other assistant, Al Wallace (Dan Duryea). Bored with marriage, Connie begins playing up to her boss, the result being the “accidental” death of Al during Flamarion’s act. Having committed murder for Connie’s sake, Flamarion fully expects to be sexually compensated-but he doesn’t know the treacherous Connie as well as the late Al did. Future cult favorite Anthony Mann’s direction is rather perfunctory, suggesting perhaps that he was somewhat intimidated in the presence of the flamboyant Von Stroheim. — Hal Erickson Continue reading
Western auteur Anthony Mann and aging Western icon Gary Cooper team up in this stark tale of a trio of train passengers stranded in the middle of the desert after a railway holdup. Taking responsibility for his helpless compatriots (Julie London as a sad-eyed prostitute and Arthur O’Connell as a garrulous but cowardly banker), craggy-faced Link Jones (Cooper) takes them into a veritable viper’s nest in a desperate gamble. It turns out the respected town elder is a former member of the outlaw gang that robbed them, and he’s welcomed back by patriarchal gang leader Dock Tobin (Lee J. Cobb) like the prodigal son. In his last true Western, Anthony Mann matched the archetypal title with a story about a hero’s effort to descend into his outlaw past so that he can exorcise it from his present. Mann initially makes light of Link’s discomfort with civilization, before isolating him, saloon girl Billie, and gambler Sam in the wilderness, where their entrance into Dock’s dark outlaw lair reveals Link’s family-trained past as a hardened criminal, a past abandoned for upstanding married life. Underlining Link’s psychological state as he plans to kill the gang, the widescreen landscapes move from more verdant surroundings to the rocky Mojave Desert and a ghost town, as Link’s obsessiveness matches his enemies’ psychosis. Continue reading
Hal Erickson @ All Movie Guide wrote:
The moodily evocative docudrama T-Men stars Dennis O’Keefe as Dennis O’Brien, a treasury agent determined to bring a counterfeiting ring to justice. O’Brien and his partner Tony Genaro (Alfred Ryder) go undercover to gain the confidence of the ruthless Detroit mob responsible for the phony money. The plot, compelling though it is, takes second place to the film’s stylish set pieces, superbly directed by Anthony Mann and brilliantly photographed by John Alton.
One of the finest examples of the film noir form, T-Men proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that a film didn’t need to have a lush budget, brilliant Technicolor and Clark Gable to score a hit with postwar moviegoers. Continue reading