Film Noir 2024

Effortlessly transcends its semi-documentary brief to land deep in noir territory, concerned less with the heroic exploits of its T‑Men than with personality perversities involved in undercover work.”

Tom Milne, Time Out

The first collaboration between key noir image-makers John Alton and Anthony Mann is a mob-financed, fed-approved barn burner that, in case you’re having too much fun, pauses for sober voice of god” narration! Movies played after newsreels in the 1940s; the credible idea behind T‑Men was a propaganda portrayal of the six fingers of the treasury department fist,” here seen trying to crack a counterfeiting enterprise. The math is simple: two agents—violent O’Brien and knowledgeable Genaro—ought to be enough to take down a web that stretches from Detroit to LA’s Chinatown, so long as their disguises hold up (they learn mob history like actors preparing for a play). A great film from this material seems logically impossible, but per the crime expert in the film, it’s the work of an artist.” Steam baths, back offices, and motel rooms are all the space Alton needed to conjure the shadows that influenced the next decade-plus of crime films.

T‑Men also screens as part of The Cinematheque’s 2024 Open House (August 10), which includes a Deep Focus” interactive lecture on Mann’s formative noir.

I like the photography of John Alton in T‑Men and Raw Deal, those two films. But particularly T‑Men … It’s a stripped-down look to the picture, and yet at times [it’s] bold in the lighting.”

Martin Scorsese

You can achieve fantastic effects of violence just by implication and design.”

Anthony Mann
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