Wednesday, September 02, 2015

Side Street

1950, US, directed by Anthony Mann

I'm not sure how I hadn't "discovered" (relatively) early Anthony Mann previously, especially given my interest in both the cinematic time period and in other directors with a similar interest in visual texture, like Robert Siodmak. The film itself is something of a mixed bag but when it's good it's very, very good, most obviously on the visual and location-shooting levels. With respect to the latter, you can certainly see the skill-set put to such good use in the Westerns later in the 1950s, while I was also much amused by David Bordwell's comment that Mann never saw a ceiling he didn't like. The director uses the same angles outdoors too, so you get the Empire State building looming up behind the characters just as you see a tin ceiling do the same thing in a bar. The final chase scene is quite eye-popping -- interesting, given later films like The French Connection, that the elevated train lines are used at times as a prop/hazard, although that particular line is long gone. My favourite shot, with many to choose from, was from a high overhead perspective with a tiny car disappearing into the concrete canyons (very covered-wagon-in-Utah). 

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Boston, Massachusetts, United States