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Anthony Mann (Wesleyan Film) Paperback – November 11, 2007

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Product Details

  • Series: Wesleyan Film
  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Wesleyan University Press; Expanded edition (November 11, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0819568457
  • ISBN-13: 978-0819568458
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 6.2 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,756,119 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"Basinger's study of Mann was a major force in bringing serious critical attention to his films, and it is a pleasure to welcome its return. Her close readings, together with her intelligent and often witty comments, represent (as all her work does) film scholarship at its very rare best - clear thinking, clean writing, canny observation." - Richard Schickel, author and film critic, Time"


“Thank the film gods that the only serious book in English about Mann is a brilliant one. I am grateful to Basinger’s clear-eyed analysis for helping me go ever deeper into the work of one of my absolute favorite directors.” (Alexander Payne, co-writer/director, Sideways)

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Thomas Plotkin on December 29, 2007
Format: Paperback
Director Anthony Mann rode the wave of a succession of trends in Hollywood between the '40's and the '60's, yet managed to carve out a unique personal style. His career had a pleasing upward trajectory, from grimy black and white b crime dramas,to spectacular technicolor westerns and finally to widescreen cast-of-thousands epics. As his budgets got bigger, his stories were set further and further back in time, and his theme, the capacity for violence within every man's heart as a shared impulse linking heroes and villains, became more mythic and archtypal. First he made a cycle of low-budget film noirs (T-Men, Border Incident, Raw Deal) that with their stunning John Alton lensed chiarscuro cinematography, bleak endings and shocking violence still pack a signficant wallop. Then he made two transitional noir-westerns, the pro-Native American Devil's Doorway and the "House of Atreus on the Range" The Furies, both films infusing the late '40's western with literal and metaphorical darkness.

But the best was yet to come, because the '50's ushered in a 10-film collaboration with Jimmy Stewart, the heart of which are a cycle of 5 hugely influential westerns, perhaps the first modern psychological westerns, foreshadowing the work of Peckinpah and Eastwood. In Winchester '73, The Naked Spur, Bend of the River,The Far Country,and The Man From Larmamie, Mann and Stewart took the Western hero and subjected him to such pressure and tension and stress that he was never the same again. Stewart consistently plays his lone gunman as someone poised between heroic action and possessed by a barely contained violence, usually pitted against a villain who is his double and bloodbrother, and thus the westerner-as-antihero was born.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Robert J. Ricci on May 9, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
the book whle very good glossed over the reason for the Mann and Stewart breakup and Mann's contributions to Night Passage. It was great to see the Devil's Doorway get its due.
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4 of 9 people found the following review helpful By William J. Harper on August 25, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I wanted so much to like this book. I am a huge fan of Anthony Mann and so was eagerly looking forward to reading Basinger's biography of this underrated director. What a huge let down! Expecting some insight into Mann and the making of his movies, I was instead treated to pretentious pablum passed off as a scholarly treatise. It's not a matter of being daunted by challenging writing-I have a Master's in psychology-it's having to read a constant stream of strained suppositions instead of getting to revel in the acquisition of knowledge. Ms. Basinger waxes poetically as she ascribes the deepest of meanings to almost every frame of Mann's films. In lieu of the collection of the pompous ramblings presented, some in-depth research and a readable presentation would have done a much better job of proclaiming Mann's talents to the world. A chance was missed and the film world is the lesser for it.
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