174 Great Directors: Anthony Mann

“I’m not a genius; I’m a worker. Geniuses sometimes end up very unhappy, without a penny.”

What Got This Director Here?
: His total sum of work.

My Favorite Past Experience Was…: N/A. (I unfortunately have seen Quo Vadis, which is terrible in every way outside of Ustinov, and is basically a bad LeRoy film anyway.)

What Did I Watch: Naked Spur.

Where Does He Fit: The characters in The Naked Spur may talk somewhat slowly, but they are not stupid. They are scheming constantly, with schemes as exaggerated as the colors of the wilderness that Anthony Mann skillfully films. Despite this, this is basically a chamber play in the open air, with the five people on a mission bouncing off each other in their dynamics with exhilarating results, Robert Ryan in particular giving a performance for the ages as a deeply arrogant, charismatic murderer. He’s cruel, but exhilarating to watch. The line between this and The Ox-Bow Incident is straight, and both share a certain willingness to punch you in the gut with probing questions about man’s cruelty.


Most Valuable Asset: The West was cruel.
Most Excited For: Winchester 73.
Did They Deserve a Spot?: Possibly. I might be more of a Wellman partisan at this moment, but this is a great, great start.

Coming Up Next: Humphrey Jennings, British morale raiser.


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