The Round-Up

PAIN

James Stewart in THE MAN FROM LARAMIE.

James Mason in THE FALL OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE.

One could of course go on… Stewart suffers considerably in Mann’s westerns, being shot through the hand in both LARAMIE and THE FAR COUNTRY (like Robert Ryan in MEN IN WAR), while Mason’s hand-burning ordeal in TFOTRE seems like a direct reprise of LARAMIE. Both are co-written by Philip Yordan, and in fact both feature a recognisable trio of characters — an ailing patriarch (Donald Crisp in LARAMIE, Alec Guinness in TFOTRE), his stupid and vicious son (Alex Nicol and Christopher Plummer) and the devoted friend and almost-adopted son who should inherit by right of being the competent one (Arthur Kennedy and Stephen Boyd). See also Yordan’s MEN IN WAR script for another ailing surrogate father.

Mann’s films pair up in interesting ways, often via casting — he was fond of reusing actors he liked, often in wildly contrasting roles: there’s very little of the stability one finds in Hawks or Ford’s use of their stock company. Of course, Jimmy Stewart is always the leading man when he’s around, but his roles vary considerably in amicability — as has often been noted, Mann’s pushing of the Stewart persona into neurotic and obsessive territory prefigures and prepares for Hitchcock’s use of the star in VERTIGO.

THE FAR COUNTRY and BEND OF THE RIVER, which I watched back-to-back, very nearly blur together due to the similar gold rush background and the repeat casting of and Harry Morgan and Royal Dano and Jay C Flippen (Manny Farber is amusingly horrified by this guy: “Probably the worst actor that ever moved into a movie.” My friend Comrade K semi-concurs: “He has a face like a tick”).

STENTORIA

“Only a trained investigator would have attached any significance to those two words: steam baths.”

After making twelve movies, including DESPERATE and RAILROADED which feel pretty mature and Mann-like — Mann entered the realms of the strident voice-over: known as STENTORIA.

In Stentoria, all the stories are factual, and only the names have been changed, to protect the innocent. Stentoria encompasses T-MEN (above and below images) and HE WALKED BY NIGHT and SIDE STREET and BORDER INCIDENT, but the voice-over diminishes in prominence and increases in subtlety as Mann develops. The VO guy in T-MEN sounds like he has a bad cold (as does Robert “terror of Salzburg”  Cummings in REIGN OF TERROR), and he talks for HALF THE FILM. I protested against this, until my friend Comrade K pointed out how scary the film gets when the VO suddenly and unaccountably GOES AWAY (“From here on you’re on your own!”) and leaves us in the meaty hands of Charles McGraw. By the time Knox Manning opens and closes BORDER INCIDENT with a few reassuring words, we have a guy who seems to be impersonating Mark Hellinger’s famous VO in THE NAKED CITY: much more laid-back and mellifluous. And as previously noted, VO guy Robert Rietty in FALL OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE sounds like Mann himself.

T-MEN: John Alton, photographer:

A DANDY IN ASPIC, photographed by Christopher Challis.

Thinking about Charles McGraw — as I do — I realize that not only must Mann be responsible for McGraw being in SPARTACUS, but that the Mann scenes in that movie are not only the best scenes, but also the most Kubrickian! All the gladiator training stuff which so neatly prefigures FULL METAL JACKET… and MEN IN WAR is clearly the movie that Kubrick’s tyro effort FEAR AND DESIRE wants to be…

“Freedom isn’t a thing you should be able to give me, Miss Ginny. Freedom is something I should’ve been born with.” An impressive line delivered by Ruby Dee in the equally impressive THE TALL TARGET.

DELICIOUS HOT

A fellow film blogger in New York admitted to limited experience of Mann and wondered if he wasn’t perhaps a cold filmmaker — I wouldn’t agree, although in their different ways T-MEN, TFOTRE and A DANDY IN ASPIC either avoid or miss the warmer emotions. Certainly the gentler passions are less likely to figure prominently in Mann’s work, but nobody can make cold movies with Jimmy Stewart. I’d point to Aline McMahon’s abiding love for Donald Crisp in LARAMIE as a good example of the powerful feeling Mann can evoke without seeming to try too hard, and the affection of Stewart for Walter Brennan in THE FAR COUNTRY is a similar example.

Here’s my shortlist of Mann favourites, all of which have tender moments as well as angry ones –

RAW DEAL — a great “women’s noir” with a groovy theremin theme. I like Marsha Hunt a lot, but Claire Trevor steals the show.

WINCHESTER ’73 — just about my fave of the Stewart westerns. Borden Chase (I heard he took his name from Lizzie Borden and Chase Manhattan Bank, figuring the combo would be memorable) had a real flair for rambling structures which somehow achieve a feeling of tightness — maybe just because they’re so action-packed, maybe also because they’re tied to strong characterisations for Stewart each time.

THE TALL TARGET — beautiful train thriller to compare with Fleischer’s THE NARROW MARGIN, and it uses its little scrap of history (heavily embroidered, no doubt) to tackle some actual politics.

THE NAKED SPUR — Stewart’s most driven performance for Mann, with fine support from Ryan and Meeker.

THE LAST FRONTIER — well, *I* like it anyway. Apart from the tacked-on ending, this is another study in the exercise of power by the inadequate (a big Mann theme — well, he did work under the studio system!) and the taking of power by the better suited.

MEN IN WAR — maybe the best Korean War movie? Hearing Robert Ryan deny the existence of the USA carries a blasphemous thrill.

MAN OF THE WEST — the best, because the darkest, of all Mann’s westerns. The abuse of Julie London’s sympathetic Billie borders on the gloating, and the fact that her character is virtually abandoned at the “happy ending”, while disturbing, is what makes this so powerful. For once, too much has happened for a Hollywood ending to mean what it should.

The only “cold” film on the list of real greats might be REIGN OF TERROR, but I’m not sure “cold” really applies to such a blazing, apocalyptic yarn.

NOIR AWAY SO CLOSE

I’ve been alert, hopefully, to the transition of Mann’s noir sensibility to westerns and epics, and find it really invigorates some traditional-looking oaters: THE MAN FROM LARAMIE is a proper detective story, with Stewart being constantly warned to stay off the case, being framed for murder, etc. (It also has a weird, mythic/biblical side, with prophetic dreams that influence a major character’s actions.) The romantic triangle of RAW DEAL is reconfigured in later epics like TFOTRE and, I seem to recall, maybe EL CID too. Certainly HEROES OF TELEMARK has it, and Mann says in the DVD extra interview that this was part of what attracted him.

Think of it: Mann made noirs in the ’40s, westerns in the ’50s and epics in the ’60s. At the end, he made an espionage movie, and that might well have been the next phase of his career had he lived longer (REIGN OF TERROR is basically a Hitchcockoan spy thriller set in the past). Mann was Mr. Fashionable.

T-MEN and A DANDY IN ASPIC.

COUNTRY LIFE

“Help me, Ty Ty!”

“Where are you, Pluto?”

“Ah fell in a hole!”

“Well, which hole you in?”

“This very, very deep one!”

The “comedy” of GOD’S LITTLE ACRE is only occasionally funny, despite the presence of Buddy Hackett, whose face is funny even in repose (and it’s never really in repose). Buddy Hackett is known in the UK as “that fat guy in the back of Herbie.” All in all, the movie is like the unsuccessful comedy cousin of THE FURIES, and while Robert Ryan might have been able to play Huston’s role, he’s not ideally suited to his own — much as I love him, he doesn’t have funny bones.

THE FURIES is striking for many reasons, one being the flaunting of the Production Code — apart from the scissors flung in Judith Anderson’s face, there’s the fact that morality has little to do with which characters are sympathetic in this movie, and it fails to determine which are alive at the end.

YOU NEED HANDS

In the edition of the BBC’s The Movies featured as an extra on Criterion’s lovely disc of THE FURIES, Mann cites Murnau as an influence (he seems about to name a couple more directors, but the piece seems to have been edited to exclude them — Welles would seem like a plausible name to drop though, wouldn’t he? Incidentally, the BBC seems to have hung onto outtakes from several Movies interviews, so it’s not impossible a diligent researcher might find what else Mann said…). He talks with enthusiasm about the way figures grow from small and distant to large and close in Murnau, and the dramatic force this imparts, and reminisces about the climax of TABU –

Mann certainly shows skill in his use of size… the way his compositions bristle with repressed, barely contained energy, and the way each edit snaps the tension into a new configuration is one of his key qualities. This single shot from REIGN OF TERROR maybe shows the influence of Murnau –

The Terror of Strasburg checks his teeth in the mirror –

Then adjusts his wig, at which point Robert Cummings POUNCES LIKE A TIGER –

In the struggle, the mirror is tilted downwards so it now reflects the T of S’s hand as it clutches the dresser, and then Cummings comes in with a dagger — Cummings is apparently NUDE, it seems — all ready to steal the T of S’s clothing and identity.

The clutching hand spasms and falls from view after the dagger descends.

In a purely whimsical touch (grim whimsy), the naked hand reaches up and post-coitally snuffs the T of S’s candle.

BEHIND THE DOOR

Just watched THE DEVIL’S DOORWAY. Robert Taylor as an Indian is one of the silliest bits of casting I can imagine, and he always bored me as a star, but if you can get past the shoe polish he actually gives a good perf. The pro-Indian stance is commendable, and John Alton’s inky photography, Mann’s dynamism, and Guy Trosper’s script, which gives all the poetic lines to repellant-yet-suave villain Louis “Ambassador Trentino” Calhern, stop it being anything like a PC snooze.

Mann’s westerns nearly always centre around a powerful injustice — count the minutes until Jimmy Stewart gets robbed in each one — and DEVIL’S D politicizes this. It’s an incredibly strong hook, the theme of injustice, which communicates to everybody: “When a child says, ‘It’s not fair!’ the child can be believed,” says Tom Stoppard’s script for SQUARING THE CIRCLE. Even those who are regularly unjust themselves usually got that way because they suffered injustice and decided life wasn’t fair. Yet this universally powerful theme is largely avoided in modern movies — I have a theory audience testing may be reponsible — when they ask the mob, “What was your least favourite scene?” the mob are going to say, “I didn’t like it when they burned Jimmy Stewart’s wagons / shot him in the hand.” Of course, you’re not meant to like them! So those scenes don’t get made nowadays, and the films stop being about anything. The heroes in modern action movies seem to spend the whole films WINNING.

THE DEVIL’S DOORWAY has the bleakest ending of any Mann, I think. He was apparently very pleased with it.

FINAL FRONTIER

In THE LAST FRONTIER, Victor Mature plays Cooper, a scout who laughs at danger! Ah-ha-ha-ha! Despite using rather urban types in its cast — Anne Bancroft and Stuart Whitman offer strong support — the movie still evokes a convincing atmosphere of Civil War era Indian fighting, perhaps because it avoids cliched behaviour so thoroughly. In scene 1, Big Victor and his trapper pals are surrounded by hostile Indians. They sit down and eat lunch. You don’t see that every day.

If filmmakers avoid cliche (big if) and if they believe in the anti-cliched behaviour they present (as someone like Hawks clearly did), it seems they have a good chance at presenting interesting situations.

For all that it presents maybe the first thoroughly bad cavalry officers in western movie history (a very good Robert Preston, snagging moments of sympathy when the script exposes his underlying insecurity), the heart of the film is primitive Victor’s relationship with Bancroft, the officer’s wife, which is painfully convincing. The adulterous triangle leads us into strong noir territory, as do the covert liaisons in EL CID and ROMAN EMPIRE, which were also co-scripted by Philip Yordan, whose keen interest in military life is also displayed in a Mann masterpiece, MEN IN WAR.

And with its widescreen photography, the movie is perhaps Mann’s most handsome colour western.

FILMS I HAVEN’T WATCHED

Couldn’t get EL CID or DOCTOR BROADWAY in time, but hope to see them soon.

Wasn’t sure if THE BAMBOO BLONDE was worth it.

Didn’t bother with THE GLENN MILLER STORY yet, despite Fiona’s vivid memory of being frightened by the iron lung.

THUNDER BAY was in a sense topical, with it’s oil men versus fishermen plot, but the solution, suggesting that the oil biz would be good for fishing, sounded like it might come off as embarrassingly dated. Still, I bet the movie’s at least interesting.

The former Anthony Bundsmann is a somewhat mysterious figure, little being known about his past. I’m frustrated by not knowing any films he wanted to make but was unable to — these unmade films are often most revealing. I’ll offer one up — with his obsession with determined men whose refusal to compromise has fatal consequences, he’d have been the perfect man to film Von Kleist’s Michael Kohlhaas. Instead, Milos Forman made it as part of RAGTIME and John Badham made it as THE JACK BULL.

The End… almost.

Buy: Man of the West

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28 Responses to “The Round-Up”

  1. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by dcairns, The Daily Notebook. The Daily Notebook said: RT @dcairns An Anthony Mann round-up: http://bit.ly/97y1e0 [...]

  2. There’s a lot of Michael Kohlhass(considered by Kafka to be the saddest story of the German language) in The Far Country and James Stewart would have been the perfect cast for the title role. And really amazed that Mann cited Murnau because that’s something I’ve always felt. On the other hand, Mann(and Murnau) would have made terrific adaptations of The Earthquake in Chile a story that’s left the pages and taking in place in real life in this year of earthquakes and floods.

    I find Fort Apache to be the first critical look at the US Cavalry while The Last Frontier is taking sides of the outsider over an insider of the US Cavalry and the end of the Ford is much more shocking than Mann’s lame-ass parade.

    Jay C. Flippen is very good in Sam Fuller’s Run of the Arrow as “Walking Coyote”. Fuller and Mann were friends I read somewhere and Forty Guns can be seen as a response to Mann’s westerns down to the casting of Barbara Stanwyck, in the same way Run of the Arrow is a response to The Searchers.

    One thing about The Man from Laramie is that although Stewart is the lead, he isn’t at the center of the film. You could say Arthur Kennedy’s character, his position as a surrogate to Donald Crisp’s mad patriarch is the real focus. Stewart is treated as a character actor almost in that movie. The same tension can be seen in Bend of the River where the plot takes backstage to the friendship-rivalry to Stewart-Kennedy and Mann made a rivalry the center of The Naked Spur with the great Robert Ryan opposite Stewart. Stewart’s most interesting performance for me is in The Far Country which, all apologies to Robert Altman, is the closest any western has come to Brecht-Weill’s Aufstieg und Fall der Stadt der Mahagonny, except of course for the finale which defeats the film’s purpose, as Farber saw it, of making a case against do-gooding, helping people and building communities.

  3. Yes, Stewart is the catalyst in The Man from Laramie, pushing to crisis point all the troubles already brewing in this very very dysfunctional family and community.

    The shit-hits-the-fan climax of Roman Empire has some of the same hopelessness of Earthquake in Chile — no disaster is so bad that human beings can’t make it worse.

    I was watching Far Country with Farber’s reading in mind, but couldn’t quite see it. Of course he’s right that the movie makes being outside society seem very attractive. But the whole story is based on the idea of ultimately proving Stewart’s character wrong, forcing him to get involved and help the community.

    The only thing that rubbed me the wrong way was how Ruth Roman’s death immediately opens the door for romance with Corinne Calvet. That’s cold-blooded! But I otherwise liked the way this movie, as with To Catch a Thief, assumes that a real man will automatically prefer a mature woman to a cute teenager. You don’t see movies making that assumption nowadays.

  4. David Boxwell Says:

    Reed Hadley (ne Herring) was Eagle-Lion’s “go to” guy for the Stentorian VO.

    He is Jesse James in Sam Fuller’s first film. And there’s a lot of weird stuff going on between him and John Ireland in that . . .

    Rest assured: THE BAMBOO BLONDE is not worth 70 minutes of your time.

  5. ———————–
    He is Jesse James in Sam Fuller’s first film. And there’s a lot of weird stuff going on between him and John Ireland in that . . .
    ———————–

    Well there’s very little subtext in that movie, far and away the best Jesse James movie(made by a man who detested the guy and his legend). Don’t forget John Ireland’s Bob Ford’s unforgettable dying words, “I loved him!”

    —————————-
    Of course he’s right that the movie makes being outside society seem very attractive. But the whole story is based on the idea of ultimately proving Stewart’s character wrong, forcing him to get involved and help the community.
    ————————–

    The plot maybe based on that, but the form of the film is completely against that. Stewart’s character is openly self-centered and self-made to the point of madness. He doesn’t want any attachments at all and the point is that his attempts at intervention have wrong reverberations. When Ruth Roman’s quarry are trapped in snow, he’s all for letting her freeze to death but at Calvet’s urging he goes to save her but when they land at the town in Canada, she upsets the trade and values there. Stewart is stoically selfish and he is well aware that an unhappy land is the one that needs heroes and he’s not going to be one.

  6. Mann is all about anguish teetering into abjection.

  7. david wingrove Says:

    Must definitely have another look at Mann! Given my intense dislike of Westerns, I’ve only seen SERENADE, EL CID and FALL OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE…all of which I loved.

    Sounds like THE FURIES would be a good place to start? Barbara Stanwyck slugging it out with Dame Judith…how can it go wrong?

  8. David E, that’s THE definitive soundbite on Mann!

    David W, I know you’ll enjoy Stanwyck in The Furies, and since Mann usually finds ways to avoid, subvert or supplement the macho values of the western or crime film, I think you’d like Raw Deal, A Dandy in Aspic, maybe even Man of the West (which is more like a revenger’s tragedy/horror film). Mann’s heroines are a lot more interesting than those in most westerns, and he casts actresses of the calibre of Shelley Winters, Anne Bancroft and Ruth Roman to support this. And for every staunch leading man there’s a depraved John Ireland or Raymond Burr to add zing.

    In The Far Country, the thing is that Stewart wants to be able to trade with civilisation while remaining separate from it, and he’s totally attached to Walter Brennan, so his solitary stance isn’t wholly sincere, and the film shows it to be unworkable. From Brennan’s viewpoint, saving the snowbound capitalists is the right action even if it leads to negative consequences: which I guess is always the interventionist’s view. And the movie’s right, there’s no way to go through life without intervening in it.

  9. wonderful overview of a fascinating career!

    I tend to agree re: Mann’s “coldness”–how can an oeuvre which is driven by the rhythmic suppression and release of fury be “cold”?

    re: prepping Stewart for Vertigo… there’s no doubt that Mann did some of this, although I would argue that Jimmy is visibly ready for the big plunge as of It’s A Wonderful Life

    my favourite Manns (not that I’ve seen as many as you–although I have seen the Stewart westerns–which each have their moments, and I would agree that the noir sensibility does carry over–but I find it gets a little dissipated in those open air locations and plots)

    1. Raw Deal
    2. Side Street (which really surprised me when I saw it a couple of years ago–the definitive “rat in a location-shot maze” film
    3. Railroaded
    4. Border Incident
    5. T-Men

    dishonorable mention–I HATE Strategic Air Command

    thank you sir!

  10. You’re welcome!

    Well, re the “cold” thing — I can see that the harsher Mann films couldn’t easily be called “warm” or “soft”… But he DOES have scenes of tenderness, and can be genuinely touching.

    Strategic Air Command looked dull when I tried to watch it a couple of years ago. Maybe it improves later on? Anyhow, I decided to dismiss it as tangential to the main thrusts of the oeuvre.

    You clearly favour the noirs, but Man of the West strikes me as darker than all of them. And The Devil’s Doorway, with its Alton photography and seriously downbeat finale, is a fascinating crossover. Also the only western I’ve seen with a sheep stampede (not too impressive until the Indians start dynamiting the flock!).

  11. I’ll definitely have to check out Man of the West–that’s one that has eluded me so far!

  12. [...] how I wish I had come up with that zinger, by blogger dcairns of Shadowplay, because it explains a [...]

  13. David Boxwell Says:

    The sheer cringe-inducing abjection of Julie London’s forced disrobing in MAN OF THE WEST isn’t equalled in American film until BLUE VELVET.

    Cry Me a River, indeed.

  14. David Boxwell Says:

    STRATEGIC AIR COMMAND (or SAC as we used to call it in the Air Force during the Reagan era) and THE GLENN MILLER STORY: even Mann couldn’t redeem any project with June Allyson playing her trademark character.

  15. It seems unfair to blame Allyson entirely, but… yeah. Actually, if you remove strong interpersonal conflict, you don’t leave much for Mann to deal with, and those movies do just that.

  16. David Boxwell Says:

    THUNDER BAY is worth a re-visit in the wake of the BP/Transocean/Halliburton disaster (as is Flaherty’s LOUISIANA STORY). The film’s complacent, macho triumphalism is, I remember, pretty predictable, but I want to see if Mann introduces any cracks in the foundation. . .

  17. Christopher Says:

    I always sway from Naked Spur to The Man From Laramie being my favorite Mann-Stewart-Western…Wallace Ford(always liked him) is my fave Stewart sidekick(gotta have a sidekick Jimmy!..front office don’t want you ridin’ alone.)and its a neat mystery(I’ve heard the Crisp and his sons plot is a take-off on King Lear and the Gloucester subplot)with a relaxed pace.
    LOL-Jay C Flippen…where did they get this guy??…Jay C Flippen week!

  18. Tony Williams Says:

    Stimulating review, David C, as evidenced by the comments above. I’d like to raise a few points beginning with the minor Mann/Stewart films first.

    Was not James Stewart responsible for pushing Mann into making THE GLEN MILLER STORY and SAC? He was known to the Hollywood community as being more right-wing than John Wayne and may have wanted to counter the darker image by typical “Jimmy Stewart” films. SAC, of course, has associations with General Curtis LeMay (who wanted to bomb Vietnam back into the Stone Age and was portrayed in his true psychopathic dimensions by Sterling Hayden in DR. STRANGELOVE rather than the genial father-figure of Frank Lovejoy in this film. But you must remember that Jimmy can not go back to playing baseball as he does in the beginning due to being called back into service. So we may have another oblique example of the son being castrated by the father here. Also, unlike Benny Goodman Glenn Miller did not tolerate any Afro-Americans in his all-white band and demanded that his band join the service if they wanted to continue playing with him in WW2.

    Also, let us not blame June Allyson for playing the Eisenhower era dutiful wife as she did in THE STRATTON STORY and IT’S A WOMAN’S WORLD. Was she not an ideological signifier for conformity hence the reason Mann used her in these films?

    Finally, in both my Mann and Nick Ray classes students have always been aware that “noir” influences insert themselves into the very different generic styles of color films despite the visual differences. You’ve hit on something very insightful here.

  19. David B: you may be right, I was wondering what Thunder Bay would look like in the current climate.

    Christopher: Lear seems to lurk in the background of Laramie, but the prophetic dream of Donald Crisp seems more like something from the bible or Greek myth. The title of The Furies, and Mann’s theatre background, may be significant here. But he does cite Lear in his BBC interview as a justification for the violence in his work. “Blinding a man with the spurs, like in Lear… I haven’t done THAT, yet!”

    Tony W: It’s been suggested that LeMay’s craziness was partly a pose to make the Russians afraid… but just pretending to be that crazy is enough to make me wonder about the guy.

    I knew Stewart was rightwing but could he really be any further to the right than Wayne? Is that even possible, without falling off the political map?

  20. Tony Williams Says:

    David, According to Loren Baritz in BACKFIRE which deal with how American culture led to the Vietnam War, Nixon later supposedly put on the mad dog act to scare the Russians. A decade ago documents appeared that showed it was not an act and Le May’s infamous quotation does sum up the American military attitude of the 1950s that forms the core of Rod Serling’s depiction of Lancaster’s General in SEVEN DAYS IN MAY.

    Stewart usually concealed his right wing tendencies and did not openly display them like Wayne. African American actors such as Woody Strode knew this and Mann’s neurotic Stewart personal may have been a way of showing that the hero figure was also allegorically “falling off the political map.”

    Perhaps David E, may have some thoughts of this subject?

  21. Christopher Says:

    ???!!! ….the inquisition..what a show…

  22. I second the call for some input from David E on this fascinating topic!

  23. Found the following online… from the same book, there seems to be an inference that Strode suspected Stewart of racism. John Ford gave him a public dressing-down one time, as reported by Stewart himself, which included accusations of racism, all because Stewart said he thought Strode’s costume was “a little too Uncle Tom’s Cabin.” JS was from a practically all-white town and may have had trouble relating to black people. But the following makes me like him ~

    “There are several events related in the book “Jimmy Stewart: The Truth Behind the Legend” by Michael Munn that dismiss these accusations. For instance, there is one event that happened during the filming of “The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962)” where a support actor referred to Woody Strode as “a n***er”. Lee Marvin told to the author: “…He [the support actor] cried out, “Where is the n***er?” I could see Duke [John Wayne] was about the tear this guy’s head off, but Jimmy [Stewart] got there first. I didn’t know the guy could get so angry. He grabbed this actor by the shirt, tearing it, and he had to kind of get control of himself. But he was simmering – boiling. And he said, “Don’t ever use that word around me again, or I might do something our director will regret because he’ll have to replace you with an actor who’s not all broken up and reshoot a helluva lot of expensive scenes.” I liked Jimmy Stewart before that incident, but after it, I liked him a whole lot more.””

  24. Tony Williams Says:

    Again, David C, this shows the need for further research. A few days ago I listened to “Fresh Air” on National Public Radio devoted to the demise of “At the Movies” where Roger Ebert compared access to stars 40 years ago to our present studio-controlled situation and mentioned that John Wayne invited he and Siskel over to his Chicago Hotel for a few tequilas.

    Wayne was visiting to Chicago to say goodbye to the dying Steppin Fetchitt. This either contradicts reports of Wayne’s racism unless Pappy insisted that he go to Chicago himself.

  25. Racism being the weird thing it is, it’s entirely possible for a person to be prejudiced against an entire race but make a few exceptions for people he knows.

  26. Randy Byers Says:

    Still a lot of these I haven’t seen, but my favorite Manns so far are RAW DEAL, REIGN OF TERROR, THE FURIES, and THE NAKED SPUR. I’ve seen all of the noirs except for RAILROADED, and I’ve seen three of the Stewart Westerns. Having just seen THE FURIES, I’m very curious about DEVIL’S DOORWAY and THE TALL T, which he made next. THE FURIES is based on a Niven Busch novel, and makes an interesting companion to Raoul Walsh’s PURSUED, with its screenplay by Busch. Both feature semi-incestuous families with a strong flavor of Greek tragedy. Both also feature Dame Judith Anderson. Coincidence?

  27. Tony Williams Says:

    Yes, Randy, you’re correct and both deal with dysfunctional families revealing the Western’s links to the American horror film of the 70s.

  28. Mann’s movie doesn’t have the Freudian vibe of Pursued, but certainly carries the mythic thing off quite explicitly.

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