RAW DEAL (1948) B/W 79m dir: Anthony Mann

w/Dennis O'Keefe, Claire Trevor, Marsha Hunt, John Ireland, Raymond Burr, Curt Conway, Chili Williams, Richard Fraser, Whitner Bissell, Cliff Clark

From The Movie Guide: "A hard-hitting gangster film with lots of action, good dialog, and fine performances by all, especially Trevor as a gun moll. O'Keefe is serving time for a crime of which he was innocent. His one-time associates arranged a frame, and O'Keefe is determined to get even with them when he breaks out of jail. With the aid of Trevor, his lover and pal, O'Keefe flees prison and is on his way to wreak revenge. While inside he was visited by Hunt, a social worker; he decides that she would be a good hostage in case the cops close in, so he kidnaps her. The three begin a trip to get Burr and his gang, the men responsible for O'Keefe's stint in prison. It isn't long before O'Keefe begins to fall for Hunt, much to the jealous consternation of Trevor, who has risked her life and her freedom for O'Keefe. Hunt, a heretofore legal and solid citizen, finds all this very exciting, and when O'Keefe has a battle with Ireland, one of the thugs, and loses, O'Keefe pleads with Hunt to save him, which she does by shooting Ireland in the back. Now she's a full part of the underworld. ... A film noir picture in the best tradition, with fast-paced direction by Mann and superior photography by [John] Alton. Whit Bissell (still known at the time as 'Whitner') does a small role as a hood."

From Film Noir: An Encyclopedic Reference to the American Style edited by Alain Silver and Elizabeth Ward: "Anthony Mann transcended the typically brutal environment in the gangster film and created an interesting paradox of sex and violence in Raw Deal. Joe Sullivan [O'Keefe] exists as a homme fatal, seducing Ann Martin [Hunt] into a world filled with violent action and murder, enticing her with a promise of sexual fulfillment that goes beyond the realm of normal relationships. She surrenders completely to Joe, committing murder as the ultimate expression of her love. Along with this apparent twist of classic noir archetypes, Raw Deal creates an atmosphere in grotesquerie and fetishism that reveals the sordid nature of the noir world. Complementing the mood and tone inherent in the film, John Alton's photography suggests a half-lit world magnified by the strong use of shadows and cluttered composition. The ironic narration provided by Pat [Trevor], develops the romantic undercurrent evident in many noir films. It remains for the true noir film to debase any sense of pity or love that may be present, replacing it with a tough, cynical nature."

Below is a handout prepared for a lecture on Mann and Film Noir:

Mann's 4 periods: Jeanine Basinger:

1942-47: beginnings:

1947-50: film noir:

1950-60: westerns:

1960-65: epics:

beginnings: 1st movie: DR. BROADWAY: 4 formal devices employed:

other early films contain:

noir period: achieved formal mastery: composition:

John Alton: cinematographer: Mann's work took on subtleties of light & shadow

Mann's use of film noir

1. reduction of light:

2. extreme contrasts between black & white images:

3. space

4. editing: secondary to composition in importance:

5. camera movement: little used: but careful, deliberate use of 2 types:

6. composition: unbalanced, unsettling:

7. paranoia: no safety anywhere; no one can be counted on

8. violence: very violent films for the period

9. fate: individual overwhelmed by forces bigger than him/her; no flashbacks

10. lust & greed: true love an illusion: can't overcome forces of evil

11. the urban world: every film Mann made between 1947-50 set here


1. & 2. LIGHTING: