Biography of Anthony Mann (1906-1967)

Director of American cinema, born in San Diego (California), on June 30, 1906, and died in Berlin (Germany), on April 29, 1967. His real name was Emil Anton Bundmann.


When he was not yet 20 years, Anthony Mann was hired by a company of the off-Broadway as an actor and Decorator, first, and as a director, later, in the early years of the Decade of the thirties. In 1938, the stages of Broadway by the sunny California's Hollywood lands, it changed to the be hired by David o. Selznick to will it take care of the castings, oversee tests of renowned actors and was one of the many Scouts that the Selznick Company had hired in those years. Known by his real name, Emil Anton Bundmann, departed the following year, hired as Assistant Director at Paramount, where he worked, among other films, the unforgettable journeys of Sullivan (1941), of Preston Sturges.

Attracted by the chance to get behind the camera, he went to work at modest companies such as the RKO and the Republic, for which he directed, between 1942 and 1949, under their name already, Anthony Mann, very modest-budget films, most of them within the police genre or melodrama, although he also directed some musicalsfrankly forgettable. From its first police achievements, highlighted by the violence with which character to certain scenes, printed by the tremendous beauty of black and white images (thanks to the excellent directors of photography that worked: John Alton, Guy Roe, George E. Diskant etc.) and know how to get out of interpretations of usual side, turning them into star for a day (John Ireland(, Charles McGraw, Raymond Burr, Tom Conway).

Trap for an innocent man (1947), a B-series police, met with exemplary economy of means, that recounts the Chronicle of a commercial establishment of legal appearance robbery and that, however, conceals a clandestine gambling business; Border Incident (1949), in which Mann exposes the problem of immigration and the exploitation of Mexican labor, or the suicide Brigade, where the director, in semi-documentary style, tries to get to the bottom of the lawlessness reigning in the world of boxing, are some examples of his already astonishing mastery.

In 1950, and after an entertaining foray into the French Revolution, with the reign of terror (1949), beautifully shot by John Alton, Anthony Mann began his masterly cycle of westerns. The door of the Devil (1950), the first of them, and first of the three that rolled in 1950 in black and white, is the fatalistic tale of an Indian who, after having fought in the war (and having it obtained Congressional Medal), refuses le the treatment the law targets. Black Western, again simply photographed by John Alton, which already you can see the force of the narration of Mann, force dramatic movements of camera and the humanist of the pro-Indian speech value (the same year, incidentally, arrow rattan, Delmer Daves, another anti-racist film).

To highlight the curious tendency of Mann, visible here perfectly, to place faces first on one side of the frame, which gives rise to more than one moment of rare dramatic concentration. That year also shot Winchester 73, a masterful film that began his collaboration with James Stewart, writer Borden Chase (which lasted for two unforgettable westerns more: far horizons and distant lands) and the director of photography William Daniels, team that you gave a 180 degree turn to the western.

Mann and Stewart were essential figures in trying to give a more complex and human character in his films the heroes and villains traditional, not only without losing one iota of the spectacle of action values and landscape, but which, in addition, enlarging them working in natural places. Here, Stewart is a man who, thirsting for revenge for the death of his father, arrives to the city without law, Dodge City, to be part of the contest of shot whose prize is the legendary Winchester 73. Mann made a beautiful and vibrant film with quite convincing characters.

His masterpieces were not long in coming: in 1952 he shot distant horizons, a year later Colorado Jim and, in 1955, distant lands and the man from Laramie with James Stewart as protagonist. These westerns being a little cold, have crossed out statement that is not at all misguided. It is possible that this is due to the perfection that all present, the last of them being perhaps the most exciting and most sensitive of all, but it is true also that all give greater relevance to their characters to the nature that surrounds them, something that until then was unusual. Distant horizons is located in a fabulous context within the western: the discovery and the gold rush.

In a few days, if not in a few hours, gentle streams become the prey of the gold diggers, play and leisure establishments, are in the same areas. They start fights. Anthony Mann makes reliving that brilliant time which saw face friends or members of the same family who not were interested in more than the yellow metal. The sweetness of Julie Adams, the violence contained James Stewart (the scene in which Stewart, Arthur Kennedy, and Rock Hudson out of a room with weapons in hand is quite memorable) and the splendour of the scenery are but some of the elements that constitute this exciting adventure.

You can see in the man from Laramie (1955), summarized, the essence of the collaborations, situations and issues until the paroxysm of Mann with James Stewart. Less gruesome than distant horizons, less tragic than Colorado Jim or Winchester 73, the man from Laramie has false indolence of the great westerns. Behind each plane, feel the presence of Anthony Mann, in how to use cinemascope, in the lead to Stewart. The banal story of revenge, which, in principle, is based on the film, suddenly becomes a parable about violence, a reflection on that old American West, of which Mann was one of its most wonderful designers. A work of art.

With James Stewart, Anthony Mann formed a partner indispensable for understanding the American cinema. In music and tears (1954), Mann put images to the relentless pursuit of Glenn Miller by something new in his music. Stewart was a single Miller and never a filmmaker had previously shown with so much emotion and sensitivity the true American dream. In Bahia Negra (1953), Stewart is an engineer who rehearses a new method of drilling for oil in a Bay which is located in the middle of the confrontation between the company for which they work and the fishermen of the area. Without being a memorable film, Mann wove a spectacular entertainment, suitably framed in panoramic format.

It showed that he was able to familiarise yourself with any custom, the two mentioned above were, and did everything he could in two passions and love (1956), a vehicle for showcasing the famous Mario Lanza, and where he found one of his great loves: the actress Sara Montiel, which a year later he married Spanish. And it came out rather than airy a typical war production in those years, the Hill of the heck out of steel (1957), a film that over time has become a classic of the genre.

The meticulous skill and personal sense of Mann to photograph the internal conflicts of the characters was increased in another magnificent western, man of the West, where you can see a dying Gary Cooper (sick of cancer) in one of his last appearances on screen.

The reputation of Mann fell some integers when in 1960 he decided to deal with large budgets in sumptuous spectacles, like the remake of Cimarron (1960), or the blockbusters of Samuel Bronston in Spain: El Cid (1961) and the fall of the Roman Empire (1964). Interestingly, El Cid is today recognized as a master, more intimate than spectacular, thanks to the treatment of western that history made Mann; While his work in the second, makes it in, perhaps, the best production of Bronston.Anthony Mann was a classic filmmaker, a teacher in the construction of their films, which gave a clarity and a truly prodigious simplicity and a man of cinema. He died with their boots on, while filming in Berlin against a dandy (1968). Its protagonist, Laurence Harvey, was responsible for completing the last breath of genius of the master.


As an Assistant of direction:

1941: The travels of Sullivan.

As director:1942: Dr. Broadway; Moonlight in Havana. 1943: Nobody's Darling. 1944: my Best Gal; Strangers in the Night. 1945: The great Flamarion; Two o'clock Courage; Sing Your Way Home. 1946: Strange interpretation; The Bamboo Blonde. 1947: Desperate (and coargumento); An innocent trap / the last disparo.1948: Suicide Brigade; Rawl Deal; He Walked By Night (uncredited Co-Director) 1949: Side Street; The reign of terror; Border Incident; Follow Me Quietly (only coargumento). 1950: the door of the devil; The Furies; Winchester 73. 1951: The Tall Target; Quo Vadis? (only some scenes). 1952: far horizons. 1953: Colorado Jim; Black Bay. 1954: Music and lagrimas.1955: distant lands; Strategic air command; The man from Laramie. 1956: Two passions and love; The Last Frontier. 1957: The heck out of steel Hill; Hunter of outlaws; The last bullet (Co-Director). 1958: the small land of God; Man of the West. 1960: Cimarron. 1961: El Cid (and coproduction). 1964: the fall of the Roman Empire. 1965: The heroes of Telemark. 1968: Statement for a dandy.