Saturday, July 08, 2017

TCM's Film Noir of the Week for Sunday, July 9, 10 a.m. ET, is One of the Most Stunningly Shot Pictures Ever Made, T-Men (1947/1948)!



By David in TN
Saturday, July 8, 2017 at 9:24:00 A.M. EDT

TCM's Film Noir of the week for Sunday, July 9, is T-Men (1948), showing at 10 a.m. ET. This is another Anthony Mann film noir.

Alfred Ryder, left, and Dennis O'Keefe, as Treasury agent partners. Ryder was a legendary actor of the radio, stage, movies and TV, and a renowned theatrical director. Fans of Combat! will recall him as the German captain (sporting an impeccable German accent) who was a famous hunter in civilian life, and who turns Sgt. Saunders (Vic Morrow) into his prey in a story inspired by The Most Dangerous Game. John Wayne fans will remember Ryder as the exasperated prosecutor in True Grit (1969). O’Keefe was a star of B movies during the late 1930s and through the ‘40s, radio drama, a ubiquitous extra (over 200 pictures) and co-wrote T-Men with John C. Higgins (so says I.S. Mowis, at, anyway). America was so awash in talent then that a poverty row studio like Eagle-Lion could hire world-class talent to shoot a B-picture.

It's a documentary-style police thriller with undercover Treasury agents infiltrating a counterfeiting ring. Having undercover law enforcement officers was a common noir trope.


Dennis O'Keefe plays the main character, a "T-Man" pretending to be a former member of a Detroit gang called "The River Gang," probably based on the real-life, [Jewish] Purple Gang.


An intimate portrait of Abe Bernstein’s Purple Gang


Charles McGraw plays a dangerous hood, a characterization McGraw did very well. Other times he played a cop.

Film noir writer B McMolo argues, “[T]he real star of the show is the cinematography. Every trick in the book is used to keep your eye glued to the screen.”


The film was shot by legendary, Hungarian-born cinematographer John Alton (Johann Altmann), who would win an Oscar for An American in Paris.

Many years ago, when my brother started out as a lawyer, he was assigned to defend a counterfeiter in federal court. He negotiated a plea deal for a prison sentence. The counterfeiter was satisfied and thanked my brother. He didn't mind going to prison for a few years.


Real-life T-man Elmer Lincoln Irey is along to lend the picture realism

Legendary character actor Wallace Ford plays one of the bad guys

My brother said this counterfeiter was a scary individual.



Anonymous said...

Purple Gang. Jewish.

David In TN said...

The TCM Film Noir for Sunday, July, 16, is Gun Crazy (1950). The leads, Peggy Cummins and John Dall, are known for this film and not much else. Our host, Eddie Muller, calls Gun Crazy "subversive." The female character is made to be stronger and tougher than her male partner in crime.

It runs at 10 am ET Sunday July 16.