Turner Classic Movies is saluting the June 30 birthday of director Anthony Mann with day of his films -- including 1949's "The Black Book" (aka "Reign of Terror") an Austro-Hungarian Expressionist film noir take on the French Revolution, photographed by one of Mann's frequent early collaborators (and one of the noirest of black-and-white cinematographers), John Alton. At Straight Shooting (bookmark it), Richard T. Jameson surveys the career of a filmmaker who
acquired a passionate cult among connoisseurs of film style for having made some of the most lucidly and powerfully visualized films in American cinema. Few filmmakers have equaled his genius for fusing landscape and dramatic action, and his heroes--in the films noir of the late Forties and his majestic Westerns of the Fifties--are a compellingly conflicted lot. [...]
Was Anthony Mann a director of the first rank? Not when the touchstones are Lang, Ford, and Hawks.... But his best work goes a long way toward making film noir and the Western our two richest genres, and his relentless pursuit of dynamic images ensures him the esteem of anyone who believes that movies should be worth looking at, minute by minute, frame by frame.