Raw Deal


Raw Deal

Anthony Mann
USA, 1948
79min, OF

Bild: Harvard Film Archive

Raw Deal

Anthony Mann
USA, 1948
, 79min, OF

Dennis O’Keefe
Claire Trevor
Marsha Hunt
John Ireland
Raymond Burr
Curt Conway
Chili Williams
Leopold Atlas
John C. Higgins
Arnold B. Armstrong
Audrey Ashley
John Alton
Paul Sawtell

Eagle-Lion Films
35 mm

Is RAW DEAL the most beautiful “ménage à trois” in all film history? The late João Bénard da Costa, fond of superlatives, would have called it “un-adjectivable”. Pat (Claire Trevor) loves Joe (Dennis O’Keefe), who loves Ann (Marsha Hunt), who hates Pat, who envies Ann, who loves Joe, who trusts Pat ... One generally remembers Anthony Mann’s noir films for their cinematography and mise-en-scène. John Alton’s black and white images are indeed remarkable. The precise and elaborate cutting, always relying on depth of field, shot/counter-shot, surprisingly efficient compositions, marvels us shot after shot. The images are often almost abstract, belonging to and moving away from the plot (Pat and the unstoppable clock inside the ship towards the end of the film), becoming iconic by themselves. But what touches me most is Claire Trevor’s deep, whispered voice drawing us into the film and past the prison gate in the tense opening scene (No trespassing— she shouldn’t have crossed that gate and the film would have taken another turn, as her rival Ann so desires), catching us inside her mind, as if she was writing the film itself unfolding before us. The maximum effect with the minimun means. The briefest shot has to be part of the overall signification, the smallest gesture has to describe a character. (Anthony Mann to Jean- Claude Missiaen, Cahiers du Cinéma no 190, May 1967). Isn’t this the definition par excellence of B-movies? Or cinema itself? (João Rui Guerra da Mata)