This Friday, the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAMPFA) presents the film series Against the Law: The Crime Files of Anthony Mann. It is a feature of crime dramas created throughout mostly during the mid-1940s, all of which displayed an increasing mastery of mood and meance, complete with themes of delirious expression. The seven films directed by Mann, are filled with protagonists that are psychologically complex and emotionally scarred, prone to erratic and violent behavior, and are credited for influencing future crime dramas including Dragnet and CSI.
The film series begins with two films 1946’s Strange Impersonation, a melodrama with a story about insurance scams, accidential death, identity theft and mawkish melodrama, and 1947’s Desperate, a film that featured a darkly determined Raymond Burr (of Perry Mason fame). Next on February 13th is T-Men (1948), a film about Treasury Agents attempting to shut down a funny-money ring, followed by Raw Deal (1948) on February 14th, another Burr feature this time as a demented thug.
Two films from 1949 are screened in February 21st; He Walked By Night, which would hugely influenced Dragnet, and Border Incident, which stars Ricardo Montalbán (best known for Fantasy Island). The film series ends on February 28th, with the 1950’s downbeat drama Side Street.
Log on to bampfa.berkeley.edu for more information.