Best of… Series – 1948 – Raw Deal

Raw Deal (Anthony Mann, 1948)

Raw Deal is the first film-noir I’ve seen from Anthony Mann, as previously I’d only experienced his westerns. As solid as his westerns are, this is my second favorite of his films. While it’s slightly flawed (mostly in its unfortunate plot conveniences), it also has incredible strengths. The cinematography is jaw-dropping throughout. The innovative use (and lack thereof) of light and shadow are great. Both the scenes set indoors and outdoors are magnificent.


The film also features some great characters. No one is drawn thin. Joe claims to love Pat, but experiences subtle and mostly unspoken feelings for Ann. Ann is a fantastic character throughout much as she fights feelings for a man she somewhat despises (though her eventual love declaration is corny). And the poetic voiceovers from Pat provide insight to her character and are accompanied by an extremely eerie tune, helping to set the tone – easily the best noir voiceover I’ve ever heard. For someone who is luke warm on this genre, a film like this will keep me interested, knowing that it’s possible for noir to do all the things I love about film.  9.75/10

EDIT: Re-watched this one and none of the flaws stand out anymore but the atmosphere is even better than remembered. The is the ONLY film I have ever seen with this feel to it. Almost indescribable.


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