HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Pain and Glory
Judgment at Nuremberg
Rambo: Last Blood
Sansho the Bailiff
Iron Fury
Ride in the Whirlwind
Deathstalker II
Cloak and Dagger
Honeyland
Love Ban, The
Western Stars
League of Gentlemen, The
Higher Power
Shinsengumi
IT Chapter Two
Rich Kids
Arena
Glory Guys, The
Serial Killer's Guide to Life, A
Lovers and Other Strangers
Shiny Shrimps, The
Good Woman is Hard to Find, A
Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark
Doctor at Sea
Spear
Death Cheaters
Wild Rose
Streetwalkin'
Mystify: Michael Hutchence
Devil's Playground, The
Cleanin' Up the Town: Remembering Ghostbusters
Hustlers
Mega Time Squad
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker
Souvenir, The
Birds of Passage
Ma
Woman at War
Happy as Lazzaro
Mickey's Christmas Carol
   
 
Newest Articles
Completely Different: Monty Python's Flying Circus Series 2 on Blu-ray
Bash Street Kid: Cosh Boy on Blu-ray
Seeing is Believing: Being There on Blu-ray
Top Thirty Best (and Ten Worst) Films of the 2010s by Andrew Pragasam
Top of the Tens: The Best Films of the Decade by Graeme Clark
Terrorvision: A Ghost Story for Christmas in the 1970s
Memories Are Made of This: La Jetee and Sans Soleil on Blu-ray
Step Back in Time: The Amazing Mr. Blunden on Blu-ray
Crazy Cats and Kittens: What's New Pussycat on Blu-ray
No Place Like Home Guard: Dad's Army - The Lost Episodes on Blu-ray
A Real-Life Pixie: A Tribute to Michael J. Pollard in Four Roles
We're All In This Together: The Halfway House on Blu-ray
Please Yourselves: Frankie Howerd and The House in Nightmare Park on Blu-ray
Cleesed Off: Clockwise on Blu-ray
Sorry I Missed You: Les Demoiselles de Rochefort on Blu-ray
Silliest of the Silly: Monty Python's Flying Circus Series 1 on Blu-ray
Protest Songs: Hair on Blu-ray
Peak 80s Schwarzenegger: The Running Man and Red Heat
Rock On: That'll Be the Day and Stardust on Blu-ray
Growing Up in Public: 7-63 Up on Blu-ray
Learn Your Craft: Legend of the Witches and Secret Rites on Blu-ray
70s Psycho-Thrillers! And Soon the Darkness and Fright on Blu-ray
Split: Stephen King and George A. Romero's The Dark Half on Blu-ray
Disney Post-Walt: Three Gamechangers
But Doctor, I Am Pagliacci: Tony Hancock's The Rebel and The Punch and Judy Man on Blu-ray
   
 
  T-Men The Treasury Don't Mess AroundBuy this film here.
Year: 1947
Director: Anthony Mann
Stars: Dennis O'Keefe, Mary Meade, Alfred Ryder, Wallace Ford, June Lockhart, Charles McGraw, Jane Randolph, Art Smith, Herbert Heyes, Jack Overman, John Wengraf, Jim Bannon, William Malten
Genre: Drama, Thriller
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: The T-Men are what is more officially known as the United States Treasury agents, that brave band who enforce the laws against counterfeiting, among other things, and here is a composite case to familiarise the audience with the kind of danger they routinely place themselves in. It was drawn from the so-called Shanghai Paper Case where it was suspected gangsters in Detroit were beginning to flood America with fake bills, so two agents, Dennis O'Brien (Dennis O'Keefe) and Tony Genaro (Alfred Ryder) were chosen to go undercover and infiltrate the gang to break it apart from within. To do so, they had to train hard, memorising pages of information, until they were ready...

Anthony Mann, before he made the tough Westerns in the nineteen-fifties that secured his name among film buffs, had already been generating a cult following in the previous decade thanks to his work in film noir, often in partnership with cinematographer John Alton whose innovations with making the best of lower budgets had crafted some of the most striking imagery in American B-movies. They operated so well together that many regard it as a pity it didn't happen more often, but Alton was a difficult man thanks to his perfectionism and eccentricity; he did however get on well with Mann, and they were planning to reunite in the sixties just before Mann passed away.

You can see why the director admired Alton, as once we have the dry opening narration from a Treasury official out of the way, we are plunged into a thriller scenario where a snitch is being traced for a meeting with an agent, but is gunned down in the dark side streets before he can give up his vital information. The crunching gear change between that dull first couple of minutes to when we are suddenly in some nightmare underworld of criminality is so arresting, so to speak, that it alerts you that no matter what the plot to this one may have been, it was worth sticking around simply to slowly drink in the rich atmosphere and appreciate those exquisitely manufactured visuals.

T-Men looks like perfect pulp cinema - looks like it, but does not necessarily play out that way, though it was notable for a total lack of sentimentality. This left you under no illusions that the crime syndicates threatening the fabric of American society had no qualms about turning to murder to protect their interests, and a late on development was still pretty surprising for those who thought old movies were corny and safe. O'Keefe was a decent match for this material, as he could move his persona between easygoing charmer and an outright tough guy: it was the latter he was asked to perform here, doubly so as his undercover pose requires him to convince some very unpleasant men that he can be just as savage as they are. Not only that, but he has to visit every Turkish bath in California.

Well, it seems that way anyway, but there was some ever so slightly camp interest in seeing Agent O'Brien having to don a tiny towel and sit about in steam rooms simply to identify the "Schemer" who sports a scar on their shoulder, and as luck would have it this man happens to attend the baths where said scar can be easily seen, assuming O'Brien has the right location. This Schemer (his character name) was played by Wallace Ford, an actor who suffered mightily in his upbringing but usually played the sort of roles O'Keefe was getting - yet Ford was now into his middle age, and a homelier appearance had well-settled onto his frame and features. There were other familiar faces to vintage cinema fans, though Lost in Space's June Lockhart was probably the most, here playing Genaro's wife whose meeting with him is unexpectedly haunting. Adopting the then-novel approach of a police procedural, with no-nonsense narration to boot, T-Men may have looked better than it played, but as a tough, uncompromising thriller it did its job. Music by Paul Sawtell.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 424 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star is the best at shouting?
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Brian Blessed
Tiffany Haddish
Steve Carell
Olivia Colman
Captain Caveman
Sylvester Stallone
Gerard Butler
Samuel L. Jackson
Bipasha Basu
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
  Rachel Franke
Enoch Sneed
Paul Smith
Paul Shrimpton
  Desbris M
   

 

Last Updated: