Friday, August 16, 2019

Corkscrew Alley / Raw Deal

Why Not Just Die?

(All images are details from iPhone photos taken of the film playing from the Criterion Channel.)

Raymond Burr in silk lives on Jane Street, some stretch known as Corkscrew Alley, according to a street sign fastened to a lamppost. I deleted what I wrote originally here after I realized we weren't talking about the same Jane Street.

A jailbreak on-the-lamb picture, this 1948 Corkscrew Alley (Mann's or the screenwriters' intended title, I can't remember), more 'traditionally' noir in its scenario and set-up than the previous year's T-Men, but slightly more vital too: the dated quaintness of the counterfeit epidemic has been abandoned for the universal requisite of freedom, despite all prison sentence odds, and breaths of fresh air in the ostensibly 'free world,' that is, 'Corkscrew Alley.'

Violence between Mann in 1948 and more recent movies: here the energy-to-burst is tangible, O'Keefe nearly busts his aggressor John Ireland's eye on the taxidermied horn of a buck. This sequence veiled in netting progresses and everyone lives but Mann takes up the motif across Claire Trevor's literally fishnet-veiled face: one of these abrupt close-ups from outer-space (beyond the camera line) which adamantize the abstract and force the public to react. Take the phone in the foreground jutting like it's lost; anticipating the ring that will jostle Trevor and O'Keefe beyond... and it does, a mise-en-scène anticipating an action cause.


Pieces on Anthony Mann at Cinemasparagus:

T-Men [1947]

Corkscrew Alley / Raw Deal [1948]

Bend of the River [1952]

Thunder Bay [1953]


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