Anthony Mann  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Anthony Mann (June 30, 1906April 29, 1967) was an American actor and film director.


Born Emil Anton Bundsmann in the Point Loma area of San Diego, Mann was the son of an Austrian immigrant, Emile Theodore Bundsmann, and Bertha Waxelbaum of Macon, Georgia.

Mann started out as an actor, appearing in plays off-Broadway in New York City. In 1938, he moved to Hollywood, where he joined the Selznick Company.

Mann became an assistant director in 1942, directing low-budget assignments for RKO and Republic Pictures.

Mann was respected for his acute visual sensitivity toward the American Western landscape, effortlessly blending natural vistas with human drama. Mann's dramas verged on classical tragedy, often showing anguished heroes attempting to resolve personal pain and confusion.

In 1967, Mann died from a heart attack in Berlin, Germany while filming the spy thriller A Dandy in Aspic. The film was completed by the film's star, Laurence Harvey.

For his contribution to the motion picture industry, Anthony Mann has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6229 Hollywood Blvd.


Mann first made his name as director of several film noir classics, widely hailed as some of the finest films of the genre. Early films which made Mann a name in Hollywood include:

However, Mann is probably best remembered today for his distinctive and highly influential work in the Western genre - particularly for a cycle of collaborations with James Stewart, as follows:

Strongly influenced by film noir in their brooding fatalism and hard-bitten, cynical tone, these films were important keystones in the development of the western as a mature film genre. Mann depicted the old west as a hostile, violent and amoral world in which no one can be trusted and life is cheap. In a marked contrast to the black-and-white value systems and the simple, stoic and uncomplicated heroes generally associated with westerns up to that point, Stewart's protagonists are flawed and, at times, morally ambiguous. Typically they are grim, embittered characters, driven by an obsessive quest to avenge a wrong done to them, and capable of the most ruthless and unflinching violence in pursuit of this end.

The Mann-Stewart films were critical and commercial successes and had a major impact on western-making generally, which grew notably darker and more "adult" in its themes, tone and content from the mid-1950s onward. An early and very pertinent example of Mann's influence on the genre lies in John Ford's masterpiece The Searchers (1956).

Mann's other famous westerns include:

In the 1960s, Mann put aside Westerns to concentrate on making two epics for producer Samuel Bronston:

Both films were intelligent examples of the epic form, once more demonstrating Mann's talents for merging drama with landscape and architecture.

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