T-Men is a 1947 semidocumentary style film noir by director Anthony Mann and shot by noted noir cameraman John Alton. The production features Dennis O'Keefe, Mary Meade, Alfred Ryder, Wallace Ford, June Lockhart and Charles McGraw. A year later, director Mann used the film's male lead, Dennis O'Keefe, in Raw Deal.
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Anthony Mann|
|Produced by||Aubrey Schenck|
|Screenplay by||John C. Higgins|
|Story by||Virginia Kellogg|
|Narrated by||Reed Hadley|
|Music by||Paul Sawtell|
|Edited by||Fred Allen|
Edward Small Productions
Bryan Foy Productions
|Distributed by||Eagle-Lion Films|
|Budget||$424,000 or $450,000|
|Box office||$1.6 million (US/Canada)|
$2.5 million (worldwide)
The story involves two U.S. Treasury ("T-men") agents who go undercover in Detroit and then Los Angeles in an attempt to break a U.S. currency counterfeiting ring.
The agents try to join the gang by posing as counterfeiters from out of town. They eventually join the gang but the stakes are set even higher when one of the agents is killed by the gang while the other undercover T-man watches in horror.
- Dennis O'Keefe as Dennis O'Brien - aka Vannie Harrigan
- Mary Meade as Evangeline
- Alfred Ryder as Tony Genaro - aka Tony Galvani
- Wallace Ford as The Schemer (as Wally Ford)
- June Lockhart as Mary Genaro
- Charles McGraw as Moxie
- Jane Randolph as Diana Simpson
- Art Smith as Gregg
- Herbert Heyes as Chief Carson
- Jack Overman as Brownie
- John Wengraf as 'Shiv' Triano
- Jim Bannon as Agent Lindsay
- William Malten as Paul Miller
Locations used give a surprising look at the old Los Angeles Plaza area. The undercover cop, seeking his contact, leaves Union Station, crosses Alameda and walks up notorious Ferguson Alley (once full of brothels and opium dens on LA's "old Chinatown") and by the Lugo adobe (all torn down for "The Slot", LA's first downtown freeway.
Next, he goes into a Chinese apothecary (once LA's first fire station and now restored as part of the Plaza). A remarkable shot - inside the Chinese apothecary looking out - can be re-imagined today from inside the restored fire station.
The film was successful at the box office.
The New York Times film critic, Bosley Crowther, gave the film a positive review, "Hand it to Mr. Small's craftsmen: they have turned out a cops-and-robbers film in this new 'semi-documentary' format which, for action, is one of the best ... Made in part on locations in Detroit and Los Angeles, it does have a look of reality not often encountered in such films ... And Anthony Mann has directed the action, of which there is more than enough, with a fine sense of melodramatic timing and a good eye for sharp, severe effects."
Contemporary film critic, Dennis Schwartz, praised the film, writing, "The compelling well-made fake realism of the small studio sleeper semi-documentary crime thriller, T-Men, brought to wider attention the immense skills of B-film director Anthony Mann (Desperate/The Tin Star/The Man from Laramie) and cinematographer John Alton ... John Alton's brilliant camerawork makes the mise en scène dramatically grander than the matter-of-fact tone of the narration."
Although the film was a success it led to a breach between Eagle Lion and Small as Small was unhappy with the way his contribution to the film was minimized in advertising.
The film was remade in 1969, as The File of the Golden Goose, directed by Sam Wanamaker and starring Yul Brynner and Edward Woodward and this time set in London, England instead of the United States.
In 1970 Small announced he intended to turn the film into a TV series but it did not eventuate.
- Balio, Tino. United Artists: The Company That Changed the Film Industry, University of Wisconsin Press, 1987, p. 26.
- Variety 16 June 1948 p4
- T-Men at the American Film Institute Catalog.
- Raw Deal at the American Film Institute Catalog.
- Costello, Michael. Allmovie by Rovi, film review, no date. Accessed: August 1, 2013.
- Crowther, Bosley. The New York Times, film review, "T-Men, Story of Job Done by Treasury Department Agents, Is New Bill at Criterion", January 23, 1948. Accessed: August 1, 2013.
- Schwartz, Dennis. Ozus' World Movie Reviews, film review, March 22, 2005. Accessed: August 1, 2013.
- Brady, Thomas F. Special to The New York Times, "Small, Eagle-Lion Break Relations: Producer Holds Distributors Minimized His Contribution to Recent Film T-Men", New York, N.Y. March 27, 1948: 10. (1923-Current file).
- "The 20th Academy Awards (1948) Nominees and Winners". AMPAS. Retrieved August 1, 2013.
- The File of the Golden Goose on IMDb.
- Martin, Betty. Los Angeles Times, "Cloris Leachman Signs Pact", Los Angeles, Calif. May 22, 1970: g18. (1923-Current File).