Saturday, May 08, 2021

The Tall Target (1951) Anthony Mann

Dick Powell plays NY detective John Kennedy, who is traveling to Baltimore to foil a plot against Lincoln's life on the eve of his inauguration. When he can't convince his bosses to take the threats seriously, he turns in his badge and sets out by train to reach Baltimore before Lincoln's arrival, trailing several people (including an army colonel played by Adolphe Menjou) that he suspects might be involved in the assassination plot and stand in the way of his investigation.

The whole thing is filmed very deliberately like a contemporary Noir, with high-contrast B&W cinematography, lots of steam and wet streets, etc. It's an interesting experiment in taking a period setting and a fictionalized version of historical events, and taking a deliberately contemporary approach to filming them.

A gripping thriller that runs a tight 77 minutes.

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