“And so, with a hazy mental picture of a vague character called the Schemer, Agent O’Brien arrived in Los Angeles to start the second major phase of the investigation.”
U.S. Treasury agents Dennis O’Brien (Dennis O’Keefe) and Tony Genaro (Alfred Ryder) go undercover to try to infiltrate a counterfeiting ring.
T-Men was one of director Anthony Mann’s earliest collaborations with gifted cinematographer John Alton (who also worked with Mann on 1948’s Raw Deal and 1949’s Reign of Terror). The result is an atmospheric, stylish thriller with strong performances and many moments of genuine tension. Unfortunately, the script is flawed by a pedantic narration (see the quote above), which — while ostensibly meant to impart a “documentary feel” to the film — simply interferes with the flow of the story. Nonetheless, T-Men remains worthy viewing at least once, especially for noir fans.
Redeeming Qualities and Moments:
- Dennis O’Keefe, perfectly cast in the lead role
- Wallace Ford as “the Schemer”
- John Alton’s stunning noir cinematography
No, but it’s recommended.