T-Men - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

T-Men Reviews

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½ July 8, 2016
Sometimes it's better not to know too much.

A counterfeit ring has done an outstanding job of keeping their printing presses with fresh equipment to thwart the FBI. The FBI hires two agents to work undercover, hopefully infiltrate the ring, and bring down the men responsible. The men's lives are at constant risk...and they have difficulty earning the trust of the ranks of the gang.

"I told them nothing at all. The police I no like."

Anthony Mann, director of El Cid, Winchester '73, The Glenn Miller Story, The Fall of the Roman Empire, Cimarron, The Far Country, Serenade, and Thunder Bay, delivers T-Men. The storyline for this picture is fairly straightforward with interesting characters and circumstances. The acting is solid and the characters are portrayed well. The cast includes Dennis O'Keefe, Mary Meade, Alfred Ryder, June Lockhart, Charles McGraw, and Wallace Ford.

"Once they get their hands on both of these we'd be dead pigeons."

I came across this some time ago on Turner Classic Movies (TCM) and decided to DVR this classic gangster genre picture. This was an above average movie with an interesting set of circumstances and some surprising sequences. I surely recommend seeing this if you're a fan of the old-time classic gangster films.

"You dirty fink..."

Grade: B-
½ October 5, 2014
Dragnet-like storytelling brings down what could have been a classic noir about US Treasury agents going undercover to bring down a counterfeiting ring. However, director Anthony Mann and cinematographer John Alton bring an amazing amount of style to this film, which elevates it to come thing of a low budget mini classic.
September 23, 2014
awesome tale from director mann ("johnny guitar:)
½ April 16, 2013
1.5: I have a hard time believing Anthony Mann directed this. It does come together a bit in the end, but it takes a long time to get started. The ridiculous narration, cardboard characters, stiff delivery, and juvenile dialogue and script don't exactly help matters. It really plays like a feature length Hollywood-sponsored public service announcement. It is often documentary-like, and plays as more educational than entertaining at times. It is basically USG propaganda. Interesting in that sense, but more as a historical curiosity than anything else.
½ March 1, 2013
The incredible cinematography save this film from questionable source material and acting, but it's such a joy to watch for the shadow/light play alone. Every scene is delightful to watch and mind boggling to listen to. The bizarre, listless voice-over narrative and quasi documentary format is jarringly incongruous with hilariously campy dialogue, but it all somehow works.
December 13, 2012
Docudrama thriller about a pair of treasury agents who go undercover to bring down a counterfeiting operation. The frequent intrusions for narration tend to disengage the audience and diffuse tension, although it does make T-Men quite easy to follow for those unused to the densely plotted nature of film noir. John Alton's cinematography is a thing of inky beauty, and the film's greatest strength.
½ November 2, 2012
Evenly-paced documentary that surrounds itself with a truly spellbinding film-noir aura. A tale about two hard cops who - under new aliases - try to infiltrate a dangerous counterfeit ring. With their cleverly-build personalities they embark on a very intense and tough mission, which will end one of the most ruthless criminal gangs in the history of phony money distribution. Dennis O'Keefe and Dennis O'Brian give immensely astounding performances as the two titular T-Men. The only thing that irritates in the film is its unsteady and lame narration provided by one of the least encouraging voices in the docudrama genre.
July 28, 2012
Anthony Mann teams up with cinematographer John Alton to create an archetypal film noir (falling into Paul Schrader's theoretical middle period where police procedurals and "realism" came to the fore -- here we see an actual Treasury official introduce the story). Dennis O'Keefe is undercover to break a counterfeiting ring -- and finds himself in a lot of danger. All shadows and fog, uh, I mean steam.
April 29, 2012
One of the straight-up coolest movies I've ever seen, 'T-Men' is the story of two treasury agents that go undercover and infiltrate mobs in both Detroit and Los Angeles in order to blow up a counterfeiting ring. This is the film that made Anthony Mann a somebody, and there's good reason for that; the thing just oozes with style. At first, the film is told as a kind of documentary, or educational film. A narrator fills the soundtrack with monotonous talk about statistics and figures, but after awhile Mann turns that style inside out, thrusting us into a roller coaster ride filled with thrilling suspense and hardboiled violence. What's more, Mann gives that violence weight. There are some real dramatic surprises in this story, and after awhile it becomes clear that screenwriter John C. Higgins isn't messing around- he means to show all the dangers and terrors that this kind of work can bring, and while the dialogue may be highly stylized, there is nothing fun about the film's brutality. The movie has some of the most underrated performances in all of film noir, I think, particularly from Dennis O'Keefe, a man who struggled throughout his career to establish himself in the business but who, from what I have seen of his work, always gave a nuanced and powerful lead performance. Here he is mesmerizing, every bit as commanding as a Humphrey Bogart or a Robert Mitchum. He is funny and smart, and he squeezes some great emotional drama out of a lot of scenes. Even if the rest of the movie weren't as good as it is, I would love it for this performance alone. It has been overlooked and imitated (from 'Dragnet' to 'The Departed'), but this, to me, is one of the most quintessential film noirs, and a damn fine film anyway.
April 25, 2012
hard-hitting till the end
December 2, 2011
A great masterpiece of light and form. John Alton's cinematography is truly stunning.
August 18, 2011
"T-Men" is really only a film noir expert movie to watch. I love the genre, but still I did not feel like I was ready to see this. It was put out by Poverty Row Studio "Eagle-Lion" which only ran for a few years, a notable movie that put out was "The Scar" in 1948, but still, this was a not well known part. Though I do consider this to be an exceptional movie for a B, for an A, ouch. This movie is just not good. Don't get me wrong, I'm all about visual effects, and yes, I appreciated the cinematography, but really, that's really the only reason to see this movie, the stars I put out is only related to it. Other than that, this movie is not too exciting. For a star-cast, it's pretty obvious not to see this: is there even one exceptional name? Nope. I knew it didn't have any, but because of its good reputation I thought, oh well. Maybe if it had at the least, Richard Widmark, this film could have been something really special, but I thought the actors just did not have the strength to carry the film even a little bit. I was not a huge fan of the plot either-- I have seen ones similar before, but when you get an annoying announcer talking every five minutes, it can get on your nerves. Watch a similar film noir "The Street With No Name" (which I gave five stars), and you will really get a treat. "T-Men" has a lot of potential, but does just not make it.
July 20, 2011
Entertaining Anthony Mann crime drama shot on locations in Detroit (though it looks suspiciously like Chicago) and Los Angeles. Some nice shots and beautiful cinematography highlight this one.
Super Reviewer
½ October 23, 2010
How exciting, agents of the US treasury are on the case! Okay, I'm being sarcastic, this is a horribly boring movie.
August 14, 2010
A solid film noir, but the narration comes off as a little unnecessary.
May 7, 2010
I don't usually go much for cops 'n robbers noir, I prefer it to be about ordinary people trapped in extraordinary circumstances. And I don't care much for this docudrama style, with the authoritative narrator and the ultra-patriotic bookends. But these aren't necessarily dealbreakers. Sometimes it doesn't work (House on 92nd Street) and sometimes it does (He Walked By Night). In this case, it pretty much works. The narration is pretty hokey, although it does provide some great lines like "They had to know all the answers. Failure to do so would mean a bad grade later on... in the shape of a bullet or an ice pick." The actors are all good, but none stand out except maybe Wallace Ford as the weaselly "Schemer". The plot is old hat, but moves at a good clip and builds tension nicely. The real superstar of this movie is cinematographer John Alton. This is practically a textbook example of noir photography, with some really stunning shots, perfect compositions and beautiful use of high-contrast lighting. Worth seeing for the visual aspects alone, but even without that it's a fine movie.
½ February 25, 2010
Good noir, not great. The transfer is very bad, though, so that might have dampened my enthusiasm for the flick a bit.
July 20, 2009
Cool gangster film made in a documentary style about two undercover treasury agents (T-Men) who pose as mobsters so they can get in on the counterfeiting ring. Great use of lighting, and shadows. It's pretty engaging, but at times the narrator got annoying, he sort of sounded like the narrator in George of the Jungle. But anyway, it's cool, Dennis O'Keefe and Alfred Ryder are great.
½ May 29, 2009
The story is kinda slow and its just not very interesting. The proganda film type feel is definetly interesting but it just feels funny that these treasury agents are so hardcore. The narration does get pretty annoying in this particular film as well. That being said, Mann is in top form from a directing standpoint. The shot selections, framing and dp work is exceptional and probably one of his better efforts which is definetly saying something. For this alone I have to rate it rather well.
½ March 22, 2009
Above average B movie police procedural. Narrator is a bit intrusive, but the cinematography is excellent, as well as the handling of several key scenes.
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