- Michael Mann’s Manhunter confirms the promise of 1981’s Thief. It makes him one of the most exciting cinematic voices to emerge from the 1980s.
- The blue day for night shot in the bed with a wall of windows just after that shot.
- Manhunter is Thomas Harris’ novel “Red Dragon”—and the first appearance of Dr. Hannibal Lecktor (no idea why the change on the name here for this one film). For Mann’s film (five years prior to Demme’s The Silence of the Lambs) Brian Cox plays Hannibal. There’ is no way getting around it, Cox’s work does not measure up to Anthony Hopkins. The focus of the film is different, Cox is here at the 23-28 minute mark, a few minutes on the phone later.
- Mann’s first film with Dante Spinotti as cinematographer—Mann’s best work would be with Spinotti and he is probably his key collaborator.
- A focus here from Mann on the color green – green titles, green blinds in the Atlanta office, the dark room with the green hue where Joan Allen’s character and Tom Noonan’s charter meet, Allen’s character has an entirely green door, the green backdrop in the brainstorming session in Washington.
- The entire cast deserves applause (Stephan Lang is in here too)- but the 2002 film Red Dragon by Brett Ratner would have a stronger one— but this film here in 1986 is vastly superior, to show you once again that auteur cinema dominates- Ratner is no Michael Mann. DP Dante Spinotti shot both and Ratner’s film doesn’t look like this at all.
- At the 92-minute there is a quick double-dolly (Spike’s trademark shot- but not yet in 1986)
- Mann is building to a climatic confrontation of good and evil again (accompanied here, brilliantly with “IN-A-GADDA-DA-VIDA” Performed by Iron Butterfly), and again he uses slow-motion – there’s a fabulous glass breaking shot here.
- A Must-See film top five of the year quality film
Watched this a couple weeks ago, very impressive and good call on the difference between Mann and Ratner, Red Dragon (2002) had an absolutely loaded cast; Anthony Hopkins, Ed Norton, Ralph Fiennes, Emily Watson, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Harvey Keitel. I enjoyed the performances, especially the scenes with Hopkins and Norton but visually it was as bland as a Ron Howard film. Also, watching Manhunter now its easy to forget how groundbreaking the focus on criminal profiling and serial killers was at the time, given the roughly 50,000 serial killer tv shows and movies that followed.
@Drake – Have you seen a Keep? I’m curious what you think about it if you have seen it.)
– I’m a bit lower on Manhunter than you, but it’s an outstanding thriller. Completely agree about differences between Mann and Ratner versions. While a decent little thriller, it doesn’t hold a candle to Manhunter (and it mostly waists such a terrific cast, all are competent, but Mann gets out more from weaker performers).
– The official reason for the change of the name is that Year of the Dragon was a flop and Dino De Laurentiis wanted to distance this movie from it.
@James Trapp – Haha, a bit hard on old Ron, no?))) I know he is a go-to director to describe middlebrow movies, but I think he is a head above Ratner. Rush and even Beautiful Mind are more interesting visually than anything that I’ve seen from Ratner (which is not a lot admittedly) and Apollo 13 while maybe is mostly visually interesting due to great vfx work is really well directed (it’s especially strong in the editing department).
@Mad Mike– Mann’s The Keep? I have not seen it- only standard def versions available from what I could find
@Drake – Yep, that’s the one. Yeah, it is available in pretty bad quality. I have my doubts that we will see it in better quality ( there is a rumor about 3 hours directors cut, but I have my doubts about it.)
I think it’s the worst Mann film. It has several interesting shots (If I remember correctly in the first half of the movie) and not bad Tangerine Dream score. That’s all.
@MadMike – You’re probably right regarding Ron Howard, I do enjoy some of his films, watched A Beautiful Mind recently, Apollo 13 and Cinderella Man were entertaining. His movies appeal to a certain audience, like you said he is the go to director for middlebrow movies.
I enjoyed Red Dragon but thought the incredible cast was largely wasted. Visually Manhunter is in another league.
@James Trapp – Yeah, no argument on Manhunter vs Red Dragon.
I just felt that you were a bit harsh on Howard considering the comparison with Brett Ratner.)) That’s all.