Arlecchino Cinema > 14:15


Anthony Mann
Introduced by

Bryony Dixon


Tuesday 30/06/2015


Original version with subtitles


Film Notes

Mann’s experience with his final epic film in many ways repeats the first. As Cimarron is sometimes mistakenly called a western, Heroes of Telemark is sometimes labeled a war film. Both films incorporate conventions of those two respective genres, but their large, sprawling stories mark them as epics.
[…] Mann utilizes most of his familiar stylistic devices – swish pans, elaborate compositions, etc. The cutting pattern, however, is somewhat at odds with his more classic films. The self-conscious jump cuts of the 1960s are in ample evidence. However, they do serve to illustrate the danger and potential treachery of the world the characters inhabit, and are not used gratuitously. The strength of the film lies in its visual use of the snowy landscape. Scenes of guerrilla fighters on skis, flying over snow under a blue sky, with darkening clouds threatening above, are stunning. An exciting chase takes place on skis, with the Nazis pursuing Kirk Douglas through the icy landscape.
At the center of the film is a sequence that is one of the best Mann ever put on film. Nine guerrillas start out on skis to knock out the heavy-water factory, with the camera following both their skiing and their on-foot descent down wooded mountain slopes. The soft, lush, wet snow has great beauty. Brilliantly photographed by Robert Krasker for unusual angles, the scenes involving dramatic mountain-climbing techniques are totally engrossing. As the men move toward the town, the only sound is that of their feet hitting the hard rocks as they descend down the mountains. As they disturb the landscape, giant sifts of snow fall from great heights. Tension is generated largely through this ominous and total silence. Not a single sound is heard on the track except those that would be natural to the events. Since the snow muffles most of that, there is practically no sound at all. The sound of a lock being forced cuts into the silence with the power to bring an audience out of their seats. […]
In fairness, Heroes of Telemark is seldom seen today in its proper format. Prints that are available are 16mm, with faded color and scanned visuals.
Jeanine Basinger, Anthony Mann, Festival Internacional de Cine de San Sebastián/Filmoteca Española, San Sebastián-Madrid 2004

Cast and Credits

Sog.: dal romanzo But for These Men di John Drummond e dal romanzo Skis Against the Atom di Knut Haukelid. Scen.: Ivan Moffat, Ben Barzman. F.: Robert Krasker. M.: Bert Bates. Scgf.: Tony Masters. Mus.: Malcolm Arnold. Int.: Kirk Douglas (dott. Rolf Pedersen), Richard Harris (Knut Straud), Ulla Jacobsson (Anna), Michael Redgrave (zio), David Weston (Arne), Sebastian Breaks (Gunnar), John Golightly (Freddy), Alan Howard (Oli), Patrick Jordan (Henrik), William Marlowe (Claus). Prod.: Benton Film Productions · 35mm. Col.