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  • Folks can go on and on about a visual style. The fact is, RAW DEAL exemplifies more than just an atmosphere. There's a catalyst for horrific violence driven by the desperation of the characters, their psychosis and their inability to escape from the choking shadows not only around them, but inside their heads. This movie, a cheap b-production with only one actor with stand-out talent, Claire Trevor, and a young powerful Raymond Burr, manages to seem authentic all the way through because it doesn't hold back on the violence or the threat of violence. There's a desperate prison escape, by hero O'Keefe, who's trying to get to Burr the crime boss, for whom he took a fall. Burr wants O'Keefe dead so he doesn't have to worry about O'Keefe ratting on him. O'Keefe uses two women he knows, his floozy Trevor and the good-girl counselor he really loves (she's cast in light and draws him like a moth) as cover. The movie then follows O'Keefe as he does a mini-FUGITIVE, like the television show, making love to his women and encountering a raging lunatic in the woods who doesn't have anything to do with him, but might get O'Keefe caught anyway by swarming police on the hunt for the maniac.

    In this rough noir, you get a suicide by cop, a guy fighting not to get his face impaled on a set of wall antlers, a flaming friccasee thrown in a drunk woman's face, a nasty deception and the good girl getting tortured, and a bloody final encounter between psycho Burr and O'Keefe, with plenty of face-ripping and falling from burning buildings. That's not standard stuff, and if you can get into babe Trevor with light shimmering on her lips as she tries to figure out how to save her thug O'Keefe from the police, Burr, and the younger angel ready to steal him away, then you will enjoy hell out of this film.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    ***SPOILERS*** ***SPOILERS*** Gunplay is for Westerns (of which Raw Deal's director, Anthony Mann, went on to direct several). Film noir prefers more baroque outbursts of malice, ideally illuminating, however briefly, the dark crevasses of human psychopathology. Crime kingpin Raymond Burr, shot from below to make his bulk loom even more frighteningly, nurses a fascination with fire. His chambers glow with candlelight, and he playfully singes the earlobes of his henchmen with a cigarette lighter. When, displeased with some news he's just heard, a party girl splashes him with some of her drink, he reacts with lightning-quick instinct, hurling a chafing dish of flaming Cherries Jubilee into her face - and, not so incidentally, ours. (This, by the way, five full years before Fritz Lang arranged for Gloria Grahame to get a kisserful of scalding coffee in The Big Heat.) Of course, in accord with Chekhov's dictum that a rifle produced in Act One must be discharged by Act Three, waiting in the wings there's a conflagration with Burr's name on it.

    Raw Deal was the second of the collaborations between Mann and cinematographer John Alton, following T-Men. There's scarcely a frame in the film that Alton has not composed, lighted and shot with offhand brilliance, yet the film flows along without the fussy, embalmed look that comes from self-conscious artistry or uncertainty about what to do with it.

    A subdued voice-over opens the movie - not the stentorian narration with which so many noirs are saddled (including T-Men) but an almost interior monologue spoken by a woman, Claire Trevor. (Never has she been better - not in Murder, My Sweet, nor Born To Kill, nor Key Largo, which snagged her an Oscar.) A savvy moll of a certain age, she knows time is running out on her, hence her obsession with clocks: wristwatches, clock faces in towers, wall clocks (at one crucial point Alton encloses her anxious face within a dial). She's been carrying a torch for Dennis O'Keefe, in stir after a double-cross by Burr. But a breakout has been arranged, with the codependent Trevor driving the getaway car, her purse holding two tickets to Panama on a freighter leaving in three days time.

    But there's many a slip 'twixt cup and lip. First, a jam forces them to include in their getaway plans a young social worker (Marsha Hunt) who has taken a professional interest in O'Keefe (much to Trevor's chagrin). Next, Burr has sent one of his deranged torpedoes (John Ireland) in pursuit. Third, O'Keefe is determined to have one last reckoning with Burr. Fourth, Ireland manages to abduct Hunt....

    Half the movie takes place in San Francisco, mainly in fog-shrouded Corkscrew Alley. The great outdoors of the Northwest accounts for the rest - with a haunting nocturne in a pine forest, which city-gal Trevor remarks makes her feel `I dunno, both big and small at the same time.' But indoors or out, darkness reigns (and, thanks to Alton, the film's many and intricate shadows all but achieve co-starring stature). It's hard-core noir, to be sure, sinister and brutal, but shot through with a redemptive touch of poetry.
  • Raw Deal (1948)

    What a moody, dark, steamy, dangerous drama. The story is a little clunky at times, but with this much atmosphere, who cares? Between classic early Anthony Mann (the director) and classic early John Alton (the cinematographer), there is no doubt about wanting to get sucked in, dragged down, swept away, and wowed. It really is a beautiful, brooding movie.

    The key theme is escape, as a convict is on the run and he takes two women with him, one his girlfriend who is sort of "bad" and one an admirer who is basically "good." The two don't get along of course, and in the process of fleeing from one situation to another (pretty much always at night) we see the man switch from one kind of woman to another. This man is Dennis O'Keefe, who is strong and almost better here because he isn't well known and there is no baggage from other movies and other roles. The women are played by Claire Trevor, who is terrific, and Marsha Hunt, who is not--though she holds her own. Other smaller parts are gritty and impressive, including Raymond Burr as a very bad man, always photographed from below so he seems sinister.

    If the escape and the running were the whole movie, it would have been compact and effective, a tight little piece following these three on the road, hiding, and eventually fighting for their survival. There is one odd and highly improbable scene were they happen upon another criminal running from the police. It's good drama, but too coincidental, out in the mountains of the Pacific Northwest. Otherwise the parts are strong, the story well paced.

    And the visuals just stunning. That's the biggest reason to watch. And get pulled away.
  • What a perfect film for insomniacs. This is wonderful to watch with the lights out. With that said, let's look at this underrated work by director Anthony Mann. First the obvious...John Alton is a genius. The lighting, or lack thereof, is visually striking. What this man could do with a $10 budget was simply amazing. Secondly, let's note the unusual commentary/narration by Academy Award winner(she won the award that same year for her role in "Key Largo"), Claire Trevor. I can count only a couple of film noir in which the voice-over is done by a doomed (in love)woman. Her sense of entrapment perfectly encapsulate's the mood of this film. Now, let's also note the odd use of a theremin for the bulk of the music used in this film. Check it out...very creepy. But one of the most overlooked components in this film has to be the hulking visage of Raymond Burr. This guy had to be in just about every film made between 1944 and 1960. In this particular film he is a sado-masochistic pyromaniac. In just about every scene he is torching somebody, whether it be by using his lighter, or throwing a flaming flambeaus at some poor unsuspecting party-going girl or by just burning down his own apartment. He's a nutcase...but a joy to watch on the screen.

    Okay, so the story itself isn't the most original. But with everything else this film has going for it, I HIGHLY recommend anyone even slightly interested, to go buy it NOW! It's one of my absolute favorite film noir's. Oh...I almost forgot. Check out Marsha Hunt in this film. She's stunning.
  • Enjoyable noir outing enlivened by a first rate cast, solid script and typically solid Alton camerawork. O'Keefe is right at home as Joe, the hotheaded lug with his own code and unlucky streak. Trevor is at her fatalistic best as the true blue moll who is meant for him but gets stepped over. Hunt is appealing and credible as the fresh-faced moralist who tries to change Joe but winds up changed, instead. Burr is an effective heavy, albeit a bit too wimpy at the end. Toomey, Bissell, and Ireland are all competent as well.

    Alton uses multiple familiar Malibu locations to good advantage. The cinematography is excellent.

    The script is particularly effective, building as Joe slowly discovers how he has been set up and deceived by basically everyone to some degree. Claire Trevor's struggle to come clean at the end is a moving and suspenseful section and the violent climax is curiously redeeming and satisfying. Noir fans should definitely give this one a look- not as famous as your typical Bogey or Mitchum entry, but just as iconic in its own way.
  • Raw Deal is directed by Anthony Mann and adapted by Leopold Atlas & John C. Higgins from a suggested story by Arnold B. Armstrong & Audrey Ashley. It stars Dennis O'Keefe, Claire Trevor, Marsha Hunt, John Ireland & Raymond Burr. Paul Sawtell scores the music and John Alton is the cinematographer.

    Convict Joe Sullivan (O'Keefe), incarcerated after taking a fall, breaks out of jail with the help of his girl, Pat Cameron (Trevor). But something is amiss, brutish mobster Rick Coyle (Burr) is influencing proceedings behind the scenes, he needs to because he owes Joe big time. Kidnapping Joe's social worker, Ann Martin (Hunt), Joe & Pat hit the road, it's a road that will lead to desperate consequences for many.

    A raw fatalistic film noir that sees the ace pairing of director Mann and photographer Alton. They, along with O'Keefe, had made T-Men the year previously, itself a tough piece of film making. Raw Deal is the lesser known movie of the two, but that's not in any way indicative of the quality of Raw Deal, for it's most assuredly the real deal for sure. What unfolds over the 80 minutes running time is a plot full of characters destined for disappointments or even worse; rarely has the title for a film been as apt as it is here! Mann & Alton move the tight screenplay thru a shadowy world of half-lit images and high contrast brutality. Jittery cameras are supplemented by unbalanced angles, which in turn are boosted by Sawtell's music compositions. One of the best decisions made by Mann and Sawtell is that of the narration by Trevor, in itself unusual for a woman of noir to narrate, it's sorrowful and mournful in tone anyway, but with Sawtell scoring it with the theremin it plays out as part of a nightmarish dream-state.

    O'Keefe was not the leading man type, but that's perfect for this film, he offers a credibility to a man whose life has taken a down turn, where his only comfort is being a thorn between two roses, but with that comes more problems as he seeks to only breathe the fresh air of freedom. Trevor (loyal and knowing moll) and Hunt (dainty with whiffs of goodness seeping from every pore) play off each other very well, offering up a sort of devil and angel on Joe's shoulders motif. Burr is shot from the waist up, giving his character even more emphasise as a hulking, sadistic brute, and rounding out the good performances is Ireland as a sly hit-man type who revels in getting a rise out of his paymaster. But no doubt about it, the real star of the show is Alton's photography, itself the critical character. Mann's film would have been great and got through on his direction and script anyway, but with Alton's camera it ends up being essential for the film noir faithful.

    From the opening, where the credits show up on the background of prison bar shadows, to the no cop out-classic noir-ending, Raw Deal hits the mark. A film that's bleak and at times brutal, yet rich in emotional depth. A must see for like minded cinephiles. 9/10
  • Claire Trevor providing voice-over narration to the accompaniment of a Theramin! What an indelible effect this makes! In a way, it is not the usual sort of narration we find in film noir: Trevor is usually shown as her voice, with that spooky electronic instrument providing harmony, come through on the soundtrack. The standard for this was to have the protagonist (almost always a male) do this but without appearing as he spoke.

    Trevor not only appears but indeed appears in a hat with a veil covering her face. This will stick in your memory for years after you've seen it! Trevor helps boyfriend Dennis O'Keefe break out of prison. But a good girl, Marsha Hunt, has also visited and shown interest in them. Which one will he chose: bad but loyal Trevor or goody-goody Hunt? These are both excellent actresses. Marsha Hunt underplays a little bit here. But she is superb.

    The movie has a very solid, if somewhat standard plot. But all kinds of things are tossed into the mix -- all to the movie's benefit.

    For example, when O'Keefe has settled into his first hide-out, a wife-murderer appears and demands to be given shelter. He's there for a few minutes of screen time but after that his story is dropped.

    John Alton's cinematography is superb. Anthony Mann directed this Eagle Lion feature with expert hands. Some of the characters may be losers but the movie is a true winner.
  • Anthony Mann stylishly directs this jailbreak, film noir thriller. Dennis O'Keefe is the escapee who is taking the rap for his crime boss, Raymond Burr. Burr is responsible for springing him, but only with the hope that he gets killed in the attempt and is thus silenced. O'Keefe's dame is assuredly played by Claire Trevor, who helps him through the road blocks and dragnets, but is severely jealous once another woman enters the picture. John Alton's cinematography perfectly captures the noir-like atmosphere of San Francisco as does Trevor's voice-over narration accompanied by the haunting sound of a theremin playing.
  • Director Anthony Mann and photography whiz John Alton combined for several film noirs in the late 1940s and this was one. Most of them had the same feel which meant great photography and an okay-but-nothing-spectacular story.

    This one was different in that in had a female doing the narration. I wouldn't mind that but in this kind of hard-boiled film, a feminine voice such as Claire Trevor's didn't sound right. Now, if she an edge to her a la Marie Windsor or Ann Savage, fine, but Trevor's voice didn't fit. Trevor was a good noir actress, but using her for narration was questionable.

    It did have an apt villain, however, in Raymond Burr. The burly Burr was brutal, which means he was effective. He looked mean and sounded mean, all the way up to his 1954 "Rear Window" performance before going good-guy with television's Perry Mason. Dennis O'Keefe, Marsha Hunt and John Ireland also star and do a fine job. There is a lot of tough dialog in here.

    There are tons of nighttime shots, very dark scenes so make sure you view this on DVD because prior VHS prints of this made it difficult to view.
  • Gripping film noir with Dennis O'Keefe as Joe Sullivan, a man who escapes from prison with help from Pat, the woman (Claire Trevor) who's loved him and stuck by him for years. But Joe's fallen in love with a sympathetic caseworker (Marsha Hunt) and forces her to accompany him and Pat as they flee. Meanwhile, Raymond Burr plays the man responsible for Joe being in prison. He owes Joe money and sends a hit-man to make sure Joe doesn't try to collect.

    A great movie from Anthony Mann. Wonderful script and cast. O'Keefe has arguably the best role of his career here. Trevor's perfect as always. A truly gifted actress who doesn't get as much respect as some of her contemporaries. Marsha Hunt does well with the weakest part in the film. She looks beautiful, which doesn't hurt. Raymond Burr's a sadistic and nasty villain. He has one scene that's pretty shocking for the time and makes the famous coffee-throwing scene from The Big Heat look like a kiss on the cheek. A classic film noir that all fans of the genre should see.
  • From Claire Trevor's spacey, almost whispered voiceover, to the eerie moog soundtrack, to the foggy, shadowy scenography, Raw Deal is one of the most brilliantly conceived and masterfully crafted hardboiled movies ever made. Its early scenes are set in Washington state--i.e., Twin Peaks and X-Files country--and this setting establishes the spookiness that continues all through the rest of the film. Claire Trevor is especially good playing one of her washed-up floozy roles, and Raymond Burr is at his most diabolical as a pyromaniac crime boss. Fire and rain, shadow and fog, yearning and betrayal, deep loyalty and triple-crossing--as a mood piece this movie is unsurpassed. Once you've seen it, think about exactly who got the "raw deal" of the title--just one or two of the characters, or maybe all of them?
  • Warning: Spoilers
    "Raw Deal" was independent film made in 1948 by producer Edward Small. It is an excellent example of the "film-noire" genre that was popular in the forties and early 50s. It is filmed in black and white amidst the dark shadows and special lighting that characterized these films and in this case, most of the story takes place at night. It is skillfully directed by the soon to be famous Anthony Mann who went on to make a series of realistic and violent westerns with James Stewart in the fifties. Although the film runs a scant 78 minutes, it manages to tell its story and hold the viewer's interest throughout.

    Dennis O'Keefe stars as a convict who's escape is engineered by the crime boss (Raymond Burr) who had set him up for the fall in the first place, with the hope that O'Keefe wiil be killed in the escape attempt. Of course, he does escape and sets out to seek his revenge. O'Keefe's anti-hero really has no redeeming qualities. At one point he is poised to shoot down a forest ranger in cold blood.

    Claire Trevor is excellent as O'Keefe's long suffering moll who hopes to get him out of the country and eventually marry him. It is a role similar to the one for which she would win the Best Supporting Actress Oscar for "Key Largo" the same year. Marsha Scott is the third side to the triangle as the good girl who wants O'Keefe to give himself up.

    Burr is particularly sadistic as the crime boss who fears for his life. At one point he throws a flaming pan onto a girl who has displeased him. John Ireland is along as Burr's hitman who gets into an exciting fight with O'Keefe in a darkened storeroom.

    "Raw Deal" is a good movie that didn't get the praise it deserved.
  • Joseph Emmett "Joe" Sullivan (Dennis O'Keefe) is in the State Prison for taken the blame for the gangster Rick Coyle (Raymond Burr) that owes him US$ 50,000.00. Joe is visited by the young Ann Martin (Marsha Hunt) that works at the law firm that is defending him and she tells that after three years, Joe will certainly be on probation. However his lover Pat Cameron (Claire Trevor) also visits him and tells that Rick has plotted an escape for him during the night. What they do not know is that the sadistic Rick wants to get rid off Joe and expects that Joe will be murdered or caught during the prison break.

    Joe is well-succeeded in the escape and Pat drives the runaway car. However the car is shot in the tank by the police officers and they run out fuel. Joe brings Pat to Ann's house expecting to have a hideout for a couple of days, but Ann calls the police believing that she would help Joe. They escape in Ann's car and head to Crescent City, where Joe expects to meet Rick to receive his money and travel to South America with Pat. But Rick sends a hit-man to kill Joe while Pat feels that she is losing Joe to Ann that has fallen in love with him. Will Pat and Joe have the chance to travel together to South America?

    "Raw Deal" is a film-noir with a triangle of love between an ambiguous criminal that wants to be a good man, his experienced lover and a naive young woman that also falls in love for him. Raymond Burr performs a scary gangster. The plot is full of action and has an unusual narration in off by Pat Cameron. The cinematography in black and white is very beautiful and the conclusion is dark. My vote is seven.

    Title (Brazil): "Entre Dois Fogos" ("Between Two Fires")
  • Raw Deal is Anthony Mann's 1948 crime noir follow-up to the slightly better T-Men. Again it stars James Cagney-wannabe Dennis O'Keefe this time as bad apple Joe Sullivan. Escaped convict Sullivan, after a criss cross, is being chased by both the police and the mob. He becomes a lambster with two dames one bad -co-star Clair Trevor (so deliciously evil the year before in Born To Kill) and one good. Like all noirs, the bad girl is always the most interesting. Trevor plays her part perfectly as the love-starved and none-to-bright Pat. The plot is your basic noir - criminal on the loose. What sets this and other Mann movies apart are the interesting camera angles and black and white photography from cinematographer John Alton. Never satisfied with conventional camera setup, Alton always made Mann's films look great. Also worth mentioning is an incredibly brutal scene featuring baddie Raymond (The Blue Gardenia) Burr splashing a flaming drink into a woman's face. It's shocking to say the least.

    "I told you he had a cash register mind. Rings every time he opens his mouth."
  • It's interesting how none of the three lead characters in this picture are redeemable. This is about as noir as a person can get! And I think it's interesting how the sexual dynamics between Dennis O'Keefe and both women (played by Claire Trevor and Marsha Hunt) are continued throughout the story. His character is definitely not a one-woman man, and both gals seem to know it. Usually, if there is cheating in a movie of this era, regardless of the genre, one of the participants does not know, and does not find out about the unfaithfulness of their partner until two-thirds of the way into the story.

    But with RAW DEAL, all the cards are on the table right up front, and yet both women want to have an on-going relationship with him, and he clearly enjoys being able to be satisfied by each one at the same time, in different ways. It's a shocking revelation, and one wonders if a major studio would have attempted such material with an A-picture. Perhaps it's just as well, and all the more reason to appreciate a more independent film releasing corporation like Eagle-Lion and director Anthony Mann, who is willing to push the boundaries.
  • Lejink11 March 2014
    Warning: Spoilers
    An early Anthony Mann-directed movie before he hooked up with James Stewart for some fine Westerns in the early 50's, this is a fine noir thriller with a twist or three along the way. Other posters here have commented on the usual device of a voice-over by a female rather than male character and yes, that "Twilight Zone"-type soundtrack does take a bit of getting used to, I kept expecting some flying saucer or other to fall out of the sky any minute.

    Mind you the sky certainly falls in on main character escaped con Joe Cameron, played by Dennis O'Keefe, not only double-crossed into jail by his onetime partner played by Raymond Burr, but then deliberately sprung by the latter in the hope he'll get gunned down in the attempt. Of course that doesn't happen and so he finds himself on the run with two vying women in tow, the first, his long-standing, long-suffering girl-friend played by Claire Trevor, the second, his lawyer's clean-living secretary, Ann, played by Marsha Hunt whom he inveigles into his getaway against her will, but who falls for him anyway as things play out.

    It all ends on a dark, misty night (naturally) with O'Keefe confronting Burr and a fiery, violent and naturally pessimistic ending, with nobody winning, in true noir style.

    Gloomy and cynical as you'd expect, it's firstly a treat for the eyes, almost every scene shot in dull light, with unusual camera perspectives employed for the interiors and the device of shooting Burr from below to accentuate his bulk and menace. There's sharp dialogue too and some nice in-plotting, particularly Burr's relationship with his lippy almost insubordinate henchman Fantail, played by John Ireland. There are individual memorable scenes too, most notably Burr throwing a flambé straight at the camera to ruthlessly maim an innocent girl who accidentally bumps into him after he's received some bad news and his later demise, suitably in flames, backwards out of a window, but there are other gems strewn about too, for instance Trevor's face superimposed on an anxiously watched clock and her full-profile, veil-covered face when she answers a telephone in the foreground delivering, wouldn't you know it, some bad news.

    The only mistake really is when another movie about a runaway wife-killer gate-crashes the narrative, but after that it settles down again onto its relentless course to its fiery finish. The acting is fine by all, O'Keefe's lack of star status helping his "ordinary Joe" persona, Trevor is very good as the self-deluding girlfriend and Burr too as the heavyweight gangster still twitchy about O'Keefe catching up with him.

    This is a fine noir-thriller which can be enjoyed as sheer entertainment or as a fine study of the genre in microcosm.
  • Good, tough stuff from director Anthony Mann and a real film noir to use that battered term. Dennis O'Keefe is Joe Sullivan, small-time crook who has taken the fall for bigger-time crook Raymond Burr as Rick Coyle. Coyle sets up a breakout for Sullivan, figuring the chances are very good Sullivan will be killed in the escape, eliminating a nagging concern Coyle has that he may be a target for revenge when Sullivan gets out. Enter Claire Trevor (need I say more) as Sullivan's girl and voice/over narrator. Marsha Hunt is on hand to make sure we don't think all women are bad, and the unlikely trio hit the road stealing taxis,evading roadblocks,and hi-jacking gas station vehicles. It's moody, well-shot and moves along like a '48 Buick. This is the kind of movie that you're waiting for Whit Bissell to show up. He does. O'Keefe is always effective in this type of grim and grit and John Ireland is a hard-to-kill thug, a type that he excelled at. Burr is on target as a weaselly crime creep with an interest in flame. This one is worth anyone's time, particularly if you love the genre. The script isn't much, but these are pros who can bring it off. But the title should have been "Corkscrew Alley".
  • Joe Sullivan is in jail having taken the rap for criminal Rick, who owes him $50,000 for it. Knowing he is looking to escape, Rick greases some wheels to help Joe's girlfriend Pat to organize an escape – all with the knowledge that once he is out he will be certainly caught in the resulting police dragnet and either killed or sent back to prison for even longer; either way he'll be out of Rick's hair.

    I have watched a few noirs recently and the last couple in particular were a lot slower than I would have liked, so part of the appeal of Raw Deal was the short running time, which suggested that it wouldn't be taking too long over anything. This didn't mean it would be good of course, but it was a sign I wouldn't have the problems I'd had with the last few. As it turned out, although not as engaging as I had hoped, this is a solidly enjoyable crime thriller with a tough edge and a good pace to it that means the toughness has an urgency to it. The plot does have love interest within it but rather than be the distraction it can be, it provides a duality to the character of Joe since the two women he is traveling with sort of represent either side of his character and the battle between them.

    O'Keefe does a good job in the lead, tough but not inhuman and is likable. Burr is not quite as good as the villain but I think this is more to do with me than him since I always struggle to see him outside of the Perry Mason roles. Both Hunt and Trevor play their roles well and there is a nice tension between them throughout the film. Direction is good – it is fluid and makes the most of each scene, never once being stagey or stiff as some of the recent films from the period I have seen have been.

    Overall Raw Deal is not a brilliant film but it is a very effective one. It is short, punchy and has an enjoyably tough edge to all of it. The duality of the lead character is well played out and the violence is nicely stated.
  • AAdaSC15 March 2011
    Pat (Claire Trevor) narrates the story of her involvement with boyfriend Joe (Dennis O'Keefe) from the night that he escapes from prison until she is arrested. The story follows them on the run with Ann (Marsha Hunt). Who does Joe really love? It is obvious to all concerned...

    This film has a dramatic tension created by two women fighting over one man while they all try and make an escape together. The cast are fine with a particular mention to Claire Trevor and Marsha Hunt who inject the emotion into the story as O'Keefe seems completely devoid of any. Raymond Burr who plays "Rick" and John Ireland who plays "Fantail" make a couple of good bad guys and there is one disturbing scene where Burr's character throws a dish which is on fire onto his girlfriend's face - we didn't really need that. It certainly is a raw deal for everyone in this film.

    There are some nicely filmed scenes, eg, when Pat and Joe are on the boat minutes from departing to a new country and we focus on Pat's profile until she finally breaks the tension by calling out Ann's name. Overall, it's an entertaining film even if the outcome is obvious.
  • mingus-410 October 2000
    This film has two elements that set it apart from lesser noir. One, the photography, which features excellent composition and lighting, without being too 'clever'. Second is the acting, which is very natural and transparent to the viewer involved in the story. The story itself, while not having many layers, hits upon many of the key issues of film noir, especially the struggle to be good in an amoral world. 3.5 out of 5 stars
  • Warning: Spoilers
    RAW DEAL – 1948

    Director Anthony Mann and cinematographer John are both firing on all cylinders in this hard hitting film-noir.

    The top flight cast includes Dennis O'Keefe, Claire Trevor, John Ireland, Marsha Hunt, Regis Toomey and Raymond Burr.

    Raymond Burr, in one of his best villain bits, is a crime boss who arranges for former employee, Dennis O'Keefe to break out of prison. O'Keefe took the rap for a big time robbery and kept his mouth shut about Burr's involvement. O'Keefe wants to collect his end of the heist, 50,000 in long green. Burr has sent Miss Trevor to fill in O'Keefe on the escape. Trevor has the hots for O'Keefe and wants him for her man.

    The real reason for the prison break is that Burr figures it has a 1000 to 1 shot of success. Burr sees O'Keefe as a loose end that needs to be eliminated. Besides, why share the robbery take.

    O'Keefe however beats the odds and makes good his getaway. O'Keefe and Trevor are soon on the road looking for a place to lay low. O'Keefe picks the apartment of a social worker he knows, Marsha Hunt. O'Keefe happens to like Miss Hunt, which annoys Trevor no end. O'Keefe really does not see that Trevor is hot for him. The Police though are soon on the trail and O'Keefe grabs Hunt to bring along with him and Trevor.

    Meanwhile, Burr is not the least amused that O'Keefe made good his escape. When O'Keefe calls to arrange a place to collect up his 50 large, Burr sends hit-man Ireland to deal with him. The attempt fails and O'Keefe realizes that Burr has no intention of paying up. O'Keefe now decides to get even and heads to Burr's for some pay back.

    This one is a real keeper with excellent work from the entire cast and crew. I would swear that cinematographer John Alton could light a film with the reflection of a lit cigar off a quarter. The man is a genius. Director Mann keeps everything hopping during the entire 79 minute runtime.

    Raymond Burr, who made a film career out of playing villains, is particularly chilling here. The bit where he throws a flaming drink into a woman's face is quite something.

    Of note, as well, is the use of Claire Trevor to do the voice over narration. I'm not really a fan of the narration gimmick, but it works very well here.

    Well worth seeing if you are a fan of film-noir.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Raw Deal (1948) is simply a great noir. The plot is nothing extraordinary, but interesting nonetheless. Jailbreak, love triangle, not-so happy ending. (As usual, my reviews are full of spoilers, be warned…) Raw Deal does not bother with details that would make it unnecessarily long. It does not specify what kind of crime got Joe (O'Keefe) in jail, and how exactly he makes his escape. It is just implied that his escape was somehow assisted by fellow gangster Rick Coyle (Burr) who owes him 50 grand for taking sole responsibility for whatever the felony was they committed together. We are briefly introduced to Rick and his henchman Fantail (Ireland) and Spider (Conway). Rick struts around in his lair in a robe that seems to have "gay, gay, gay" written all over it, and he has a disturbing interest in fire. His favorite toy is a cigarette lighter, and there's many candles burning in his headquarters on Corkscrew Alley, which is also the street where both Joe and his moll Pat (Trevor, also the narrator) grew up. Rick is convinced that Joe will be killed during his escape, so he can keep the 50.000 bucks for himself. But Joe and Pat do make it. However, the prison snipers punctured the getaway car's gas tank, so first hijack a taxi and later pay a nightly visit to Ann (Hunt), the young woman who had been visiting Joe in prison, and who seems to believe that underneath the hardened criminal there's a good soul in hiding. Joe kisses her awake, and hours later the three of them squeeze into Ann's car and continue their escape. Pat notices that Joe is attracted to Ann, and she gets very jealous of her. On Corkscrew Alley, it is Rick's birthday, and his mood is neither improved by his bad luck at card games, nor by the news that Joe made it through the police dragnet and seems to be in the clear. When a girl who fancies him (Chili "polka dot girl" Williams) accidentally spills her drink on his threads, he throws a fiery desert into her face. Rick sends out Fantail (I love that name, by the way) to a scheduled meeting with Joe in a taxidermist's shop near the ocean…to finish him off. Joe goes with Ann, leaving Pat, who sprained her ankle (probably deliberately, so Joe will carry her in his arms) back. And he walks straight into the trap. The crooked taxidermist, aptly named Grimshaw, disarms Joe, but Joe does not give up easily. He struggles with both Grimshaw and Fantail, and they use the the taxidermist's props: knives, metal rods, even a deer's antlers, in their fight. When it looks like Joe is going to be killed, Ann picks up Joe's gun and shoots Fantail. Then she runs down the beach, sobbing. Joe tries to console her, first by telling her that Fantail survived, and when it that doesn't really work, he tells her she did it to save him. Ann passionately declares her love for Joe. Joe, however, looks glum. Joe does not believe in a common future with Ann, and he sends her home…but near a gas station she is captured by Fantail, who actually did survive. Meanwhile, Joe and Pat are at a hotel, packing their suitcases, they plan to flee to South America. The phone rings, Pat picks it up, and Spider tells her that Rick has Ann, and that he will do some very bad things to her if Joe doesn't show up. Pat lies to Joe, telling him it was the desk clerk. Joe and Pat are aboard a steamer, and Joe tells a steward he wants to get married at sea. Pat is initially happy, but she soon realizes that Joe does not love her, he loves Ann, and she will only be a proxy for her. And then she blurts out the truth about the phone call. Joe does not hesitate a minute. IF YOU DON'T WANT TO KNOW HOW IT ENDS, STOP READING NOW!!!

    Joe turns up on Corkscrew Alley, he does away with Spider and Fantail and confronts Rick at the dinner table. Joe really seems to have mellowed out, he hesitates when Rick, tells him: "You know I never carry a gun." Except he does…he shoots Joe without retrieving the gun from his pocket, through the folds of the clothes. Joe, shoots back, the two engage in a nasty fight that causes the curtains to catch on fire. Joe pushes Rick into the flames and out of the window. Rick gives two nice screams before hitting the ground. Joe manages to get out of the burning building with Ann, but he is mortally wounded. He dies in Ann's arms, while Pat watches, handcuffed. There's no happy ending for anybody in this movie, which only adds to its appeal. It has both soft (but never sappy) and violent moments, and great acting by everybody. I liked especially Burr and Ireland, who play really vicious thugs, but O'Keefe and the two ladies are also great. Great camera work, too.
  • bkoganbing22 February 2013
    Dennis O'Keefe stars in this crackerjack noir film directed by Anthony Mann. O'Keefe plays a man who took a rap for gangster kingpin Raymond Burr and now he's thinking he's gotten the bad end of a Raw Deal. He wants out of prison and Burr arranges an escape hoping he'll be killed in the attempted breakout.

    If you recognize the plot think back to Angels With Dirty Faces where James Cagney takes the rap for Humphrey Bogart and George Bancroft and now wants back in on the rackets they've built up and the other two don't want to cut him in. As dark as that classic was, Raw Deal is a good deal darker as O'Keefe's world is getting smaller and smaller due to the bad choices he made in life.

    With cops and Burr looking for him, Dennis also has himself involved with two women, steady streetwise Claire Trevor and the secretary of his lawyer Marsha Hunt. Both are carrying a big torch for O'Keefe, but Trevor is the jealous sort.

    Watching Raw Deal reminded me of a Eugene O'Neill play Strange Interlude where the characters voice over narration tells you their real feelings. That device is used for O'Keefe, Trevor, and Hunt as they express their emotions in the narration. And like any classic O'Neill play there is an inevitability about these people especially O'Keefe.

    Before Anthony Mann moved on to westerns and bigger budgets he did some good noir work in the Forties and Raw Deal is a fine example.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    "Raw Deal" is primarily a low budget crime drama but thanks to the inclusion of some interesting characters, excellent performances and sensational cinematography has also become recognised as a very memorable high quality film noir thriller. The whole movie is heavily steeped in an atmosphere which is bleak and fatalistic and the action takes place in an environment which looks perpetually dark and threatening.

    The look of the movie is attributable to the fine work of cinematographer John Alton whose single source lighting and heavily shadowed interiors create a claustrophobic ambiance which is symbolic of the extremely limited amount of freedom which can be enjoyed by the story's central character and his two travelling companions as they try to evade a massive police dragnet. The use of interesting camera angles, deep focus photography and swirling areas of fog also contribute strongly to the generally unsettling and rather ominous mood of the piece.

    Whilst serving a prison sentence for a crime he didn't commit, Joe Sullivan (Dennis O'Keefe) is visited by two women. Ann Martin (Marsha Hunt) is a legal assistant who tells him that with good behaviour he could possibly get released in 2 or 3 years time and his girlfriend Pat Regan (Claire Trevor) informs him that arrangements have been made for him to escape. The escape plan had been devised by gang boss Rick Coyle (Raymond Burr) who owes Joe $50,000 from a crime that they'd previously carried out together. Rick has calculated that Joe's chances of surviving an attempted breakout are minute and so confidently expects to be able to avoid having to part with Joe's money.

    Joe escapes and Pat drives the getaway car but they soon have to abandon the vehicle because of a large number of bullet holes in the fuel tank. They then go on to Ann's apartment where they kidnap her and use her car to continue their journey to meet Rick and collect Joe's money before heading for freedom in South America. This unusual threesome successfully evades the police and an attack by one of Rick's henchmen before Joe and Rick finally meet and a violent confrontation follows.

    Joe's resourcefulness enabled him to successfully negotiate the perils of being on the run but he was also preoccupied by the complications which developed in relation to his feelings for Pat and Ann. Pat was loyal and totally supportive but was also very much a part of the difficult lifestyle that he'd always known. When Ann and he became attracted to each other, she seemed to embody the possibility of a different and better life in the future. This situation led to some tensions as Pat became jealous and eventually resigned to Joe ending up in Ann's arms.

    Dennis O'Keefe and Marsha Hunt are both very good in their roles and Claire Trevor poignantly portrays the profound emotional pain suffered by Pat as she realises that Joe has never told her that he loves her and then also sees him steadily becoming more and more attracted to Ann. Raymond Burr is outstanding as Rick who is a vile and sadistic psychopath with a penchant for pyromania.

    The score by Paul Sawtell features the spooky sound of a theremin and this together with the tone of Claire Trevor's narration brilliantly reinforces the grim atmosphere of this film which doesn't end well for any of the main characters. Appropriately, from the visual standpoint, this movie is probably one of the blackest ever made.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I love Film Noir and this might just be my favorite genre. And I was very impressed by this film because I find I usually prefer Noir films with lesser-known actors because this often gives the films greater realism than those made by the big-named stars. This one featured Dennis O'Keefe and John Ireland--two exceptional Noir actors who never could have been stars in other films due to their ugly mugs! This, and the nifty dialog really made this an enjoyable film. Plus, in a supporting role, Raymond Burr is a horrible sadist and one of the better antagonists in Noir history--I was shocked and amazed to watch him throw a lit chaffing dish full of alcohol on a lady just because she laughed!! And, when O'Keefe slapped Claire Trevor across the face, I knew this was a Noir film with little sentiment (a hallmark of better Noir).

    Unfortunately, while the film had so many elements I liked, there was one clichéd role that seriously detracted from the gritty realism and that was the character played by Marsha Hunt. Although she believed in O'Keefe's innocence, she was an unwilling accessory to his escape from prison. Throughout much of the film, she is held at gunpoint or other threats of violence to get her to stay with O'Keefe and Trevor. Because of this, she naturally hates and resents them. So, when out of the blue, she falls for him and is willing to kill for him later in the film, it just makes no sense at all! Aside from this slip-up (and it's a big one), it's still a dandy film and is well worth your time.
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