Quick Film Guide: C-Man (Joseph Lerner, 1949)

Directed by: Joseph Lerner

Story-wise, C-Man is fairly average. Its story is about a U.S. Customs agent trying to bust a jewel smuggling racket that involved the murder of his best friend, a fellow C-Man. It has its fair share of thrills and stars Dean Jagger in the leading role, and was released the same year Jagger won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his role in Henry King’s Twelve O’Clock High.

What is impressive about C-Man is that is was short on location, and that gives the film a gritty, quasi-documentary style that predates the approach of Jules Dassin’s The Naked City from the following year. Incidentally, this would be cinematographer Gerard Hirschfield’s last film before leaving for the army. His later credits would include 1974’s Young Frankenstein and 1982’s My Favorite Year.

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