This introductory chapter provides a background of Michael Mann's success in film and television to reflect on the influences which have engendered his unique standing in both media. Rather than enrolling in a film school in the U.S., Mann travelled to Europe to attend the London International Film School. His absorption in practice and practicality at this stage while exploring the aesthetics and artistic motivation for filmmaking epitomises the parallel intensities, which have defined his cinema. A combination of ideological, aesthetic, practical, and commercial influences and approaches in this formative period have carried through the divided critical evaluation of Mann — being both praised and dismissed as overt stylist, proficient genre filmmaker, and self-conscious auteur director — in later decades. Although the genres associated with depictions of criminal activity predominate Mann's output, significant films, such as the period adventure The Last of the Mohicans (1992), the horror film The Keep (1983), the docudrama The Insider (1998), and the biopic Ali (2001), provoke consequent authorship “questions”.
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