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That's ONE way to put it I've not heard before...

299 posts in this topic

7 hours ago, misswonderly3 said:

Actually, technically the topic was "Someone said "A Christmas Carol" aka "Scrooge" the 1951 version could be called a noir. Discuss."

Which brings me to something I've been meaning to ask: there's actually been hardly any conversation about that film and whether it has noir elements at all.  I'm curious: How many people following this thread have seen that movie?

I've seen it and I would not consider it noir at all. I explained my reasoning already that it doesn't have any thematic connections to the noir genre at all. I'd consider it about as noir as Laurel and Hardy. 

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17 minutes ago, cigarjoe said:

Wrong, did you read through the whole thead or just adding your two cents on to the end?

How much is enough depends on the individual. 

I've been reading the thread all along, but posted that last response after only reading the last page.

I agree about individual interpretation, just don't like nit picky-ness. 

And I also agree with MissW who suggested "Christmas Noir" may have been a kind of tongue-in-cheek remark.

That said, my DVDs are out of control and I've had to CATEGORIZE them-oh the horror! I do not keep my Christmas Carol DVDs in the NOIR box, they're in the FANTASY box. (my "boxes" being discarded metal film cans)

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3 minutes ago, TikiSoo said:

I've been reading the thread all along, but posted that last response after only reading the last page.

I agree about individual interpretation, just don't like nit picky-ness. 

And I also agree with MissW who suggested "Christmas Noir" may have been a kind of tongue-in-cheek remark.

That said, my DVDs are out of control and I've had to CATEGORIZE them-oh the horror! I do not keep my Christmas Carol DVDs in the NOIR box, they're in the FANTASY box. (my "boxes" being discarded metal film cans)

OK, but have you seen Christmas Holliday, Lady In The Lake, Two Men In Manhattan, Blast Of Silence, there are more BTW, I would not put them in the FANTASY box. :D

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10 minutes ago, Gershwin fan said:

I've seen it and I would not consider it noir at all. I explained my reasoning already that it doesn't have any thematic connections to the noir genre at all. I'd consider it about as noir as Laurel and Hardy. 

Define noir genre.

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4 minutes ago, cigarjoe said:

Define noir genre.

“A Dame With a Past and a Hero With No Future”

I also linked this doc earlier that I found informative on the noir genre and the themes behind it.

 

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It's not a genre to a lot of us, nobody ever started out to make a film noir, it didn't start in 1941 and it didn't end in 1958, go from there, or see Summer Of Darkness board.

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Let me say first,  I don't consider A Christmas Story (1951) a Noir either.

But it does have some noir-ish characteristics. 

Scrooge is and alienated individual, Scrooge is obsessed with money, the story does have some dark visuals and he has both flashbacks and flashforwards. Those are some thematic connections to Noir. But it doesn't tip Noir for me.

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43 minutes ago, cigarjoe said:

Let me say first,  I don't consider A Christmas Story (1951) a Noir either.

 

Gee, I don't know. Telling a kid he will shoot his eyes out sounds pretty dark to me.

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3 minutes ago, scsu1975 said:

Gee, I don't know. Telling a kid he will shoot his eyes out sounds pretty dark to me.

A Christmas Carol sorry :D

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13 hours ago, cigarjoe said:

Newsflash for you, I just checked. Night of the Hunter it's in the Appendix in the 1979 Edition. It's in the Noir List in the 2010 Edition.

Hardly surprised. I still don't think this film qualifies as noir just because it has elements of the genre to it.

This unusual film remains a dark fairy tale to me, if I had to give it a label.

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6 minutes ago, TomJH said:

Hardly surprised. I still don't think this film qualifies as noir just because it has elements of the genre to it.

This unusual film remains a dark fairy tale to me, if I had to give it a label.

Noir is quite nebulous, defining it is like trying to catch a plume of smoke drifting up from a cigarette. 

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41 minutes ago, scsu1975 said:

Gee, I don't know. Telling a kid he will shoot his eyes out sounds pretty dark to me.

There's also a femme fatale who takes the form of a leg-shaped lamp (aka "the soft glow of electric sex") who threatens to rip the husband and wife apart.  "It's a MAJOR award," he says.

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One term I don't use is neo-noir. It's like saying a neo-Nazi is a new kind of Nazi. No, a Nazi is still a Nazi. And anything "neo" filmed in the 20th century is "old" now.

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3 hours ago, cigarjoe said:

A film has to have enough of the story elements and enough of the visual components to be considered a noir. How much is enough depends on the individual. 

But this in itself is still utterly indefensible. Relying on 'proportion'? Relying on 'subjectivity'? This doesn't help anything. Maybe this is why it makes my eyes bug out so much. Its just poorly constructed logic.

'Visual components'. This as well. Did you make this up on your own? Did you see it in a book somewhere? Then the book was wrong.

I ask you, since when can you lump two things together simply because they look similar? Is a slice of Chocolate Lava cake the same as a Kansas porterhouse because they're both served hot, both intended to be eaten, and both colored brown?

This kind of wildly flawed reasoning has been discredited since Medieval scholastics finally admitted that Aristotle made mistakes in science and that tadpoles don't spontaneously originate from swamp ether.

Seriously. Organizing topical matter in this fashion, wouldn't be honored in any field outside of the lala-land that accompanies popculture, movie-making and...well, maybe...cooking? Cuisine? Home economics? In any formal environment you can never say that 'appearance' can replace an understanding of function or structure. It breaks dozens of logical principles.

 

 

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12 hours ago, cigarjoe said:

Here we go found this in Summer Of Darkness 

Here below we cut through all the magniloquence, (in other words the horse poop) 

Sgt_Markoff

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My first rule is probably this: I don't even start to label anything a noir unless the lead role is an American male who has been discharged from WWII military service and is now dealing with the difficulties of re-establishing himself back into an American society which seems strange, amoral, and unfamiliar to him.

Another strong determinant for me, is the budget. Low budget productions were the hallmark of noir.

From this basic starting point, is where I start to make exceptions and compromises.

Sure, I might wind up making a lot of exceptions, but these are still some of the ideal ingredients for noir and is (from what I understand) where it all started. Nothing is true noir until after WWII ends.

But the above makes perfectly good sense right.....

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17 hours ago, jamesjazzguitar said:

I assume the same urge you have to classify everything as NOT 'noir' and then to mock others for doing so.

Except that my approach is not mindless inventorying-of-titles and arranging-them-in-categories-based-on-what-they-look-like. My argument doesn't depend on such foolishness. I don't make up new categories (aka pull new rules out of my keister) to suit a need for cozy, false, uniformity.

My rational is: look at how the films are made. If answers are found anywhere, it is in the production of the film, not what it looks like as it sits on a shelf arranged next to others. 

Truly bonkers.

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15 hours ago, jamesjazzguitar said:

 

.... if pushed to say a film was 'noir' or not,  my foundation is this:  If I was writing a book like Film Noir (Ward \ Silver),  would I feature that film in my book?   For a film like Night and the City the answer would be YES.   For a film like The Night of the Hunter I wouldn't mention it in the main section, but instead in the appendix as a film with noir elements;  Note that the book Film Noir has such an appendix where they list period,  comedies,  westerns,  and gothic films that have noir elements but are NOT part of the noir genre\style (as defined by the authors).

 

I think we have the same book, james. I love this Encyclopaedia of Film Noir by Alain Silver and Elizabeth Ward. Looks like this, right? with the cover a still from "Sudden Fear".

Image result for the film noir encyclopedia silver and ward

 The image I've posted here says "third edition", but I think mine is a reprint of the first edition (copyright 1979, but mine says reprinted 1988).  I love this book and refer to it all the time. It's very informative and interesting, and a great guide for noir fans.

I also have the more recent edition, which looks like this: I think the cover is from "The Big Combo", but maybe not, I could not find a credit for the cover or any acknowledgement of what film the still is from anywhere in the book. (if anyone knows what this still is from, let us know !)

Image result for the film noir encyclopedia silver and ward

 

But I actually prefer the earlier one. It's been heavily used and like yours', is falling apart. But I still cherish it !

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7 minutes ago, cigarjoe said:

But the above makes perfectly good sense right.....

Sure. Itemizing some common denominators of pure noir was one way to lead in to the topic. I hadn't given hardly a though to film noir in years before I set foot on this forum two months ago; but I'll stand by these preliminary musings, even though I've expanded my position of attack since that week. Could certainly go back to this post at any time, flesh it out, and it would still make more sense than 'noir is just a style'.

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35 minutes ago, speedracer5 said:

There's also a femme fatale who takes the form of a leg-shaped lamp (aka "the soft glow of electric sex") who threatens to rip the husband and wife apart.  "It's a MAJOR award," he says.

And she's from Italy!

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15 hours ago, jamesjazzguitar said:

Note that I'm also 100% fine with the Miss Wonderly approach;   who cares how it is 'labeled',  I just know that I like it.

(and hopefully I'm not misstating how she view this but likely oversimplifying it).

 

I'm flattered you quoted me on this, james, especially because it was a post I made on another thread altogether (the Noir Alley one).  And basically that's how I feel, although I was deliberately being a bit silly at the time, I think I said "I don't know much about  noir, but I know what I like"  ( as in, "I don't know much about art but I know what I like".) Because sometimes all this earnest - albeit fascinating and fun - discussion and debate and parsing seems beside the point, which is, for me, I love a certain kind of old movie which is usually termed "film noir".

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Blue Dahlia:

The Blue Dahlia is merely a very disappointing crime film. It fails to convey any noir sensation to the viewer even though all the elements are present.

There is no 'paranoia', or 'sense of malevolent persecuting forces'. Everyone in this film seems in control of their own fate and responsible for their own lives. The principal characters do not suffer from neurosis, obsessions or psychological problems. The times or the society do not seem 'out of joint'. Instead, The Blue Dahlia is a mystery story, or who-dun-it. The principal suspects are even gathered into one room at the end for a revelation of the guilty party, just as in an Agatha Christie novel. 

Instead of the sweeping hysteria of film noir, the characters are simply quietly negotiating for the best deal they can get from a complex situation. They 'want a home', as Marshall's characters always do. If they got upset or obsessive, they wouldn't be on their toes for this goal.

Raymond Chandler wrote the original script. Literary critics, (and even Chandler himself) occasionally forgot that he is a literary mystery writer, (unlike most noir scriptwriters), and had a strong commitment to the paradigms of the mystery story in his work. He didn't give in to the genre-pressure of the day.

--Cribbed the above from a Dahlia review I found and admired. Says it better than I.

 

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11 minutes ago, scsu1975 said:

And she's from Italy!

Named Frageelay!

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Zoology of course, and other natural sciences are the fields which rely on cladistics the most. Definition: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cladistics

You can pick any animal in the taxonomic order and invariably --if you trace it back--you will see mentioned that at some point early naturalists were probably unclear as to what species, family, or order it was.

(Here's one of my favorites: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ungulate)

You can see that confusion usually developed because taxonomers were deceived by some visual component. They didn't have advanced tools or techniques. So whatever initial label they gave to a specimen was overturned by later zoologists who examined the evolutionary record instead. That's why we know there's no 'jackalopes' roaming the prairies.

Not just in natural history but practically any modern science or art you can think of (unless its totally something fru-fru like basket-weaving).

'Appearance' alone is never used for classification anymore. I'm frankly shocked to see it advanced as a theory; whether in cinema or anywhere else. Its an outdated paradigm for any purpose.

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On 11/27/2018 at 6:09 PM, cigarjoe said:

No MissW that is where you have it wrong,

"Charles O’Brien’s research indicates that the term “film noir” was used in French film reviews and newspaper articles in 1938 and 1939, to refer to French films such as Quai des brumes (1937) by Marcel Carné and La Bête humaine (1938) by Jean Renoir. O’Brien states that he found a “dozen explicit invocations of film noir” in the late 1930s, such as the paper L'Intransigeant, which called Quai des brumes a "film noir” and the newspaper Action française, in which a January 1938 film review by Francois Vinneuil called Le Puritain "un sujet classique: le film noir, plongeant dans la débauche et le crime" ("a classic subject: the film noir plunging in debauchery and crime"). O’Brien points out that the term “film noir” seems to have been first coined by the political right-wing and that may be because many – but not all – of the film noirs were from the poetic realist movement that was closely associated with the leftist Popular Front."

French critics Nino Frank and Jean-Pierre Chartier revived the term and applied it to American Films after WWII most of the films were about Crime, The Maltese Falcon, Laura, Double Indemnity, Murder, My Sweet, The Woman in the Window and one was about Addiction, The Lost Weekend

 

The Inclusion of The Lost Weekend, in the 40's, and the original coinage of Film Noir in the 1930s does refer to any kind of darkness.

It's not just any film. The film has to have enough of the darkness, along with enough of the visual Noir stylistics to tip it into noir. 

Think of Brick in Cat On A Hot Tin Roof when he explains to Maggie or Big Daddy why he drinks, He drinks until that switch clicks in his head.

For me it's like an addiction, you watch a film and if it's got enough of the darkness and enough of the visual stylistics it will click into Noir.

Obviously they don't click, tip, or "tune" for you then but they just might for somebody else. no? It's subjective.

There's a lot to address here.

Thanks for the quote from noir researcher Charles O'Brien. That's really interesting, that the term was used by French critics before those guys (also French) in the late 40s came up with it.

It's always interesting and useful to know this kind of stuff - the more knowledge we have, the better. It can only enhance our enjoyment of movies (or music, or whatever one is, uh, enjoying.) For me, enlightening though that info about those earlier French critics is, film noir will always be primarily those "gritty" black and white crime films from the 40s and 50s that the slightly later French cineastes were talking about. 

As for your comment about my point about how some are just substituting the word "darkness" for "noir", and that a film with "darkness" in it is not necessarily a noir, I still say just that -- That a lot of people who seem to be fascinated with this term "noir" and like to use it a lot, simply stick that word onto any story or movie that has any kind of "bad" characters or actions. 

You say, (to paraphrase you), "Well, yeah...if someone sees /feels/ tunes to the darkness in a movie, then for them, it's a noir".  I'm not sure I can go with that. I agree with that "tuning fork to noir" idea, but I guess only up to a point. And to say something like Shakespeare's Macbeth is a noir (uh, I guess a play not a film), and that the "label" , the idea of "Noir" just hadn't yet been conceived in 1606, is silly to me. Lots of stories, going back millennia, are about evil, evil doings and evil  people, alienation, mental illness, obsession, despair, and on and on. Film noir was not the first art form (or storytelling form, if "art" sounds pretentious) to explore themes around the darkness in the world and in human beings. 

But for me, it just feels extreme to apply that word "noir" to any story that was written (or told) before film was invented. For me, the very word "noir" applies to movies.

I feel as though I'm getting lost in my own verbiage, and am in danger of repeating myself (probably already have) so I'll leave it at that.

edit" "And to say something like Shakespeare's Macbeth is a noir..."   Not that you were the one who said that, C.J.

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