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Sepiatone

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

299 posts in this topic

3 minutes ago, TopBilled said:

This is the view I have the biggest problem with, because I feel it's narrow-minded to limit a discussion of noir to the postwar era. Noir was happening before the war, during the war and has been in evidence long after the war.

The criminal act that is explored is most always murder. Noir=murder, I don't know how many times I have to say it before it finally sinks in.

That's the traditional take but of course we can come up with plenty of examples both before and after that arbitrary time frame.

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5 minutes ago, cigarjoe said:

Obviously have no idea what we are trying to convey.

Oh, no? I see people spending a lot of time over analyzing and coming to subjective conclusions about whether some films are noir derivative so they can come up with new labels for them.

I know you take this stuff very seriously, cigarjoe, so you're not likely to see the humour in my posts here.

Bottom line: What the heck does it matter if a film qualifies as some kind of noir or not? If that's what you want to spend your time doing then go knock yourself out but to me, quite frankly, it's a nothing burger obsession.

Why should I care if The Asphalt Jungle is a hard boiled crime drama or a noir? It's the qualify of the film that matters, not the label on it.

 

 

Hey, here's another one for The Wolf Man: Hirsute Noir.

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3 minutes ago, TomJH said:

Oh, no? I see people spending a lot of time over analyzing and coming to subjective conclusions about whether some films are noir derivative so they can come up with new labels for them.

I know you take this stuff very seriously, cigarjoe, so you're not likely to see the humour in my posts here.

Bottom line: What the heck does it matter if a film qualifies as some kind of noir or not? If that's what you want to spend your time doing then go knock yourself out but to me, quite frankly, it's a nothing burger obsession.

Why should I care if The Asphalt Jungle is a hard boiled crime drama or a noir? It's the qualify of the film that matters, not the label on it.

 

 

Hey, here's another one for The Wolf Man: Hirsute Noir.

Just be aware of the fact that some of this take it seriously because it's a whole new way of looking at the Noir phenomena, looking at it stylistically you can see it doesn't fit in any pigeon hole it's still around in the films that "tune" noir. It explains why there is so much controversy on what is or isn't Noir.

Just throwing out ridiculous titles and calling them Noir because you think we are joking make you look foolish to me, but if that's what you want to do have at it. 

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If we broaden our understanding of noir, we grow as students of film. And broaden our understanding of how Hollywood cinema works.

Also we can expand our knowledge and understanding of other cinematic styles. Take comedy. We can find comedic elements across genres too. It's not just the bleak and the grim that occurs across genres-- there is also lightness and satire that occurs as well.

There is no such thing as one specific style in Hollywood filmmaking. All commercial films released by Hollywood combine multiple styles. These styles are layered on to the narratives of each genre in varying degrees. The films differ from one another but they also blend into one another, because noir and blanc exist in all of them.

I think genres are actually defined by their relationship to noir and blanc. Screwball comedy is the most blanc. Horror is the most noir. Everything else, including the various genre hybrids, falls within the spectrum between these two.

A director like Alfred Hitchcock demonstrated brilliance because he was able to make murder funny (the silliness of a dead body turning up in THE TROUBLE WITH HARRY or the hilariously grotesque necktie killing in FRENZY). He also took funny things like the humorous banter between a troubled couple in MR. AND MRS. SMITH and presented it as something deadly serious when the couple lost its ability laugh. So in his cinematic universe noir becomes blanc, and blanc becomes noir. They were reversible concepts to Hitch.

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5 minutes ago, cigarjoe said:

Just be aware of the fact that some of this take it seriously because it's a whole new way of looking at the Noir phenomena, looking at it stylistically you can see it doesn't fit in any pigeon hole it's still around in the films that "tune" noir. It explains why there is so much controversy on what is or isn't Noir.

Just throwing out ridiculous titles and calling them Noir because you think we are joking make you look foolish to me, but if that's what you want to do have at it. 

What I'm pointing out by those titles, or trying to, is how some people take this "it's a noir, it's not a noir, it's a kinda noir" stuff way too seriously. They're so wrapped up in the subject that they discuss it as it's something profoundly IMPORTANT.

And, to me, it's not.

 

The Mummy: Gauze Wrapped Noir.

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25 minutes ago, TopBilled said:

I think genres are actually defined by their relationship to noir and blanc. Screwball comedy is the most blanc. Horror is the most noir. Everything else, including the various genre hybrids, falls within the spectrum between these two.

Exactly, but I'd go further Id agree that Screwball comedy is the most blanc but I'd say the truly ultimate noir's are beyond Horror and are probably Snuff films and Porno.

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6 minutes ago, cigarjoe said:

Exactly, but I'd go further Id agree that Screwball comedy is the most blanc but I'd say the truly ultimate noir's are beyond Horror and are probably Snuff films and Porno.

Yes, I think you're right. Of course I was referring to mainstream Hollywood cinema. But yeah, there are more extreme examples of noir outside the mainstream.

I made up the term film blanc but why not-- if we're talking about noir, then we have to be able to compare it to whatever the complete opposite style would be. 

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21 minutes ago, TomJH said:

What I'm pointing out by those titles, or trying to, is how some people take this "it's a noir, it's not a noir, it's a kinda noir" stuff way too seriously. They're so wrapped up in the subject that they discuss it as it's something profoundly IMPORTANT.

And, to me, it's not.

 

The Mummy: Gauze Wrapped Noir.

It's not so much important to me as it is interesting. It's like a surfer catching a wave and riding it out. I'm seeing Noir for what it actually is and I'm riding the films that "tune" Noir.

For instance we (in another thread) mentioned Confidence Girl (1952) to me its a borderline film on the cusp of Noir. 

It starts off as a typical police procedural with a brief introductory spiel by a Los Angeles police official warning against the confidence game, then proceeds to tell the case of Mary Webb (Brooke) and her association with Roger Kingsley (Conway).

This was one intricately plotted film that starts off with a nice twist following Webb and her associates through various cons, culminating in an elaborate phony mentalist nightclub act. Now if the film had ended like the similar Nightmare Alley downbeat ending I'd call it a Noir, but it has a more feel good ending so its on that cusp.
 

 

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8 minutes ago, cigarjoe said:

It's not so much important to me as it is interesting. For instance we (in another thread) mentioned Confidence Girl (1952) to me its a borderline film on the cusp of Noir. 

It starts off as a typical police procedural with a brief introductory spiel by a Los Angeles police official warning against the confidence game, then proceeds to tell the case of Mary Webb (Brooke) and her association with Roger Kingsley (Conway).

This was one intricately plotted film that starts off with a nice twist following Webb and her associates through various cons, culminating in an elaborate phony mentalist nightclub act. Now if the film had ended like the similar Nightmare Alley I'd call it a Noir, but it has a more feel good ending so its on that cusp.

If a film noir has a happy ending with satisfactory closure for the main characters (like CONFIDENCE GIRL or PITFALL does) then I'd say it goes blanc at the end. Especially if there's a bit of merriment and comic relief in the last scene.

A film like THE SECRET FURY (1950) travels in a reverse direction. It starts with Claudette Colbert's happy wedding to Robert Ryan then she is suddenly plunged into a nightmare. So that story goes from blanc to noir very quickly.

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Just now, TopBilled said:

If a film noir has a happy ending with satisfactory closure for the main characters (like CONFIDENCE GIRL or PITFALL does) then I'd say it goes blanc at the end.

A film like THE SECRET FURY (1950) travels in a reverse direction. It starts with Claudette Colbert's happy marriage to Robert Ryan and then she is suddenly plunged into a nightmare. So that story goes from blanc to noir very quickly.

So the question is then sometimes in the source material, did the studio change the original ending for Confidence Girl or not. I can definitely say that novel's story leading up to the end of Nightmare Alley is far worse than what we see in the film

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19 minutes ago, cigarjoe said:

It's not so much important to me as it is interesting.

 

We all have our preferences in film, cigarjoe, and please don't see any of my comments as criticizing your own preference, especially since some of my own favourite films are also classified as noir or noirish.

But it seems that there is endless discussion about this subject on these boards, and sometimes I want to poke a little hole in all that talk.

It will still go on - endlessly anyway, I know.

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13 minutes ago, cigarjoe said:

So the question is then sometimes in the source material, did the studio change the original ending for Confidence Girl or not. I can definitely say that novel's story leading up to the end of Nightmare Alley is far worse than what we see in the film

Probably the endings were softened if the original versions did not test well with preview audiences.

Some of these practices carried over to TV crime dramas. Especially episodes of Quinn Martin's shows. The Streets of San Francisco usually ended with some humorous thing between Karl Malden & Michael Douglas; episodes of Barnaby Jones ended with Barnaby and Betty's young associate J.R. saying something silly; and episodes of Cannon ended with William Conrad stuffing his face with a bunch of food. It was meant to be a light comic moment to give the audience a laugh or something to smile about after a harrowing murder plot had just played out on screen.

These were lessons that had been learned by earlier filmmakers. You couldn't end on too grim a note, or else word would get out the story was too depressing to enjoy.

However this trend reversed itself in the 1980s, because a show like Hunter which contained a lot of noir elements, sometimes ended on a very dark note. One memorable episode of Hunter from the fifth season has a young boy admit he murdered his rich parents because they were too busy making money and didn't love him enough. We get the confession from the kid and the camera cuts to Fred Dryer and Stepfanie Kramer for their reactions and the story just ends. 

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27 minutes ago, cigarjoe said:

It's not so much important to me as it is interesting. It's like a surfer catching a wave and riding it out. I'm seeing Noir for what it actually is and I'm riding the films that "tune" Noir.

For instance we (in another thread) mentioned Confidence Girl (1952) to me its a borderline film on the cusp of Noir. 

It starts off as a typical police procedural with a brief introductory spiel by a Los Angeles police official warning against the confidence game, then proceeds to tell the case of Mary Webb (Brooke) and her association with Roger Kingsley (Conway).

This was one intricately plotted film that starts off with a nice twist following Webb and her associates through various cons, culminating in an elaborate phony mentalist nightclub act. Now if the film had ended like the similar Nightmare Alley downbeat ending I'd call it a Noir, but it has a more feel good ending so its on that cusp.
 

 

Actually, even Nightmare Alley had a fake happy ending in the final seconds. But I know what you mean about the downbeat feel it had.

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I have no problem analyzing (or even over analyzing), films because frankly, isn't that what this board is for ? But, I don't care for the need to fit every film into some tight little box. I feel the same way about music. I look at some of the common aspects of noir. Not some concrete set of rules that must be followed. They already had a code for that.

One I notice is there is normally not a clearly defined "good guy" and "bad guy" in the story. I guess this goes back to the silents when character development had to be clear. And it continued into the talkies. But, once the forties can along, we got to see shades of gray. Films where everyone is bad in some way, just some less bad than others.

Think about films where its gang vs. gang. They both are criminal organizations, both bad. But, by developing the characters, you get to care about them to some extent. Or the street hustlers, con men and other seedy characters that make up some of our favorite noirs.

There probably are some rules to what is noir. And every film can't be noir. But, some are. And the debate will go on and on. And throughout the process some cool films will be mentioned that I will hunt down and see.  :)

 

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My favorite Pinot Noir Noir:

large_tojQbn3H4UcM8lkuns1E7CnLv8D.jpg

(...and yeah, even WITH all that f*****k Merlot Noir in it)

 

 

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5 hours ago, TopBilled said:

But wanting to kill any living thing, even if presented humorously, is still black-hearted

The Swarm needs killing, but it's not noirish.  Ditto The Andromeda Strain.

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8 minutes ago, Fedya said:

The Swarm needs killing, but it's not noirish.  Ditto The Andromeda Strain.

Pretty much every war movie has killing in it too. Same for most sci fi and horror movies.

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19 minutes ago, Fedya said:

...but it's not noirish.  Ditto The Andromeda Strain.

Oh, I dunno about that, Fedya.

Ya see, I've heard rumors that most folks who work at the C.D.C. there in Atlanta(btw, just a stone's throw from the TCM studios) categorize this flick as a "Noir".

(...although George who works in the lab there is still a holdout about this whole thing) 

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1 hour ago, GGGGerald said:

I have no problem analyzing (or even over analyzing), films because frankly, isn't that what this board is for ? But, I don't care for the need to fit every film into some tight little box. I feel the same way about music. I look at some of the common aspects of noir. Not some concrete set of rules that must be followed. They already had a code for that.

One I notice is there is normally not a clearly defined "good guy" and "bad guy" in the story. I guess this goes back to the silents when character development had to be clear. And it continued into the talkies. But, once the forties can along, we got to see shades of gray. Films where everyone is bad in some way, just some less bad than others.

Think about films where its gang vs. gang. They both are criminal organizations, both bad. But, by developing the characters, you get to care about them to some extent. Or the street hustlers, con men and other seedy characters that make up some of our favorite noirs.

There probably are some rules to what is noir. And every film can't be noir. But, some are. And the debate will go on and on. And throughout the process some cool films will be mentioned that I will hunt down and see.  :)

I don't think there need to be "rules" per se. It should be a flexible definition. It's more than saying a film is a noir or isn't a noir. Instead, it's saying Film X has noir elements, or Film X has comedic elements in it.

Do we say every film is a comedy? No, because not every film is a comedy. But many films that are not outright comedies still contain comedic elements. Just like many films have noir elements.

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1 hour ago, Gershwin fan said:

Pretty much every war movie has killing in it too. Same for most sci fi and horror movies.

Obviously war (the Second World War) increased the amount of noir elements in films during the 1940s. That's probably because of all the killing, all the death. Allied soldiers had gone off and committed murder in the name of patriotism and anti-Nazism. Murder was on everyone's mind after Victory had been declared. Outwardly they were celebrating but inwardly they knew they had been reduced to taking lives, a lot of lives.

We see the toll it takes on the individual in a film like THE BLUE DAHLIA, where we have men (Alan Ladd, William Bendix, Hugh Beaumont) returning home from the war. They have to deal with the psychological scars of what they experienced. They experienced mass murder.

A friend of mine who knew Audie Murphy said he tried to joke about it (though he obviously suffered PTSD). According to her, he used to say his tombstone should read: "I killed how many Germans?!" What was it-- hundreds, thousands? Even he didn't really know. Life had become so meaningless as a killing machine for Uncle Sam. He was lauded as a hero, lauded for having committed as much homicide as he possibly could.

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14 minutes ago, TopBilled said:

I don't think there need to be "rules" per se. It should be a flexible definition. It's more than saying a film is a noir or isn't a noir. Instead, it's saying Film X has noir elements, or Film X has comedic elements in it.

Do we say every film is a comedy? No, because not every film is a comedy. But many films that are not outright comedies still contain comedic elements. Just like many films have noir elements.

You do have a point there. When AFI came up with their list of greatest comedies, I have to ask myself if many of the films on the list were actually comedies.

Noir blurs the lines a bit though. Noir to me, isn't so much a genre as how a genre is presented. Noir is definitely a style. Sure there can be rules, just like architecture or many other arts. But, I think a movie is or isn't. Not to try to shoehorn a film into a genre simply because of one scene or one aspect.

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1 hour ago, Fedya said:

The Swarm needs killing, but it's not noirish.  Ditto The Andromeda Strain.

I think THE SWARM is an allegory. That's another discussion entirely.

I haven't seen THE ANDROMEDA STRAIN or read the book so I can't comment on that story.

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31 minutes ago, TopBilled said:

Obviously war (the Second World War) increased the amount of noir elements in films during the 1940s. That's probably because of all the killing, all the death. Allied soldiers had gone off and committed murder in the name of patriotism and anti-Nazism. Murder was on everyone's mind after Victory had been declared. Outwardly they were celebrating but inwardly they knew they had been reduced to taking lives, a lot of lives.

We see the toll it takes on the individual in a film like THE BLUE DAHLIA, where we have men (Alan Ladd, William Bendix, Hugh Beaumont) returning home from the war. They have to deal with the psychological scars of what they experienced. They experienced mass murder.

A friend of mine who knew Audie Murphy said he tried to joke about it (though he obviously suffered PTSD). According to her, he used to say his tombstone should read: "I killed how many Germans?!" What was it-- hundreds, thousands? Even he didn't really know. Life had become so meaningless as a killing machine for Uncle Sam. He was lauded as a hero, lauded for having committed as much homicide as he possibly could.

Yeah, I get WWII's relation to noir and how the genre came about. I do disagree that noir is about murder though. I think the important part of the genre is the cinematography and use of shadows and morally ambiguous characters. From what I've seen, that is the most important way of defining the genre than just the murders.

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14 hours ago, Sepiatone said:

I'll make this quick( since I'm behind my schedule )  but after viewing my DVD of '51's "Scrooge"( or "A Christmas Carol") I had time to spare and took in some of the "features".  And in one of them, saw where the movie was referred to as "A Christmas Noir."

Well, I never thought of the movie in that term, but it does seem to fit.  ;) 

Sounds like some film student didn't quite have a grasp of the N-word, and thought it referred to "Moody B/W cinematography with lots of shadows".  And yes, credit where it's due, the Sim Scrooge certainly has THAT.

...But, as two pages of discussion have pointed out, that's not necessarily what the film term means.

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1 hour ago, TopBilled said:

I think THE SWARM is an allegory.

Funny, but I always thought of The Swarm as more of a paycheck for a lot of former A-list actors?!!!

(...although I suppose one COULD call that sort'a thing as a kind of an "allegory" TOO, huh!)

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