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Sepiatone

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

299 posts in this topic

27 minutes ago, Sgt_Markoff said:

To what can we liken this urge to 'tag everything downbeat as noir' to?

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

Anyhow,  this is why I view noir as a style and just mention the noir elements I find in a film.

 

 

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8 hours ago, Sepiatone said:

And "Noir Alley" host Muller claims it to be a "lifestyle" because he said his FATHER LIVED it!  :rolleyes:  So I can ony come to one conclusion...

 

That might be wishful thinking on Muller's part about his father since it is certainly not reflected in his books as hand me down incidents from dad's so-called noirish life. Muller's books should be titled something more like The Bobbsey Twins Meet Jersey Joe Walcott or Little Men Meet Little Women Dames in the Dark.

James M. Cain was a noirish writer. Muller ain't, he's just a mild imitation of authentic noir writing.

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Say, I'm sorry if my last remark sounded a bit bull-headed. Umbrageous, even. Not intended. Just surly today I guess.

But I wonder if we really cant come up with any other reasonable system for sorting things out, if that is indeed our urge? The publishing industry has done it. Look at all the acronyms they devised like HEA ('happily ever after') vs HFN ('happy for now'). And tons more besides.

Regardless of what we think of some individual hybrid-genre films; dashing about willy-nilly pasting new hybrid labels higgeldy-piggedly on film history seems to me only bound to cause more confusion. Its like making a stockroom inventory and then tossing everything on the floor only to inventory it all over again.

Think about it: will anyone ever in any conversation ever, really ever use the term 'reflexive noir'?

 

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2 hours ago, GordonCole said:

That might be wishful thinking on Muller's part about his father since it is certainly not reflected in his books as hand me down incidents from dad's so-called noirish life. Muller's books should be titled something more like The Bobbsey Twins Meet Jersey Joe Walcott or Little Men Meet Little Women Dames in the Dark.

James M. Cain was a noirish writer. Muller ain't, he's just a mild imitation of authentic noir writing.

I wonder if part of your problem with Eddie Muller is that you seem to take everything he says seriously, when I believe that often his comments are what used to be called tongue-in-cheek.

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22 minutes ago, Sgt_Markoff said:

Say, I'm sorry if my last remark sounded a bit bull-headed. Umbrageous, even. Not intended. Just surly today I guess.

But I wonder if we really cant come up with any other reasonable system for sorting things out, if that is indeed our urge? The publishing industry has done it. Look at all the acronyms they devised like HEA ('happily ever after') vs HFN ('happy for now'). And tons more besides. ...

 

 

Would that be the publishing industry, or the on-line publishing industry?

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Would that be the publishing industry, or the on-line publishing industry?

I'll be dad-blamed if I know. I stay out of those aisles in Barnes & Noble*. As for 'on-line', these acronyms chase me around the room. Can't get away from 'em no matter what I do.

:D

*not that Barnes & Noble is long for this world anyway

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30 minutes ago, Sgt_Markoff said:

Say, I'm sorry if my last remark sounded a bit bull-headed. Umbrageous, even. Not intended. Just surly today I guess.

But I wonder if we really cant come up with any other reasonable system for sorting things out, if that is indeed our urge? The publishing industry has done it. Look at all the acronyms they devised like HEA ('happily ever after') vs HFN ('happy for now'). And tons more besides.

Regardless of what we think of some individual hybrid-genre films; dashing about willy-nilly pasting new hybrid labels higgeldy-piggedly on film history seems to me only bound to cause more confusion. Its like making a stockroom inventory and then tossing everything on the floor only to inventory it all over again.

Think about it: will anyone ever in any conversation ever, really ever use the term 'reflexive noir'?

 

No problem.   If the topic is 'what is a 'noir' film' then recall that I supplied specific criteria (elements),  from the Ball State course that TCM was associated with their The Summer of Darkness series.   The students there even provided a scoring model;  points assigned to each elements and then 'scored' individual films based on those elements.    The higher the 'score' the more 'noir' a film was.    Now as we discussed this was way too academic for my taste,  but I found reading the per-film scoring post interesting.   Such a method does add a level of objectivity to any discussion (e.g. I find the "it is ALL subjective" POV and therefore "whatever one thinks is X is X", as being contrary to any fruitful discussion).

That being said this is why I try to avoid saying a film is 'noir' or not'.    Instead I just mentally 'score' a film based on what I see as the noir elements it offers.    But 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).

 

 

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What a mess.... sigh...anyway, sagacious and well-tempered remarks from you Jazz Man. Thanks.

Its only Wednesday right? Too long between now and my next scheduled therapeutic regimen as Uncle Joe pointed out...too long, Oh lord...too long...

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6 minutes ago, Sgt_Markoff said:

What a mess.... sigh...anyway, sagacious and well-tempered remarks from you Jazz Man. Thanks.

Its only Wednesday right? Too long between now and my next scheduled therapeutic regimen as Uncle Joe pointed out...too long, Oh lord...too long...

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).

 

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15 minutes ago, jamesjazzguitar said:

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 have the First Edition of The Film Noir Encyclopedia by Alain Silver and Elizabeth M. Ward and the latest edition published in 2010, there are quite a bit of additions to the original list, plus about 140 Neo Noirs listed. It's evolving....

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6 minutes ago, cigarjoe said:

I have the First Edition of The Film Noir Encyclopedia by Alain Silver and Elizabeth M. Ward and the latest edition published in 2010, there are quite a bit of additions to the original list, plus about 140 Neo Noirs listed. It's evolving....

I purchased mine over 15 years ago (at Larry Edmunds bookstore on Hollywood boulevard,  which is THE bookstore for American studio-era movie 'stuff'),  and the binding is falling apart.    I'll have to go there to purchase the latest edition (as well as get more photos of my favorite femme fatales).

    

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 who cares how it is 'labeled',  I just know that I like it.

Tentatively yes, but as for myself: I'd almost rather say, "hey here's this powerful and horrible sensation I'm feeling in my GUT!"

And start from there. Start asking: "what produces this unique sensation?!"

I believe the answer is that only pure noir is capable of doing that.

Not "noir+chiffon dust ruffles" and not "noir+truffle-oil" and not "noir+Mexican 7 layer dip".

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44 minutes ago, jamesjazzguitar said:

I purchased mine over 15 years ago (at Larry Edmunds bookstore on Hollywood boulevard,  which is THE bookstore for American studio-era movie 'stuff'),  and the binding is falling apart.    I'll have to go there to purchase the latest edition (as well as get more photos of my favorite femme fatales).

    

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.

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3 minutes ago, Sgt_Markoff said:

Tentatively yes, but as for myself: I'd almost rather say, "hey here's this powerful and horrible sensation I'm feeling in my GUT!"

And start from there. Start asking: "what produces this unique sensation?!"

I believe the answer is that only pure noir is capable of doing that.

Not "noir+chiffon dust ruffles" and not "noir+truffle-oil" and not "noir+Mexican 7 layer dip".

I won't waste a minute reading the above.....

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Another reason why I agree that a 'checklist' approach is unworkable is because of films like 'The Blue Dahlia'.

Has this title ever been discussed 'round these parts? Pretty interesting case.

Bluedahlia.jpg

On the face of it, Dahlia possesses everything a noir should possess to confidently designate it a noir. Right?

1946, Raymond Chandler screenplay, dark photography, well-known noir players, ex-servicemen...why does it fail the "gut" test? Why does it not feel like noir at all?

Its a noir on 'paper', a noir 'blueprint'... but not a noir in fact. Why?

Its a failed noir only if you treat noir as 'ornamental' rather than 'structural'. That's the gross error that haunts this whole forum like a bad cold.

Ironically, I'd bet that even the most liberal proponent of all these hybrid-noir genre labels would probably be unwilling to label this textbook noir a noir. (Which shows up the falsehood inherent in that "noir-style" method).

Surprisingly, Dahlia shows that a "by-the-book noir" can still be less-than-the-sum-of-its-parts, if you break out all the parts and separate them.

You don't find noir throbbing in the chest cavity after you break open the ribcage, (oh my goodness, snakes alive, what's going on? Where is it? You "check list" guys told us this was the noir recipe, were you lying to us?)

So what happens? This kind of thing --this abject failure of the checklist model--probably makes some folks abandon faith in noir as a unique creature at all.

It leads to thinking that it is after all, just a 'kit of parts'. Parts which turn up like Easter Eggs in this-film-or-that-film, a will-o'-the-wisp phenomenon that might happen, half-happen, or fail to happen any time and anyplace depending on wholly mysterious causes; in ghostly fashion.

All of this backpedaling, instead of just admitting that the circumstances under which noir emerged are unrepeatable. A one-time thing. Born of necessity. Born from the true mother of invention.

That notion just doesn't seem to fit the national urge to dissect, diagram, and anatomize. Americans love modularity and interchangeability. Things like Colt pistols and Mr. Goodwrench. One size fits all. :(

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But sticking your head in a keg of whiskey sure does.....

Or a bunch of really glossy but really bad coffee-table books? ^_^

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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.

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3 hours ago, Sgt_Markoff said:

Another reason why I agree that a 'checklist' approach is unworkable is because of films like 'The Blue Dahlia'.

Has this title ever been discussed 'round these parts? Pretty interesting case.

Bluedahlia.jpg

On the face of it, Dahlia possesses everything a noir should possess to confidently designate it a noir. Right?

1946, Raymond Chandler screenplay, dark photography, well-known noir players, ex-servicemen...why does it fail the "gut" test? Why does it not feel like noir at all?

Its a noir on 'paper', a noir 'blueprint'... but not a noir in fact. Why?

Its a failed noir only if you treat noir as 'ornamental' rather than 'structural'. That's the gross error that haunts this whole forum like a bad cold.

Ironically, I'd bet that even the most liberal proponent of all these hybrid-noir genre labels would probably be unwilling to label this textbook noir a noir. (Which shows up the falsehood inherent in that "noir-style" method).

Surprisingly, Dahlia shows that a "by-the-book noir" can still be less-than-the-sum-of-its-parts, if you break out all the parts and separate them.

You don't find noir throbbing in the chest cavity after you break open the ribcage, (oh my goodness, snakes alive, what's going on? Where is it? You "check list" guys told us this was the noir recipe, were you lying to us?)

So what happens? This kind of thing --this abject failure of the checklist model--probably makes some folks abandon faith in noir as a unique creature at all.

It leads to thinking that it is after all, just a 'kit of parts'. Parts which turn up like Easter Eggs in this-film-or-that-film, a will-o'-the-wisp phenomenon that might happen, half-happen, or fail to happen any time and anyplace depending on wholly mysterious causes; in ghostly fashion.

All of this backpedaling, instead of just admitting that the circumstances under which noir emerged are unrepeatable. A one-time thing. Born of necessity. Born from the true mother of invention.

That notion just doesn't seem to fit the national urge to dissect, diagram, and anatomize. Americans love modularity and interchangeability. Things like Colt pistols and Mr. Goodwrench. One size fits all. :(

You say that you don't regard The Blue Dahlia as a true noir, (despite its having all the requisite "ingredients"), but you don't say why. 

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4 hours ago, jamesjazzguitar said:

No problem.   If the topic is 'what is a 'noir' film' then ...

 

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?

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5 hours ago, misswonderly3 said:

You say that you don't regard The Blue Dahlia as a true noir, (despite its having all the requisite "ingredients"), but you don't say why. 

Read his post I copied from Summer Of Darkness just above yours, where Sarg tells us.....

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5 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, it's my favorite Scrooge too. It's got it's noir-ish elements but I wouldn't call it a Noir, same as I wouldn't call It's A Wonderful Life a Noir with it's noir-ish Potterville -if George wasn't born) sequence a Noir. 

However if all the Christmas stories you've ever watched were of the Frosty the Snowman and Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer type stuff it would probably look pretty dark and scary by comparison with its dark dreary visuals and its flashbacks and flashforwards.

Now Bad Santa (2003) might probably swing Noir, but I'd have to revisit it with my Noirdar turned on. :D

 

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As usual, the conversation is getting kind of snarky. It always does when people try to put most anything into categories-there are always opinions as to whether something fits or doesn't. THEN people try coming up with hybrid type categories, just to lump things together (or separate them)

Movies & music seem to be the two subjects you really can't categorize. For example: how would you categorize the Eagles? "album oriented rock" "pop rock" "country rock" "stoner rock"? Crazy-it's just music and you can call it any of those things to help describe it to someone unfamiliar with them.

So let's just call it film noir if it has even some of classic noir elements.

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32 minutes ago, TikiSoo said:

So let's just call it film noir if it has even some of classic noir elements.

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

I'm not calling any film a film noir if it even has some classic noir elements (though even defining classic noir is nebulous BTW).

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. 

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