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Those interested in some extra-curricular excursions into Noir...film and literary, etc...should check out any number of websites dedicated to noir on the Internet.  Some of them are:

 

Panbell's Web Noir Blog:  http://www.bloggen.be/panbello/

 

Noircast.Net: All Things Noir by Clute and Edwards (yes, Richard Edwards, our instructor for this course): http://www.noircast.net/

 

International Noir Fiction: http://internationalnoir.blogspot.com/

 

AMC Filmsite on Noir: http://www.filmsite.org/filmnoir.html

 

(Should the direct link not works to the above, just left click on the link and select 'Go To"...one or the other should work.)

 

These are just a few of what's out there.  Dozens more will turn up on any search engine, and scores more can be found dealing mainly with hardboiled/detective/mystery fiction.  

 

 Happy noir-ing... 

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If you like Dark Passage then you'll like another Goodis novel, Street of No Return, which he wrote in 1954, about a skid-row once-famous crooner who's been scarred in more ways than one by his obsession with a femme fatale.     

 

Another personal favorite noir of mine is Solomon's Vineyard, by Jonathon Latimer (who wrote the screenplay for Nocturne, The Glass Key and The Big Clock, BTW).   I think it's one of the all-time great noir novels, and shares a lot of the sordid, taboo themes and subject matter that Chandler touches on in The Big Sleep (though you'd never know it from the film version)...and then some.  It was banned in the U.S. for about a decade because of it's subject matter.  

 

Think Sam Fuller filmed a version of Street of No Return in the late eighties.   I don't believe a film version of Solomon's Vineyard has been attempted.  Given it's explosive subject matter...****, religious cults, grave-robbing, kinky sex, and whorehouse violence, etc...that's probably understandable.

 

**** Looks like some of the subject matter is still explosive, seeing that the site just censored one of those listed.        

 

 

OK, "Street of No Return" goes on the book purchase list as well !!  I enjoy reading noir as much as watching.  Sometimes the "movie in your head" can be better !!

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Another note on reference books.  I picked up the Taschen book at the National Gallery of Art, and it's a nice combination of movie stills from their "Top 100" (including new-noir) along with some notes about the movies.  There's a couple of interesting essays in the opening, including a reprint of the famous one by Paul Schrader.  It has lot's of visual style examples.

 

http://www.taschen.com/pages/en/catalogue/film_music/all/43402/facts.film_noir_100_all_time_favorites.htm

 

Now, back to the novels and movies.  How about this quote from Raymond Chandler about James M. Cain?  It's a good thing that Chandler didn't read Jim Thompson !!

 

He is every kind of writer I detest, a faux naif, a Proust in greasy overalls, a dirty little boy with a piece of chalk and a board fence and nobody looking. Such people are the offal of literature, not because they write about dirty things, but because they do it in a dirty way. 

 

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A post in another thread reminded me that I never plugged Chester Himes in this thread. Himes did crime/detective fiction, starring characters named Coffin Ed Johnson and Gravedigger Jones. The stories are all set in Harlem and often revolve around race relations (I forget which book it is, but one of the plots prominently features the Back to Africa Movement).

 

Himes had an amazing life. His younger brother was blinded when he mixed some chemicals that exploded in his face and the nearest hospital was white only and would not treat him in their emergency room. Himes was arrested for armed robbery and served quite a few years in prison which is where he really started writing.

 

He was very briefly a screenwriter for Warner Brothers, but was fired by Jack Warner because he was black. In his midlife he moved to Paris and I believe that he stayed in Europe for the rest of his life.

 

My favorite of his is A Rage in Harlem.

 

I feel like no one really knows about Himes, but his books are really witty and do a great job of mixing together the detectives' banter with some seriously cynical and fatalistic plot arcs.

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A post in another thread reminded me that I never plugged Chester Himes in this thread. Himes did crime/detective fiction, starring characters named Coffin Ed Johnson and Gravedigger Jones. The stories are all set in Harlem and often revolve around race relations (I forget which book it is, but one of the plots prominently features the Back to Africa Movement).

 

Himes had an amazing life. His younger brother was blinded when he mixed some chemicals that exploded in his face and the nearest hospital was white only and would not treat him in their emergency room. Himes was arrested for armed robbery and served quite a few years in prison which is where he really started writing.

 

He was very briefly a screenwriter for Warner Brothers, but was fired by Jack Warner because he was black. In his midlife he moved to Paris and I believe that he stayed in Europe for the rest of his life.

 

My favorite of his is A Rage in Harlem.

 

I feel like no one really knows about Himes, but his books are really witty and do a great job of mixing together the detectives' banter with some seriously cynical and fatalistic plot arcs.

 

Chester Himes wrote a number of top-notch adventures featuring Coffin Ed and Grave Digger Jones ---often more dangerous than the criminals they pursue --- and they're often very underrated.   Cotton Comes to Harlem is the one you're probably thinking of involving a Back-To-Africa movement, among other things.    I also like A Rage in Harlem, as you noted, and Blind Man With A Pistol.     

 

They're fun, raucous, well-written, and Himes has a special flair for very sudden and very explosive acts of violence that are also tinged with humor that's somewhat unique in the genre.  

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OK, "Street of No Return" goes on the book purchase list as well !!  I enjoy reading noir as much as watching.  Sometimes the "movie in your head" can be better !!

 

 

There's a Library of America edition of Goodis that includes five of his novels: Dark Passage, Nightfall, The Burglar, The Moon in the Gutter, and Street of No Return.    

 

Besides Latimer's Solomon's Vineyard, which I also mentioned, I'd also recommend Paul Cain's Fast One.   Both are well-worth a read, and are about as hardboiled as hardboiled gets.     

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Those interested in some extra-curricular excursions into Noir...film and literary, etc...should check out any number of websites dedicated to noir on the Internet.  Some of them are:

 

Panbell's Web Noir Blog:  http://www.bloggen.be/panbello/

 

Noircast.Net: All Things Noir by Clute and Edwards (yes, Richard Edwards, our instructor for this course): http://www.noircast.net/

 

International Noir Fiction: http://internationalnoir.blogspot.com/

 

AMC Filmsite on Noir: http://www.filmsite.org/filmnoir.html

 

(Should the direct link not works to the above, just left click on the link and select 'Go To"...one or the other should work.)

 

These are just a few of what's out there.  Dozens more will turn up on any search engine, and scores more can be found dealing mainly with hardboiled/detective/mystery fiction.  

 

 Happy noir-ing... 

Another great one from down under is http://www.filmsnoir.net

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Ross McDonald's Lew Archer novels are another relatively untapped source of late classic hard boiled PI novels spanning from 1949 to 1976, only two The Drowning Pool based on the novel by the same name and Harper (based on I think "The Moving Target"), both staring Paul Newman made it to the screen, that makes 16 more that are out there un mined.

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Chester Himes wrote a number of top-notch adventures featuring Coffin Ed and Grave Digger Jones ---often more dangerous than the criminals they pursue --- and they're often very underrated.

 

Agreed--I think that his protagonists have some of that anti-hero crackle to them, and it really elevates the stories.

 

@CigarJoe: Agreed on the Ross MacDonald, even though I've only read one or two of his.

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Walter Mosely who wrote Devil In A Blue Dress has got quite a few books out also begging to be made into Noirs.

 

Heck yes. I recently enjoyed Fear Itself, which is the second book in the Fearless Jones trilogy.

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More Authors:

 

Horace McCoy a few of his books were made into films there may be more 

 

Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye - classic era Noir

They Shoot Horses Don't They - a great wide screen Neo Noir, I think it would have been even better if it had been shot in B&W and Academy Ratio.

 

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What about Erle Stanley Gardner? I'm not sure if he's exactly film noir, but he fits in the detective genre. I remember being surprised when I first read him, because the book versions of Perry Mason, Paul Drake, and Della are pretty different from the TV show. In the book, Perry and Paul are more...what's the word I want? shady? morally ambiguous? where in the TV show, they are careful to skate along that thin line, but always manage to stay within the law.

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