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TV's Hawaii Five-O is very noir

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I know this is a classic film board but I have been watching the Jack Lord version of Hawaii Five-O on Netflix recently. Some of these crime tales are very dark and disturbing (and make for addictive viewing). I also think the 2010 reboot has very sinister tones.

 

So we can see classic noir's influence extend way beyond the 1940s and 1950s, on into the 70s and into the present with these types of programs.

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Hawaii Five-0 certainly had some dark and disturbing episodes, but i have a hard time qualifying it as film noir.  I can see where you're coming from, but there are better candidates for noir tv shows. 

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Hawaii Five-0 certainly had some dark and disturbing episodes, but i have a hard time qualifying it as film noir.  I can see where you're coming from, but there are better candidates for noir tv shows. 

Maybe so. Feel free to mention other ones. For instance, I think some of the episodes of The Streets of San Francisco and Barnaby Jones qualify as noir, too. But Hawaii Five-O sort of caught my attention in this regard, because I had just watched a season 11 episode where Danny (James MacArthur) is brainwashed to stop a criminal investigation and we see all kinds of things going on with a femme fatale who has him programmed to obey her every command. It's a fascinating episode, and its roots are obviously in the kinds of post-war films we have been discussing in this forum.

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I enjoy this topic. TV shows like The Streets of San Francisco, Barnaby Jones, Cannon and Hawaii-Five O are probably my first exposure to crime drama. And many featured the actors we are seeing in the classic Hollywood films noir.

 

In an interesting way in my own life, I was exposed to these shows before I saw the iconic black and white films from the 1940s and 1950s, mostly starting when I was in college. I can still remember seeing films like Double Indemnity, Touch of Evil, Sunset Blvd, and The Maltese Falcon for the first time around when I was 18 and being astonished by these films. They definitely motivated me to continue my studies of film, and I eventually pursued a PhD in Film Studies. 

 

So I think these 70s crime shows exert an interesting influence on how many of us first encounter the noir sensibility and substance in a later TV manifestation before seeing those earlier films that are their touchstones. 

 

 

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Perry Mason is a noir(ish) TV show. Filmed a lot of night scenes, lots of shadows, dark subject matter, and a tough private-eye (Paul Drake).

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I enjoy this topic. TV shows like The Streets of San Francisco, Barnaby Jones, Cannon and Hawaii-Five O are probably my first exposure to crime drama. And many featured the actors we are seeing in the classic Hollywood films noir.

 

In an interesting way in my own life, I was exposed to these shows before I saw the iconic black and white films from the 1940s and 1950s, mostly starting when I was in college. I can still remember seeing films like Double Indemnity, Touch of Evil, Sunset Blvd, and The Maltese Falcon for the first time around when I was 18 and being astonished by these films. They definitely motivated me to continue my studies of film, and I eventually pursued a PhD in Film Studies. 

 

So I think these 70s crime shows exert an interesting influence on how many of us first encounter the noir sensibility and substance in a later TV manifestation before seeing those earlier films that are their touchstones. 

Obviously, producers like Quinn Martin and Leonard Freeman were fans of the genre and the stories they told weekly on television owe a huge debt to noir. 

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i think the shows that had the biggest impacts on me were THE TWILIGHT ZONE and KOLCHAK: THE NIGHT STALKER

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After a few seasons Hawaii 5-O also had quite a few 'soldiers returning from war' episodes that seem pretty noir to me. 

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After a few seasons Hawaii 5-O also had quite a few 'soldiers returning from war' episodes that seem pretty noir to me. 

Yes, and at that point, the mid-70s, the soldiers could have been older generation WWII and Korean War vets, or else younger men back from 'Nam.

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i think the shows that had the biggest impacts on me were THE TWILIGHT ZONE and KOLCHAK: THE NIGHT STALKER

 

Yes, I also love these shows growing up. And Darren McGavin (Kolchak) would have fit right into our noir character lineup in the 1940s and 1950s. Like we read about Bogart's face, McGavin also couldn't quite hide that anxiety that always seemed to be gnawing at him. Thanks for reminding me. 

 

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Great topic! I grew up watching the old Perry Mason reruns on TV, that's probably why I'm a fan of classic TV & movies today. :-)

 

As far as other noir-inspired TV shows, one of my favorites is Peter Gunn. It's a pretty good example of the classic private eye, and he's tough but sophisticated (plus the show has a sweet soundtrack too!).

 

Besides Hawaii 5-0, Cannon, and Barnaby Jones, I also like Mannix and The Rockford Files. I once read that Mannix is a more glamorized view of the private eye--he's well-dressed, has a cool car, swanky apartment, and an exciting life. Jim Rockford, on the other hand, portrays a more realistic look at life as a private eye. He sets his own hours, works out of his trailer on the beach, and isn't exactly raking in the big bucks.

 

I just remembered that several TV shows, like Mannix and Magnum P.I., had "Laura" inspired episodes. One more example of detective TV shows taking inspiration from classic film noir. :-)

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Speaking of Darren McGavin, you may recall he starred in the Mike Hammer series in the late 1950s.  Stacy Keatch also played the role of Mike Hammer in the 1970-80s.  Both series were very nice productions.

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Speaking of Darren McGavin, you may recall he starred in the Mike Hammer series in the late 1950s.  Stacy Keatch also played the role of Mike Hammer in the 1970-80s.  Both series were very nice productions.

The McGavin series is available on DVD- get it while you can if you like it.  A local station was showing them a while back.  Interesting, but not enough to make me purchase them.

I'm not sure I would qualify any of the TV shows discussed here as "Noir."  I watch an episode of Perry Mason probably 3-4 times per week.  Great shows, but not Noir.  Also watch Rockford at least once per week.

Richard Edwards:  "So I think these 70s crime shows exert an interesting influence on how many of us first encounter the noir sensibility and substance in a later TV manifestation before seeing those earlier films that are their touchstones."  Not sure I understand this comment.

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Richard Edwards:  "So I think these 70s crime shows exert an interesting influence on how many of us first encounter the noir sensibility and substance in a later TV manifestation before seeing those earlier films that are their touchstones."  Not sure I understand this comment.

I interpreted it to mean that the 70s crime shows are like a 'next generation noir' sort of thing. And if they are the viewer's first exposure to this type of storytelling, then finding the original noir from two or three decades earlier provides a glimpse into not only how the genre has evolved but how the original stories sort of set the template.

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Let me see if I can rephrase what I meant:

 

My interest in film noir did not begin with the original films of film noir. I don't remember any film noir that I watched (if I watched one) before I went to college. But I grew up in the 1970s, and I did watch a lot of television crime drama, as I previously noted in this thread.

 

A quick aside: I am a big fan of TV crime dramas, including many great noir-influenced series that have aired in the last 10 years like The Wire, Breaking Bad and Season One of True Detective. 

 

Back to my main point: Growing up, I watched plenty of 1970s crime dramas, as my father was a huge fan of crime TV. Together I remember us watching such series as The Rockford Files, The Night Stalker, Barnaby Jones, Cannon, Mannix, The Streets of San Francisco, etc. 

 

When I got to college, I took my first film classes and joined college film societies. When I was 18 and 19, I started watching for the very first time the masterworks of noir, such as The Maltese Falcon, Double Indemnity, Notorious, Touch of Evil, among many others. I got exposed to German Expressionism through the work of Fritz Lang. I saw my first French Poetic Realism film, Le Jour Se Leve (starring Jean Gabin). I saw films of the French New Wave (Godard's Breathless made a big impression on me) and the early films of Truffault.

 

A quick aside #2: I am a cinephile, and watch and adore film in all its splendid glory and variety. I love silent films (can't imagine a cinematic universe without Charlie Chaplin and his genius), musicals, international films (I'm a big fan of Kurosawa, Fellini, Bergman, Antonioni, Tarkovsky, Yimou, among many, many others), classic Hollywood film in general, historical epics, avant-garde films, documentary films, New American cinema (1968-1975), and science fictions films, along with a lot of film noir. I guess you can say I love film. 

 

Back to my main point: But as I began watching all these films in college and set my career path on becoming a film scholar, I began to recall that I saw and was familiar with "film noir" because I grew up watching the descendants of film noir on network television in those 1970s crime shows.  

 

So my point is that many people of my generation and younger are exposed to film noir not through the original films (at least not initially) but through TV series that can trace a line of influence back the original films. 

 

Hope this helps clarify the point I was trying to make. 

 

 

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On 10/31/2018 at 7:15 PM, Sgt_Markoff said:

TV noir? Groan-n-n-n-n-n-n!!!

:blink:

 

Work it where the sun don't shine, you'll groan better.

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