Sign in to follow this  
cigarjoe

The Noir Canon - a different way of looking at it

32 posts in this topic

We all know from the many and varied books written about Film Noir that the often quoted time frame that these films fit into is usually 1941 to 1958 some occasionally stretch to 1959. Who came came up with this initially, and why is it so strictly adhered too? 

 

The more Noirs I watch the more I'm questioning this. I'm beginning to come around to a different thought, and that is that Classic American Film Noir stretched from say 1940 to 1968 (1968 being the last general use of B&W film in production) here is the breakdown by year of Black & White Noirs (there may be a few more to add in, in that 1959 to 1968 stretch: 

 

1940 (5) 

1941 (11) 

1942 (5) 

1943 (5) 

1944 (18) 

1945 (22) 

1946 (42) 

1947 (53) 

1948 (43) 

1949 (52) 

1950 (57) 

1951 (39) 

1952 (26) 

1953 (21) 

1954 (26) 

1955 (20) 

1956 (19) 

1957 (12) 

1958 (7) 

1959 (7) 

1960 (2) 

1961 (5) 

1962 (6) 

1963 (1) 

1964 (4) 

1965 (3) 

1966 (2) 

1967 (2) 

1968 (1) 

 

I'm also thinking now that the Color Film Noirs within this 1940-1968 time frame were the first Neo Noirs so that the two sub genres actually overlap. The catalyst for this new alignment is when I read a quote about Neo Noir that said that if the filmmakers made a conscience decision to film in black and white when color was the norm then it was an artistic decision and not one of necessity for budget purposes, Same the other way if B&W was the norm for low budget B Noirs then it was an artistic decision to film it color. 

 

The color film Noir the first 30 years (again there maybe a few more in these early years but they as a whole really up ticked in the 1980s and 1990's): 

 

1945 (1) 

1947 (1) 

1948 (1) 

1953 (2) 

1955 (3) 

1956 (3) 

1958 (1) 

1966 (1) 

1967 (1) 

1969 (1) 

1970 (2) 

1971 (4) 

1972 (1) 

1973 (0) 

1974 (2) 

 

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

We all know from the many and varied books written about Film Noir that the often quoted time frame that these films fit into is usually 1941 to 1958 some occasionally stretch to 1959. Who came came up with this initially, and why is it so strictly adhered too? 
 
The more Noirs I watch the more I'm questioning this. I'm beginning to come around to a different thought, and that is that Classic American Film Noir stretched from say 1940 to 1968 (1968 being the last general use of B&W film in production) here is the breakdown by year of Black & White Noirs (there may be a few more to add in, in that 1959 to 1968 stretch: 
 
1940 (5) 
1941 (11) 
1942 (5) 
1943 (5) 
1944 (18) 
1945 (22) 
1946 (42) 
1947 (53) 
1948 (43) 
1949 (52) 
1950 (57) 
1951 (39) 
1952 (26) 
1953 (21) 
1954 (26) 
1955 (20) 
1956 (19) 
1957 (12) 
1958 (7) 
1959 (7) 
1960 (2) 
1961 (5) 
1962 (6) 
1963 (1) 
1964 (4) 
1965 (3) 
1966 (2) 
1967 (2) 
1968 (1) 
 
I'm also thinking now that the Color Film Noirs within this 1940-1968 time frame were the first Neo Noirs so that the two sub genres actually overlap. The catalyst for this new alignment is when I read a quote about Neo Noir that said that if the filmmakers made a conscience decision to film in black and white when color was the norm then it was an artistic decision and not one of necessity for budget purposes, Same the other way if B&W was the norm for low budget B Noirs then it was an artistic decision to film it color. 
 
The color film Noir the first 30 years (again there maybe a few more in these early years but they as a whole really up ticked in the 1980s and 1990's): 
 
1945 (1) 
1947 (1) 
1948 (1) 
1953 (2) 
1955 (3) 
1956 (3) 
1958 (1) 
1966 (1) 
1967 (1) 
1969 (1) 
1970 (2) 
1971 (4) 
1972 (1) 
1973 (0) 
1974 (2) 

 

Yes, this reminds me how there used to be two separate Oscar categories for B&W cinematography and Colour cinematography.

 

I've always seen Chinatown as neo-noir, not noir.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Of course which films one classifies as 'noir' is part of how one looks at this.

 

The Book Film Noir 2nd edition (Ward \ Silver),  has 3 noir films listed for both 1958 and 1959.

 

1958 - The Lineup,  Party Girl,  and Touch of Evil

1959 - The Beat Generation, The Crimson Kimono, and Odds Against Tomorrow

 

(with none for 1960 and 2 for 1961 - Blast of Silence and Underworld USA).

 

There are 10 films listed for 1957 - Baby Face Nelson,  The Brother Rico, The Burglar, Crime of Passion, The Garment Jungle,  The Night Runner,  Nightfall, Plunder Road,  Sweet Smell of Success, and The Tattered Dress.

 

My point being that the list cigarjoe provided of B&W noir films and the listings above,  'match' in that there is a major drop off of noir films after 1957.    

 

Also,  the only noir icon that made significant noir films after 1959 is Mitchum with Cape Fear (1962),  The Friends of Eddie Coyle and Farewell my Lovey.    

 

Is that another reason to site 1959 as the end of an era?       

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Of course which films one classifies as 'noir' is part of how one looks at this.

 

The Book Film Noir 2nd edition (Ward \ Silver),  has 3 noir films listed for both 1958 and 1959.

 

1958 - The Lineup,  Party Girl,  and Touch of Evil

1959 - The Beat Generation, The Crimson Kimono, and Odds Against Tomorrow

 

(with none for 1960 and 2 for 1961 - Blast of Silence and Underworld USA).

 

There are 10 films listed for 1957 - Baby Face Nelson,  The Brother Rico, The Burglar, Crime of Passion, The Garment Jungle,  The Night Runner,  Nightfall, Plunder Road,  Sweet Smell of Success, and The Tattered Dress.

 

My point being that the list cigarjoe provided of B&W noir films and the listings above,  'match' in that there is a major drop off of noir films after 1957.    

 

Also,  the only noir icon that made significant noir films after 1959 is Mitchum with Cape Fear (1962),  The Friends of Eddie Coyle and Farewell my Lovey.    

 

Is that another reason to site 1959 as the end of an era?       

 

I would include a few others along with Mitchum

 

Here is a list of some B&W Noirs (there may be a few more) after 1959  some with Noir Icons and most with Noir actors, others are really low budget or in the case of Sam Fuller's post 1960 films populated with a lot of TV actors.

 

1960 -1968 B&W Noir (at least as I see them, The Money Trap (1965) with Glenn Ford, Rita Hayworth, Ricardo Montalban, may be another but I've only seen clips 
 
Psycho (1960) Janet Leigh (Act Of Violence - Touch of Evil) John McIntire
Blast Of Silence (1961) v.o. Lionel Stander  (Hangmen Also Die! -Call Northside 777 )
Underworld U.S.A. (1961) dir Sam Fuller
Something Wild (1961) Ralph Meeker (Kiss Me Deadly)
Cape Fear (1962) Robert Mitchum
Experiment In Terror (1962) Glenn Ford 
Satan in High Heels (1962) Meg Myles (The Phenix City Story - New York Confidential )
The Manchurian Candidate (1962) Frank Sinatra (Suddenly - The Man with the Golden Arm )
Shock Corridor (1962)  dir Sam Fuller
Requiem for a Heavyweight (1962) Anthony Quinn (The Long Wait, The Naked Street) 
The Naked Kiss (1964)  dir Sam Fuller
The Pawnbroker (1964) Rod Steiger (The Big Knife -The Harder They Fall - Cry Terror! ) Juano Hernandez (The Breaking Point -Kiss Me Deadly)
The Glass Cage (1964) Elisha Cook Jr. 
Angel's Flight (1965) low budget
Brainstorm (1965) Jeffry Hunter (Fourteen Hours) Dana Andrews, Viveca Lindfors, Strother Martin
Once A Thief (1965) Jack Palance, Van Heflin
Aroused (1966) low budget
Mr. Buddwing (1966) Jean Simmons (Angel Face)
In Cold Blood (1967) Paul Stewart, Jeff Corey, Charles McGraw
The Incident (1967) Thelma Ritter, Jan Sterling, Gary Merrill
The Pick-Up (1968) low budget
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

I would include a few others along with Mitchum

 

Here is a list of some B&W Noirs (there may be a few more) after 1959  some with Noir Icons and most with Noir actors, others are really low budget or in the case of Sam Fuller's post 1960 films populated with a lot of TV actors.

 

1960 -1968 B&W Noir (at least as I see them, The Money Trap (1965) with Glenn Ford, Rita Hayworth, Ricardo Montalban, may be another but I've only seen clips 
 
Psycho (1960) Janet Leigh (Act Of Violence - Touch of Evil) John McIntire
Blast Of Silence (1961) v.o. Lionel Stander  (Hangmen Also Die! -Call Northside 777 )
Underworld U.S.A. (1961) dir Sam Fuller
Something Wild (1961) Ralph Meeker (Kiss Me Deadly)
Cape Fear (1962) Robert Mitchum
Experiment In Terror (1962) Glenn Ford 
Satan in High Heels (1962) Meg Myles (The Phenix City Story - New York Confidential )
The Manchurian Candidate (1962) Frank Sinatra (Suddenly - The Man with the Golden Arm )
Shock Corridor (1962)  dir Sam Fuller
Requiem for a Heavyweight (1962) Anthony Quinn (The Long Wait, The Naked Street) 
The Naked Kiss (1964)  dir Sam Fuller
The Pawnbroker (1964) Rod Steiger (The Big Knife -The Harder They Fall - Cry Terror! ) Juano Hernandez (The Breaking Point -Kiss Me Deadly)
The Glass Cage (1964) Elisha Cook Jr. 
Angel's Flight (1965) low budget
Brainstorm (1965) Jeffry Hunter (Fourteen Hours) Dana Andrews, Viveca Lindfors, Strother Martin
Once A Thief (1965) Jack Palance, Van Heflin
Aroused (1966) low budget
Mr. Buddwing (1966) Jean Simmons (Angel Face)
In Cold Blood (1967) Paul Stewart, Jeff Corey, Charles McGraw
The Incident (1967) Thelma Ritter, Jan Sterling, Gary Merrill
The Pick-Up (1968) low budget

 

 

Useful additional list of films for this discussion.

 

I should have mentioned Ford and Experiment in Terror as well as Dana Andrews and Brainstorm since both those actors are 'noir icons'.    Of course Elisha Cook is a noir icon but not a major star.   

 

I still use 1959 as the cutoff year for 'end of the noir era' based on the drop off of noir releases but also because it is the last year of the 50s.   (yea,  unlike noir films I like things nice and clean cut!   ;) ).

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Useful additional list of films for this discussion.

 

I should have mentioned Ford and Experiment in Terror as well as Dana Andrews and Brainstorm since both those actors are 'noir icons'.    Of course Elisha Cook is a noir icon but not a major star.   

 

I still use 1959 as the cutoff year for 'end of the noir era' based on the drop off of noir releases but also because it is the last year of the 50s.   (yea,  unlike noir films I like things nice and clean cut!   ;) ).

The beginning of Classic Noir wasn't clean cut either (see list), and I feel the end of it sort of just bled out, B movie production ceased, TV Crime show productions rose with a lot of Hollywood B actors either going to TV or retiring. Independent C productions which I feel are akin to Poverty Row Hollywood kept it sputtering along till 1968.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Of course which films one classifies as 'noir' is part of how one looks at this.

 

 
I'm more in the visual camp concerning Noir, most of those I listed have strong visual stylistics that link them to Classic Noir. 
 
A thought to throw into the equation of what makes a Noir/Neo Noir is an individual internal factor. It's subjectivity. Noir is in all of us. Think of us all as having an internal tuning fork, these tuning forks are forged by our life experiences which are all unique. When we watch these films their degree of Noir-ness resonates with us differently, so we either "tune" to them or we don't. The amount of "tuning" (I'm appropriating this term from the Neo Noir Dark City (1998)) to certain films will vary between us all also." 
 
So I think rather than a definite demarcation line between Noir and Neo Noir it's more like there are films that are right on the cusp between the two, and this internal tuning fork that we all have is going to not only determine the noirness of a film but also whether it fits Classic or Neo side of that cusp.
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Oh, I missed so many great posts last night when I was watching The Great Escape and Bullitt.  Oh, but then I went to sleep.

 

 

 

I do not know why when I press the button to view new content I have to go through all sorts of off topic chit chat to find new posts in noir categories.

 

A lot of people say about Noir: I know it when I see it.  Then they cannot otherwise define it.

 

There are a lot of my favourite Noir films that are in the first half of the 1960s.  I've been looking at the lists of titles both of you have been mentioning and making a mental list of which ones I have already seen and which ones I haven't.

 

 

regarding Dark City the original-I've discovered that there is no way for me to see it where I live. Sigh.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Finally Saw P.J. (1968) a PI flick that stars George Peppard and Gayle Hunnicutt, but also Noir Icons Raymond Burr and Coleen Gray. It's been listed as a potential Neo Noir (it's not). It has one powerful Noir-ish sequence in the Court St. Subway station that lasts about 3 minutes. The impression I got was more akin to a Bond flick with music that sounded close to Henry Mancini.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

We all know from the many and varied books written about Film Noir that the often quoted time frame that these films fit into is usually 1941 to 1958 some occasionally stretch to 1959. Who came came up with this initially, and why is it so strictly adhered too? 
 
The more Noirs I watch the more I'm questioning this. I'm beginning to come around to a different thought, and that is that Classic American Film Noir stretched from say 1940 to 1968 (1968 being the last general use of B&W film in production) here is the breakdown by year of Black & White Noirs (there may be a few more to add in, in that 1959 to 1968 stretch: 
 
1940 (5) 
1941 (11) 
1942 (5) 
1943 (5) 
1944 (18) 
1945 (22) 
1946 (42) 
1947 (53) 
1948 (43) 
1949 (52) 
1950 (57) 
1951 (39) 
1952 (26) 
1953 (21) 
1954 (26) 
1955 (20) 
1956 (19) 
1957 (12) 
1958 (7) 
1959 (7) 
1960 (2) 
1961 (5) 
1962 (6) 
1963 (1) 
1964 (4) 
1965 (3) 
1966 (2) 
1967 (2) 
1968 (1) 
 
I'm also thinking now that the Color Film Noirs within this 1940-1968 time frame were the first Neo Noirs so that the two sub genres actually overlap. The catalyst for this new alignment is when I read a quote about Neo Noir that said that if the filmmakers made a conscience decision to film in black and white when color was the norm then it was an artistic decision and not one of necessity for budget purposes, Same the other way if B&W was the norm for low budget B Noirs then it was an artistic decision to film it color. 
 
The color film Noir the first 30 years (again there maybe a few more in these early years but they as a whole really up ticked in the 1980s and 1990's): 
 
1945 (1) 
1947 (1) 
1948 (1) 
1953 (2) 
1955 (3) 
1956 (3) 
1958 (1) 
1966 (1) 
1967 (1) 
1969 (1) 
1970 (2) 
1971 (4) 
1972 (1) 
1973 (0) 
1974 (2) 

 

the peeps who think there's a canon in noir are gullible which is why they believe in limiting the years.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

the peeps who think there's a canon in noir are gullible which is why they believe in limiting the years.

 

There are no canons,  only a roscoe.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Joe, there are a couple of other 1965 films to add to the noir list:

 

MIRAGE

RETURN FROM THE ASHES

 

MIRAGE is a belated classic noir, yet another version of the amnesia story, and one of the best. RETURN FROM THE ASHES has a European setting and reverses the sexes, with Maximilian Schell in the femme fatale role (or "homme fatal").

 

 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Joe, there are a couple of other 1965 films to add to the noir list:

 

MIRAGE

RETURN FROM THE ASHES

 

MIRAGE is a belated classic noir, yet another version of the amnesia story, and one of the best. RETURN FROM THE ASHES has a European setting and reverses the sexes, with Maximilian Schell in the femme fatale role (or "homme fatal").

 

Oh no,  yet another phase we can all debate;  belated classic noir.

 

;)

 

Mirage being directed by Edward Dmytryk does give the film a classic noir pedigree.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've always considered Mirage to be underappreciated.

 

I'm not just saying this as a Peck fan.

 

People rarely mention this movie on lists of favourite artists and it's quite suspenseful.  It reminds me of Mr. Buddwing.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've always considered Mirage to be underappreciated.

 

I'm not just saying this as a Peck fan.

 

People rarely mention this movie on lists of favourite artists and it's quite suspenseful.  It reminds me of Mr. Buddwing.

I can't remember if I've seen it or not.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I can't remember if I've seen it or not.

It does not air on television very often.  If I remember correctly, I only saw it for the first time around 10 years ago. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

When you said Peck and Matthau I immediately at first thought I knew which one you were talking about but it's Charade. 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Oh, Okay Cigarjoe.

 

Yes, Charade airs very often.  It's a film I watch about once a month.  Cary Grant is the star and Peck did end up with a role that was originally meant for Grant in Arabesque as a follow up.  Peck once said that he could fell Grant's fingerprints over every script he got as he knew he was getting Grant rejects.

 

 

Mirage is much rarer.  Like Mr. Buddwing it deals with amnesia of the main character following a horrible tragedy.  Peck is the main character.   And like Garner's character in Mr. Buddwing, we don't find out what that it until near the end of the movie.  That is why the one reminds me of other.

 

I can see why if you haven't seen Mirage in a while even if you have seen it getting the two films confused because Matthau and Kennedy are both in it and we were talking a lot about Charade when Kennedy died.  Charade is called "The Beset Hitchcock movie Hitchcock never made."

 

 

Mirage's leading lady is Diane Baker.

 

Other actors in the movie include Kevin McCarthy, Jack Weston, and Leif Erickson.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Oh, Okay Cigarjoe.

 

Yes, Charade airs very often.  It's a film I watch about once a month.  Cary Grant is the star and Peck did end up with a role that was originally meant for Grant in Arabesque as a follow up.  Peck once said that he could fell Grant's fingerprints over every script he got as he knew he was getting Grant rejects.

 

 

Mirage is much rarer.  Like Mr. Buddwing it deals with amnesia of the main character following a horrible tragedy.  Peck is the main character.   And like Garner's character in Mr. Buddwing, we don't find out what that it until near the end of the movie.  That is why the one reminds me of other.

 

I can see why if you haven't seen Mirage in a while even if you have seen it getting the two films confused because Matthau and Kennedy are both in it and we were talking a lot about Charade when Kennedy died.  Charade is called "The Beset Hitchcock movie Hitchcock never made."

 

 

Mirage's leading lady is Diane Baker.

 

Other actors in the movie include Kevin McCarthy, Jack Weston, and Leif Erickson.

 

My wife gets Peck and Grant confused but mainly because she thinks they have a similar look,  both being very handsome fellows.

 

I think Peck had a little more of a serious edge to him than Grant.    Of course Peck does fine in comedies and Grant in dramas but I think their overall persona fits better with Grant in comedies and Peck in dramas.    Note that for the film Sabrina Grant was initially cast to play the role that Bogart played.     I don't think Grant would have worked well as a serious hard working business man but Peck would have.    Bogart does a great job of acting in the film but he is clearly 15 - 20 years too old for Hepburn.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There are a lot of people I have "met" on this site who get Grant and Peck confused because they look alike. Peck had quite a strong sense of humour in real life, but he was rarely cast in comedies.  He did have a serious edge to him.

 

I mentioned before on another thread  - What Are You Watching Now - in reply to you pointing out that Dan Dyrea was NOT in San Antonio that I get him mixed up with Paul Kelly.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I can't remember if I've seen it or not.

I just mentioned Mirage in a list of good Film Noirs. I just found a good copy and am planning to watch

tonight. I have really forgotten the punchline, as it was several years ago. I find the movies with amnesia victims intriguing, but quite frankly did not like Mr. Buddwing. He turns out to be an unlikeble chraacter.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I just mentioned Mirage in a list of good Film Noirs. I just found a good copy and am planning to watch

tonight. I have really forgotten the punchline, as it was several years ago. I find the movies with amnesia victims intriguing, but quite frankly did not like Mr. Buddwing. He turns out to be an unlikeble chraacter.

You will really enjoy watching Mirage.

 

I think that Mirage and Mister Buddwing would make a good double feature if they have not already been paired.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I just mentioned Mirage in a list of good Film Noirs. I just found a good copy and am planning to watch

tonight. I have really forgotten the punchline, as it was several years ago. I find the movies with amnesia victims intriguing, but quite frankly did not like Mr. Buddwing. He turns out to be an unlikeble chraacter.

I really enjoyed Mirage last night. I had forgotten some of the twists and turns along the way. Yes, Film Noirs were dwindling around that time, but it was a great performance by all. Especially noteworthy were Gregory Peck (natch.), Diane Baker and Walter Matthau. I enjoyed this scary film to the end and really like amnesia films. They usually have an interesting twist at the end. This viewer didn't see it coming in Mirage the first time.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Oh, Okay Cigarjoe.

 

Yes, Charade airs very often.  It's a film I watch about once a month.  Cary Grant is the star and Peck did end up with a role that was originally meant for Grant in Arabesque as a follow up.  Peck once said that he could fell Grant's fingerprints over every script he got as he knew he was getting Grant rejects.

 

 

Mirage is much rarer.  Like Mr. Buddwing it deals with amnesia of the main character following a horrible tragedy.  Peck is the main character.   And like Garner's character in Mr. Buddwing, we don't find out what that it until near the end of the movie.  That is why the one reminds me of other.

 

I can see why if you haven't seen Mirage in a while even if you have seen it getting the two films confused because Matthau and Kennedy are both in it and we were talking a lot about Charade when Kennedy died.  Charade is called "The Beset Hitchcock movie Hitchcock never made."

 I wanted to add that Jack Weston was great in Mirage too, as a sadistic and menacing character. He had played some other roles that wer

 

I like Charade as well and haven't seen it for awhile. IT does seem that there are similarities between Cary Grant and Gregory Peck. Both seem debonair, handsome, and perfect gentlemen, Also, as it was pointed out earlier, both actors are multi-talented and are great whether in comedy or drama. In a recent article in Classic Images magazine, Diane Baker was quoted as saying that Gregory Peck was a perfect gentleman and very nice to work with. She had been very impressed with his manners and kindness while making Mirage.

 

Mirage's leading lady is Diane Baker.

 

Other actors in the movie include Kevin McCarthy, Jack Weston, and Leif Erickson.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've always considered Mirage to be underappreciated.

 

I'm not just saying this as a Peck fan.

 

People rarely mention this movie on lists of favourite artists and it's quite suspenseful.  It reminds me of Mr. Buddwing.

I am sorry my post ran into another one. I just wanted to say that I had just read a good article about Diane Baker in Classic Images Magazine. SHe was quoted as saying that Gregory Peck was a perfect gentleman and was very nice to work with. She was also impressed by his kindness and good manners. This actor possessed great attributes and could adapt to each role well, and found time to make friends with his fellow man. I loved his performance in Spellbound '47.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

New Members:

Register Here

Learn more about the new message boards:

FAQ

Having problems?

Contact Us