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About NoirPawn

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    Long Island, NY
  • Interests
    One foot in the past, one on the future. Interesting include games (especially chess), writing, reading, political science (I hold two degrees), and bodybuilding. Oh, and of course film noir. :)
  1. I am somewhat intrigued by how the so-called "New Media" might influence noir. Like a lot of posters have pointed out, movies just don't dominate the entertainment landscape anymore. Perhaps noir might find a new home in the New Media? Netflix, Amazon and cable stations like AMC and SyFy seem interested in daring new content. No reason why they would be interested in daring old content, either. Would love to see a noir series, such as a revival of The Naked City, appear in one of those venues.
  2. That is an interesting observation. While a lot of film noir seems to deal with dark themes, I am often struck by how the shady protagonist ultimately does the right thing for the right reason, even knowing that this could/will cost him a great deal, such as his life. Johnny Eager and Nobody Lives Forever come to mind.
  3. I have to say that since getting hooked on noir, I am dressing better. Now it's always French Cuffs and a blazer for me.
  4. I've been putting off watching the movie The Big Sleep because I am 87% of the way into the novel (according to my Fire). Really looking forward to seeing the movie version. The book is my first hard-boiled detective novel. I think I am hooked.
  5. Yup! That's for sure! Another good bit of sci-fi noir is Dark City. Do you know the way to Shell Beach?
  6. I always thought Ridley Scott's Blader Runner really nailed the noir aesthetic. Frankly, without all the noir trappings, it would only have been a "B" sci-fi movie.
  7. Either a gin martini stirred not shaken, or rye. Been meaning to try a highball one day, too. Speaking of rye, since trying it I have moved on from bourbon. I really like the stuff. The Atlantic has an interesting article about the history of rye: http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2014/09/how-rye-came-back/375061/
  8. I actually think it was The Twilight Zone and Blade Runner! Okay, those are not film noir as much as noir influenced entertainment, but those were two I always enjoyed for reasons I could never quite articulate. It wasn't until I took a film history course in college that I realized it was the noir influence and not so much the sci-fi that was making me a fan (not that the sci-fi content was't good, too!). My prof showed us Detour! and Scarlet Street as examples of film noir, and from that point I was hooked. But honestly, it is only this past year that the noir bug has really bitten deep. TCM is feeding my new found addiction.
  9. I couldn't have said it better. The graphic violence and sex and profanity in modern movies just rubs me the wrong way. Just for the sake of background, I am not a kid, nor am I a "those darn kids and their rock and roll" senior citizen. Rather, I am a forty-something guy who has grown up watching a gamut of films that spanned from "G" to "R". I guess what I am trying to say that I am not "a prude" when it comes to these things. Having said that, I just can't stand the filth of modern cinema. I don't find it "edgy" or "daring," rather I find it lazy at best, and downright disturbing at worst. I have always found it interesting that Hollywood's so-called "Golden Era" is centrally located in the Hays Code district. Interesting, that. Instead of limiting artistic freedom, it seems to have unleashed it. Maybe there is a lesson to be learnt there? And, yeah, don't get me started with the $300-million dollar cartoons that Hollywood is pumping out these days. I could weep for what Hollywood has done to sci-fi these past ten or so years. They have completely turned the genre into a medium for after school cartoons. I think you hit it on the head, too. But for the old movies, I've been seriously thinking about cancelling my NetFlix account because if there are four new movies a year that look interesting to me, it is a lot. And, sadly, of the four, maybe one actually proves watchable (watchable, mind you; not great). That is true, but I think it is not so much about remakes - albeit, Hollywood seems to have a kamikaze attitude when it comes to remaking avowed classics, cult or otherwise - but about what in the software world is called "iteration, not innovation." In other words, Hollywood is stuck on things like Star Wars 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, etc., Jurassic Park 1, 2, 3, etc, Die Hard 1, 2, 3, 4, etc. That is what is so silly. Yes, the Maltese Falcon was remade, but that seemed more about perfecting the film that just milking it for all it is worth. It is interesting that there never was a Maltese Falcon 2, 3, 4, nor a The Killers 2, 3, 4, or a Laura 2, 3, 4. I don't think it would be too much of a stretch to say if those were new movies today, we could count on such iteration. That is an excellent point about sound. I completely agree with you on that. Like you said, it probably was an unintentional but beneficial side effect of the audio technology of the day, but maybe there is a lesson in that. I hear people are returning to records because they find the sound of MP3s and CDs to be too antiseptic. Maybe Hollywood should get a clue about the use of sound in modern movies, too. Too often Hollywood acts like a kid with the latest Apple iPhone. I don't necessarily agree with real sets being too expensive vis-a-vis CGI. I recently read an article that said that CGI studios are going bankrupt left and right because the cost of AAA CGI is very expensive, and the studios are starting to refuse to pay a break even rate. Imagine if Hollywood would take a fraction of their CGI budget and return to old fashioned sets. I can't image such sets, especially for an intimate genre like film noir, would come anywhere close to the cost of a typical CGI-laden film. I don't necessarily agree. For me, the classic films noir are like Shakespearean plays: their emotional hook, if you will, is timeless. I mean, just the fact that so many people of all age groups are enjoying TCM's Summer of Darkness festival proves that (not to mention the many festivals pop up around the country). It is a strange situation. Hollywood isn't making new films noir (with the exception of the occasional passion project like LA Confidential, etc.) because people aren't interested. How do we know that? Because Hollywood is making any films noir. It is very circular reasoning. Yet, when they do, be it LA Confidential or even sci-fi noir like Blade Runner, such films become almost instant classics. To me, this just proves that nothing has changed other than Hollywood attitudes towards the genre. Well said! And, again, I agree with the lack of a need for profanity, etc. Again, I never watched The Maltese Falcon and said, "That was good, but it needed more sex." Interesting, a lot of my friends feel the same way. I think the times might be changing for the better. The question is: will Hollywood listen?
  10. I thought this was a fun article: http://www.bestmoviesbyfarr.com/articles/film-noir-quotes/2015/02?utm_source=Facebook&utm_medium=Social&utm_campaign=Film+Noir One of my favorites is from I Walk Alone: [stuffy woman]: "My name is Mrs. Alix Richardson." [burt Lancaster]: "You say that like it was spelt in capital letters." Zing!
  11. First, sorry for the double post, everyone. I am still getting used to these forums. Should have used "Multiquote.' Thanks for the list, CitizenKing! Coincidentally, I had a friend recommend The Man Who Wasn't There and watched it last night. For me, this movie is an example of why I think the contemporary scene is just inferior to the authentic period of film noir. While the Cohen brothers nailed to look of authentic film noir, I think they missed the story mark by a wide margin. The old classics had a distinctive style, as Prof. Edwards reminds us, but the old directors never seemed to lose sight of the fact that the style was there to serve the story, and not vice versa. Unfortunately, with The Man Who Wasn't There, I got the distinct impression that the Cohens were so obsessed with style that they forgot the substance. Unlike some of my noir favorites, I felt the story was almost an afterthought, that the real purpose of the movie was to see if they could get away with copying the style but not the substance. Of course, this is just me - and I admit I have an odd taste when it comes to movies - but it was an idea that stuck me as I watched that movie last night. Again, thanks for the list. I will be checking out the other films you mention!
  12. Thanks for the comments! You certainly raise some interesting points. When I wrote this, I did consider the idea that nostalgia is what makes the old movies seem so good but I ultimately rejected that idea for one simple reason: I find that these old classics stick with me in a way 99% of modern movies don't. After they are long over, I find myself thinking about them, and the moral lessons they contained, much more so than I have with that vast majority of contemporary films. Granted, there is a important distinction to be made: the old classics are the movies that survived the crucible of that period; nobody remembers the many failures that I am sure existed as well. When it comes to contemporary cinema, we are exposed to both the good and the bad simultaneously, something that makes the modern scene seem much more shabby. But, again, that's still doesn't disabuse me of the idea that there was just something superior to film noir. Eddie Muller seemed to have made a similar observation when he wrote: "Today, the cynicism and fatalism found in classic film noir seems almost comforting compared to the ugliness and pessimism we confront in the media, on movie screens, and in the streets. We watch film noir with an endless fascination, and an undeniable aspect of our fascination is the realization that, as a culture, we will never be that stylish again." I think he hit the nail on the head. I am also reminded of what Joseph Pearce wrote about why we should read the literary classics: "The great works of literature are beautiful expressions of that collective inheritance, showing us the truth of the permanent things and the truth about ourselves that we can see reflected in the permanent things. In short and in sum, reading the classics liberates us from the narrow-mindedness of the fads and fashions of our own time and connects us with the bedrock realities of what it is to be truly and fully human. ... "Any contemporary literature which endeavours to ignore the classics will be fatally flawed by its embrace of the shallow and the superficial. Such literature, in refusing the life-giving roots of tradition, will wither and die within a few years of its being published because, as C. S. Lewis reminds us, fashions are always coming and going, but mostly going!" Unfortunately, I find the majority of contemporary cinema to be guilty of "embracing the shallow and the superficial." But that is just me.
  13. I just read an article that explained how the current box office scene is quite dismal for another year (you can read it here). Well, today I was listening to Prof. Edwards' video lecture where he stated that at one point you had 80-90 million people visiting the theaters weekly during the noir period! Incredible! As he pointed out, that was somewhat due to the fact that there was no television, and certainly no internet, but I found myself wondering that perhaps it was also because the movies were just better crafted then. I am somewhat surprised to find myself writing that as I never was one for the old classics, but with each passing year I just find myself being turned off by modern Hollywood (and think this is why I have suddenly developed a love for these noir flicks). Sadly, today the stories are either all juvenile, or if they do deal with adult themes, that inevitably means a "R" rated flick with graphic violence, sex and/or profanity. Again, not interested in any of that. So, I was wondering: if, by some miracle, Hollywood decided to return to the classic noir formula, do you think people would go back to the theaters? And by return to the old formula, I mean just that: movies made not with CGI but physical sets; not loaded with "R" content but rather having mature themes portrayed with "taste, restraint, and artistry" (as Eddie Muller put it). It would also require a return to characters who looked like they had lived a bit rather than resembling twenty-somethings barely old enough to shave. You get the idea. Pretty much the opposite of everything Hollywood is dishing out these days (color is okay ). What do you think? Would a return - if such a thing was possible - to film noir mean a return of contemporary audiences to the theater?
  14. Unfortunately, for me it is simply a case of catching what I can when I can. I don't own a DVR, so I can't record them for later viewing. However, I do subscribe to NetFlix and Amazon Prime, so I've been using those to fill in the gaps.
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