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Noir Debutant

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  1. I'm with you on that. Disagreement is no big deal. I'm just looking to understand, and the more different perspectives I have, the easier it is. I'm having trouble seeing the hitch-hiker as a product of a flawed world, simply because we don't see any evidence of what the world has done to him, and nor do we see any evidence that the world is flawed — everything works like clockwork to track down and apprehend the badguy. But you're right, this badguy had to come from somewhere, so there must be something in the world to make this evil possible. Thanks for the discussion, glad to b
  2. Thanks, Tacoma1, for the very thoughtful response. I think I am going to end up disagreeing with you on this one, though. After my previous post I read the article by Robert Porfirio. His first few paragraphs specifically addressed my (and, according to your helpful Wikipedia extract, many others') issue: how do you develop any useful definition of film noir that doesn't become so broad as to be useless, but still includes all the films that are recognized as film noir? I like Porfirio's answers, although, once again, the qualities he picks out don't seem to all be necessary to classify
  3. I just finished watching the full film, and I find myself once again questioning what defines the boundaries of film noir. I had settled on some sort of minimal definition that film noir required a character or characters to enter into a deadly spiral as the result of some minor or major decision or decisions they make. "Fate" seems relentless, but perhaps the protagonist can escape — although usually not. That seems a broad definition, one that might already be so broad as to be of limited utility, but then this film comes along. The good guys are "good" throughout the film. They
  4. So maybe I just need to be hit over the head with my film motifs, but (with the possible exception of The Third Man) this is the first clip we've watched where I feel the music isn't just something added in to establish general ambiance. The music, for me, just seemed an essential part of the scene. I watched it again to see why and it is indeed hitting me over the head: every downbeat is on a step! When his foot hits the ground the music hits a beat. When he slows, the music slows, and when he returns to his determined pace, the music does also. For me this creates some kind of sens
  5. I feel a bit over my head with so many cinephiles here, but there were a couple things I noticed, and I'm just not sure if they were elements that had significance, or just there as a result of cinematic license. 1) As others have said--she gets in a car headed back the way she has come from. In fact, all the cars that we see are going backwards to her initial direction. If she is, in fact, the woman from the asylum, then the roadblock would appear to be "backwards," too. That is, they're checking cars heading back in the direction from which she's escaped. (You could argue that she wa
  6. Excellent point. In fact, Harry Lime doesn't enter at all. He's there, in the shadows, as he has been throughout the film. In terms of one of the questions, I think the city of Vienna cooperates very nicely in helping to blur the line between realism and formalism. The geometric patterns in the cobblestoned streets, the angles of the streets, the patterns of the facades. Add in the stark lighting, and you've got a formalistic look created by a realistic scene. And speaking of lighting, it's always bothered me that Harry Lime's reveal contravenes the laws of physics — there's ju
  7. Although I've watched a fair number of movies, including several from the "Daily Doses," I still consider myself on the whole ignorant of most of the subtleties of framing, composition, lighting — in short, just about everything that isn't directly plot-related. So I'm looking forward to learning what distinguishies film noir from other movie classifications. Unfortunately, this clip seems to have taken me backwards. I thought one of the hallmarks of film noir was surrealistic imagery intended to portray an interior world more than an exterior. This clip is the exact opposite — a prosaic "
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