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The Spiral Staircase and The Moss Rose are two magnificent Film Noirs with Ethel Barrymore. There is heart-pounding suspense in both, especially the former. Nightmare Alley with Tyrone Power and Colleen Moore is a partial Film Noir. Another great title is "Whirlpool '49" and features scary suspense. In the last of these titles the victim predicts her murder and it is discovered eerily playing on a spooky LP.

In other films a recording provides an alibi for a killer, as in The Falcon's Alibi with Elisha Cook, Jr. and The Unsuspected with the superb Claude Rains. The Leopard Man (with a different ending in the book!) and The Chase are two more I have watched recently. A pleasant surprise was locating a good Gregory Peck film noir entitled Mirage with the wonderful Gregory Peck and Diane Baker. Somewhere in the Night with John Hodiak and Nancy Guild is a human interest suspense story.. These are all fascinating Film Noirs which are still exciting,though I know the identity of the killer on many. This holds true of 40's film noir The Dark Corner with Mark Stevens, Clifton Webb and Lucille Ball. William Bendix had a key role in this last one. It is a summer of great Film Noir for me!

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  • 2 years later...

McCannady1 murmured:

Quote

Nightmare Alley with Tyrone Power and Colleen Moore is a partial Film Noir.

Here's another handy example of why the 'noir is a pan-genre style' fails as far as I am concerned. This poster is using the same language Uncle Joe endorses: 'partial'. 'Somewhat' noir. McCAnnady1 'catches some noir flavor' on his tongue. He decides how much he perceives. A dozen other equivocating phrases.

But how much exactly? He probably can't reply with any answer.

And we can't state it for him. If we were to try to answer for him, we'd be supplying our own partial impression. We'd be talking about our own estimate of noir in 'Nightmare Alley'.

This is the problem. 'Noir effects' (according to Uncle Joe) are always completely subjective and removed from objective regard.

Well--if that's so--then how can anybody say anything at all about it? How can it even be described as 'a thing possessing such-and-such behavior' like Joe emphasizes (noir is "randomly distributed in differing amounts from film to film", or "noir happens randomly")?

Six blind men each with their hand laid on some portion of an elephant, can not talk about an elephant. They can only talk about the spot on which their hand rests. You can't say whether 'elephants' exist when no one can agree what is objectively observable about them. It'd be like trying to make statements about UFOs.

 

Scenario to illustrate:

Fan #1 says: 'Nightmare Alley' is ...34% noirish to me.

Fan #2 says: 'Nightmare Alley is 63% noirish to me.

Fan #1 says: What are you talking about 63%? You mean scenes #14, 27, and 56? Those weren't THAT dark to me. The director called for natural light in those shots. The faces of the actors were hit with angled late-afternoon sunlight. Didn't look noirish at all. I felt cheerful.

Fan #2 says: No, I'm talking about scenes #11, 31, and 69. They were QUITE dark. I bet the gaffers used only a couple baby spots to get all those hauntingly dark shadows. 'Nightmare Alley' is dominated by these noir sequences.

 

(Director and gaffer for 'Nightmare Alley', what do you say?)

Reply: we used a combination of 3-4 fill and spot lights in all those scenes just like we always do. We don't know what you're even talking about with this noir stuff.

 

Therefore, this notion that noir is at one and the same time, completely subjective and yet also "traits scattered around numerous films"...this is not a theory; because it talks at cross-purposes. It contradicts itself. 

 

You can't say the first universal thing about noir if you first insist that it is a matter of personal percentage in its very impression. That eliminates shared terminology; or concepts in common.

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5 minutes ago, Sgt_Markoff said:

McCannady1 murmured:

Here's another handy example of why the 'noir is a pan-genre style' fails as far as I am concerned. This poster is using the same language Uncle Joe endorses: 'partial'. 'Somewhat' noir. McCAnnady1 'catches some noir flavor' on his tongue. He decides how much he perceives. A dozen other equivocating phrases.

But how much exactly? He probably can't reply with any answer.

No, McCannady1 probably can't answer you, since she died earlier this year.

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Of course the great all knowing all seeing bloviatior Sgt_Markoff bestows his great wisdom below.....

"My first rule is probably this: I don't even start to label anything a noir unless the lead role is an American male who has been discharged from WWII military service and is now dealing with the difficulties of re-establishing himself back into an American society which seems strange, amoral, and unfamiliar to him.

Another strong determinant for me, is the budget. Low budget productions were the hallmark of noir.

From this basic starting point, is where I start to make exceptions and compromises.

Sure, I might wind up making a lot of exceptions, but these are still some of the ideal ingredients for noir and is (from what I understand) where it all started. Nothing is true noir until after WWII ends."

Sarge hath spoken

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Sure, I remember that. I started off talking about an 'ideal mix' for what the best noir films might have. Its a natural way to start addressing the problem.

But you've got a much more bedrock set of disagreements which fractures any reasoning built along such lines. We can't even hash out what is noir because you're not granting that anything goes into noir. You only evaluate the end results, the output.

Great? I've no greatness. You have a longstanding reputation among the good people of this hangout. Much respected. I'm just passing through, you'll be here long after I'm gone. :(

I'm just a jackdaw and a chatterbox. I run my mouth for relaxation and because I'm right-side hemisphere. Sometimes pleasant and sometimes overly-tenacious. Its just when I hear a preposition which makes no sense to me ...its like a rye seed stuck in my teeth. I work at it and work at it until I can dislodge it. :angry:

You're an educated man, try as I might I can't fathom how you can deny things like history or structure when talking about noir. We could have a slew of good discussions about it.

But this rational which says noir is just 'veneer' is like nails-on-a-blackboard in mah ears! :)

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