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Noir AlleyVerified account @NoirAlley

 
 
 
 

Join us Sun., 9-24 for SCANDAL SHEET ('52) here on #NoirAlley​ hosted by @EddieMuller

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Scandal Sheet did a great job at recreating a newspaper prior to the digital age. As a 20+-year reporter on a city paper in the late 70s through the early 90s, I can tell you not much had changed in the newspapers in those decades from 1952 (when the film was released). We added computers, but they were quite primitive.( I actually preferred our IBM Selectrics and remember the day they hauled them away and replaced them with giant computers at every desk In the city room.)

 

I particularly loved the scene when John Derek (cub reporter) jokingly runs into Broderick Crawford's (executive editor) office and hollers "Stop the presses".  It's an inside joke between the two men because even the scriptwriter knew it was a cliché by 1952.

 

Although there were a lot of references to the "if it bleeds, it ledes" (and that is the way you spell lede in the news biz) style of tabloid journalism, it made me long for the old days: the giant presses running so hard they shook the whole building; gathering potential witnesses whether drunk or sober; traveling out of town to follow-up on tips.

 

Today, anyone and everyone is a "journalist" and instead of "stop the presses" they just hit the "update" key

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Marcar....your post harkened me back to my high school days.  I was one of only four males in a class of 25 to take Typing 1 in my junior year.  All of us learned on Royal manuals.  This was beneficial to me since my older sisters had also taken the class, and we had an older model Royal at home to practice on outside of school (the thing weighed a ton!).  Anyway, toward the end of the semester, once we had 'mastered' the manuals, our teacher had us spend a week in the 'electric typewriting' room of the alma mater's business building.  It was crazy trying to get used to the modern apparati...our fingers were so used to pounding down on the keys of the manual machines that we made many, many mistakes on the electric ones (well, at least this is what happened moreso with the guys than the girls).  The keys were just so sensitive by comparison.  I took the old Royal to college with me, but by the middle of my sophomore year, I purchased a second-hand IBM Selectric.  I became much more proficient in using that baby as time went on, and it served me well until I got my first computer in 1987.

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Marcar....your post harkened me back to my high school days.  I was one of only four males in a class of 25 to take Typing 1 in my junior year.  All of us learned on Royal manuals.  This was beneficial to me since my older sisters had also taken the class, and we had an older model Royal at home to practice on outside of school (the thing weighed a ton!).  Anyway, toward the end of the semester, once we had 'mastered' the manuals, our teacher had us spend a week in the 'electric typewriting' room of the alma mater's business building.  It was crazy trying to get used to the modern apparati...our fingers were so used to pounding down on the keys of the manual machines that we made many, many mistakes on the electric ones (well, at least this is what happened moreso with the guys than the girls).  The keys were just so sensitive by comparison.  I took the old Royal to college with me, but by the middle of my sophomore year, I purchased a second-hand IBM Selectric.  I became much more proficient in using that baby as time went on, and it served me well until I got my first computer in 1987.

I was a little ahead of you in that there were no electric typewriters when I took typing.  Our class was about 20% male, but my high school had two tracks - college prep and general.  Many boys took typing because it would supposedly help in college.  Not sure if it helped my grades, but it did help me earn money.  The college I attended required that a typed report be submitted to explain any deficient conduct.  I got paid to type some.

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Just finished reading "In a Lonely Place" the 1947 novel by Dorothy B. Hughes upon which the 1950 Humphrey Bogart/Gloria Grahame film is based.  What a read!

 

Dark, twisted and psychologically punishing, this book digs deep into the person of Dickson (Dix) Steele and his misogyny. If only the movie had explored that theme and his [spoiler ALERT] career as a rapist and serial killer.

 

Why did Hollywood or Nicholas Ray change the ending? It must be the usual story that audiences wouldn't accept Bogie or any other big star as an anti-hero or villain. Or that Dix's string of rape/murders was just too distasteful for the viewers.

 

If you like this movie (and apparently Eddie Muller does very much), I really urge you to read the book. You'll get a better insight into Dix and Laurel and even the Nicolais (Brub and Sylvia).

 

Just before killing a woman on the beach Dix is described as follows:

 

​Lost in a world of swirling fog and crashing wave, a world empty of all these things and his grief and the keening of the foghorn far at sea. Lost in a lonely place. And the red knots tightened in his brain.

 

​Then he runs into the woman on the beach who he will murder:

 

​He smiled. She didn't know behind that smile lay his hatred of Laurel, hatred of Brub and Sylvia...of everyone in the living world...

 

​Now, that's noir.

 

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Just finished reading "In a Lonely Place" the 1947 novel by Dorothy B. Hughes upon which the 1950 Humphrey Bogart/Gloria Grahame film is based.  What a read!

 

Dark, twisted and psychologically punishing, this book digs deep into the person of Dickson (Dix) Steele and his misogyny. If only the movie had explored that theme and his [spoiler ALERT] career as a rapist and serial killer.

 

Why did Hollywood or Nicholas Ray change the ending? It must be the usual story that audiences wouldn't accept Bogie or any other big star as an anti-hero or villain. Or that Dix's string of rape/murders was just too distasteful for the viewers.

 

If you like this movie (and apparently Eddie Muller does very much), I really urge you to read the book. You'll get a better insight into Dix and Laurel and even the Nicolais (Brub and Sylvia).

 

Just before killing a woman on the beach Dix is described as follows:

 

​Lost in a world of swirling fog and crashing wave, a world empty of all these things and his grief and the keening of the foghorn far at sea. Lost in a lonely place. And the red knots tightened in his brain.

 

​Then he runs into the woman on the beach who he will murder:

 

​He smiled. She didn't know behind that smile lay his hatred of Laurel, hatred of Brub and Sylvia...of everyone in the living world...

 

​Now, that's noir.

 

In a Lonely Place, by Dorothy B. Hughes, is indeed a great read. It was so good, was so noir, and delved so deep into Dix Steele's thinking that it was unnerving. Hughes never goes into detail about the murders, and yet the psychological point of view, from Steele's perspective, is still unnerving. She puts the reader inside his head, and it is most definitely not a pleasant place to be. It's a great work of fiction.

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In a Lonely Place, by Dorothy B. Hughes, is indeed a great read. It was so good, was so noir, and delved so deep into Dix Steele's thinking that it was unnerving. Hughes never goes into detail about the murders, and yet the psychological point of view, from Steele's perspective, is still unnerving. She puts the reader inside his head, and it is most definitely not a pleasant place to be. It's a great work of fiction.

 

I am definitely getting this book.  My thanks to marcar and Marianne and everyone else for bringing it to my attention. 

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I post this message with all seriousness and respect for others with different opinions:

 

Can you please tell me or suggest how you find reading a book such as In A Lonely Place interesting / enjoyable / etc. ?

 

I have been having a problem with the darker Noir films in general because this is not a place I really want to dwell in that deeply.  I see so many things in the world that are depressing as it is that I would rather avoid that when I look for entertainment.  Perhaps this is just a superficial view of things.

 

I do understand showing other parts of life experiences; I know everything isn't rosy and it is good to see what can happen to others.  For example, I did enjoy He Ran All the Way because I could see the struggle between a person and the influences around them (Garfield was fantastic) and it wasn't just all black.  But the descriptions I see here of getting into the mind of a rapist and serial killer sounds awful to me.

 

I'm not trying to win any points with this question, I'm just interested in the discussion.

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I post this message with all seriousness and respect for others with different opinions:

 

Can you please tell me or suggest how you find reading a book such as In A Lonely Place interesting / enjoyable / etc. ?

 

I have been having a problem with the darker Noir films in general because this is not a place I really want to dwell in that deeply.  I see so many things in the world that are depressing as it is that I would rather avoid that when I look for entertainment.  Perhaps this is just a superficial view of things.

 

I do understand showing other parts of life experiences; I know everything isn't rosy and it is good to see what can happen to others.  For example, I did enjoy He Ran All the Way because I could see the struggle between a person and the influences around them (Garfield was fantastic) and it wasn't just all black.  But the descriptions I see here of getting into the mind of a rapist and serial killer sounds awful to me.

 

I'm not trying to win any points with this question, I'm just interested in the discussion.

 

Good questions.  For me, when it comes to reading books, I like dark fiction like noir or horror.  I just like it.  I don't know If I can articulate it but I find the psychology of a dark mind interesting but I do like happy endings, too, which often don't happen in dark fiction.  I certainly agree about the world being depressing right now so when I watch TV, I watch a lot of sports and TCM but also  news.  I guess it's a balance.  Several people had commented about how good the book IN A LONELY PLACE was so it piqued my interest and I just ordered it from Amazon.  I get where you're coming from and certainly respect your opinion.  Thanks for sharing.

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I post this message with all seriousness and respect for others with different opinions:

 

Can you please tell me or suggest how you find reading a book such as In A Lonely Place interesting / enjoyable / etc. ?

 

I have been having a problem with the darker Noir films in general because this is not a place I really want to dwell in that deeply.  I see so many things in the world that are depressing as it is that I would rather avoid that when I look for entertainment.  Perhaps this is just a superficial view of things.

 

I do understand showing other parts of life experiences; I know everything isn't rosy and it is good to see what can happen to others.  For example, I did enjoy He Ran All the Way because I could see the struggle between a person and the influences around them (Garfield was fantastic) and it wasn't just all black.  But the descriptions I see here of getting into the mind of a rapist and serial killer sounds awful to me.

 

I'm not trying to win any points with this question, I'm just interested in the discussion.

 

I can see your viewpoint as I too like to watch films as an escape from the horrible things that are happening every day in the world.  However, sometimes despite that, I'm in the mood for a gritty noir or an overwrought drama or what not.  

 

These are some of the reasons how and why I can watch movies with less than savory subject matter:

 

1) If it's a film from Old Hollywood, like In a Lonely Place (for example) or M (a film that deals with a serial killer who targets children), I still enjoy watching them because it's like opening a time capsule into the era in which it was made.  In The Lonely Place, I can see things as how they were in 1949/1950.  Seeing the costumes, furnishings, cars, etc. is sometimes just as interesting as the film itself.

 

2) If the film stars an actor that I'm a big fan of, like Bogart for example, then that in and of itself can be a big draw for me to see the film.  

 

3) If the film is significant in some fashion.  For example, it was the first film to show xx, it was so-and-so's film debut, it won the Oscar, someone was killed on set, etc. Some films are not all that great, but they have some type of behind the scenes event or something else that makes it significant.  For example, Too Many Girls is not that great of a film, however, Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz met on the set.  Had these two performers not been cast in this film, we might have never had I Love Lucy and who knows if Lucy and Desi would be as well known as they are today? 

 

4) The acting, directing, writing, etc.  If all the various components come together just right and the film is compelling, even if it is unsettling, it will keep me interested.  For example, Cape Fear with Gregory Peck and Robert Mitchum is very creepy but it kept me glued to the set from beginning to end.  Mitchum was very frightening and scary, especially in the scene between him and Polly Bergen.  

 

5) Plus, the world of noir can be a fantasy world in and of itself.  The detectives clad in trench coats and fedoras, the frequent use of narration, the emphasis on shadows, the "quippy" dialogue, the femme fatale, and all the other tropes frequently used in noir all transport you to a gritty, stylized underworld that really only exists in the movies.  Look at Double Indemnity, the crime that Fred MacMurray and Barbara Stanwyck commit happens frequently (I'm basing this on my copious viewing of Forensic Files), but in the film, this looks like one of the most glamorous and romantic activities a couple could do with one another--murdering the other person's spouse and making it look like an accident. In reality, people that commit these crimes are usually not very clever and do a sloppy job and are caught within days. 

 

For me, I am not a fan of movies with rape scenes (I don't mean implied rape, I mean full on rape scenes) and movies where the beloved animal dies.  The movie was very creepy and disturbing, but Peter Lorre was fascinating and I was entertained (not in the funny "ha ha" way of course) from start to finish.

 

There are also those films of course, that after you see them once, even if they were interesting and good, you have no desire to ever see it again. 

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In a Lonely Place, by Dorothy B. Hughes, is indeed a great read. It was so good, was so noir, and delved so deep into Dix Steele's thinking that it was unnerving. Hughes never goes into detail about the murders, and yet the psychological point of view, from Steele's perspective, is still unnerving. She puts the reader inside his head, and it is most definitely not a pleasant place to be. It's a great work of fiction.

 

I agree with this post. Hughes never dwells on the murders, never writes about them specifically, only implies rape, etc. If it was more than that I probably would have a problem with it too.But she does it in a way that is so inside his head that it is fascinating.

 

And you can't dismiss the fact that a woman understood this misogyny so clearly and fully, and was able to convey that on the page. I don't know anything about Hughes' personal life, but I'd like to find out what made her such a great writer and if the events in her life steered her toward noir and to create a character such as Dix.

 

This is how Megan Abbott, who has studied film noir and hard-boiled fiction at NYU, puts it in her afterword:

 

​...without the purpose and glory the war brought, Dix is unmoored, unstable and dangerous. And while we remain in his head for much of the book it's what he does mostly in the gaps between the chapters, the startling ellipses, that forms the dark marrow of the novel.

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Just finished reading "In a Lonely Place" the 1947 novel by Dorothy B. Hughes upon which the 1950 Humphrey Bogart/Gloria Grahame film is based.  What a read!

 

Dark, twisted and psychologically punishing, this book digs deep into the person of Dickson (Dix) Steele and his misogyny. If only the movie had explored that theme and his [spoiler ALERT] career as a rapist and serial killer.

 

Why did Hollywood or Nicholas Ray change the ending? It must be the usual story that audiences wouldn't accept Bogie or any other big star as an anti-hero or villain. Or that Dix's string of rape/murders was just too distasteful for the viewers.

 

If you like this movie (and apparently Eddie Muller does very much), I really urge you to read the book. You'll get a better insight into Dix and Laurel and even the Nicolais (Brub and Sylvia).

 

Just before killing a woman on the beach Dix is described as follows:

 

​Lost in a world of swirling fog and crashing wave, a world empty of all these things and his grief and the keening of the foghorn far at sea. Lost in a lonely place. And the red knots tightened in his brain.

 

​Then he runs into the woman on the beach who he will murder:

 

​He smiled. She didn't know behind that smile lay his hatred of Laurel, hatred of Brub and Sylvia...of everyone in the living world...

 

​Now, that's noir.

 

This post has motivated me to write about my own, apparently unorthodox, view of film noir,  that is as far as I can tell, radically different from what most people who participate on these boards think of as noir.

 

In fact, I feel so strongly about this, I was going to start a whole new thread about it. But then I decided that this "Noir Alley" thread is as good a place as any to say what I want to say on noir and how it seems to diverge from what many others' idea of it is.

 

marcar talks about the novel In a Lonely Place.  She describes how the author gets into the mind of the Dixon Steele character, with all its creepy violence and pathological nastiness and misogyny. The mind of a rapist and a serial killer.  She (marcar) quotes some lines from the book, describing the twisted thoughts and the hatred going through the mind of Steele just before he kills some woman he's encountered on a beach.

Then she - marcar, the poster - says,  "Now, that's noir."  

 

I completely disagree with this idea of the workings of a serial killer's mind as ultimate "noir". 

 

First, I want to say I mean no disrespect to marcar, who strikes me as an intelligent poster. I appreciate her review of the book. What prompted me to write this was, not just marcar's declaration that the ugly workings of a rapist and killer's mind is "Noir", but that so many agree with her.  I'm in the minority here.

 

What I'm trying to say is this:  Everyone's always going on about how nasty and bleak film noir is, and how it's all about the dark side of human nature, etc. etc.  Yes, of course. That's why it's called film noir. I know that. And yes, I love that the world of noir is full of dark shadows and rain and desperate characters. But to me, noir is NOT about psycho killers  or serial rapists. That is, there sometimes are such characters in film noir movies, but they are never the main characters, they're not the protagonists. If such characters do appear in a noir, they are depicted as repellent figures with whom we do not identify, and they are usually peripheral to the story.

 

Psycho killers and serial rapists belong to a different genre altogether - horror movies. Whether I like that genre or not is irrelevent; my point is, that kind of character does not dominate the genre I love and that I'm talking about here: film noir.

 

When I first discovered this style of film, back in the 80s, I was intrigued by its beautiful atmospheric black and white visuals, its seedy urban settings, and most of all, its desperate, often outcast characters. But almost always, the protagonist ( a better word than "hero") is someone we can identify with in some way. He ( almost always a "he") is usually an ordinary guy, a common man who, due to some bizarre twist of fate combined with a self-destructive weakness, gets drawn into a series of terrible circumstances over which he has no control. 

 

This noir everyman character is often isolated from the mainstream of society, he's alienated, bitter - maybe because he was given a raw deal when he returned from the war, or he was imprisoned unjustly, or he's recovering from some traumatic experience. Often - but not always - he's led astray because he's in sexual thrall to a woman. Or he's trapped in a situation from which the only escape is to co-operate with a gang of criminals.

He may encounter psychotic violent characters on his noir journey ( yes, film noir is rife with these), but he is not one himself, and we the audience do not relate to these characters.

Also:  more often than not, the protagonist comes out alive at the end of this journey. Changed, yes. In the best noirs, the hero is profoundly altered by his experience. But he usually lives. I've noticed a lot of people seem to think most noirs end with the hero's death.  (For sure, there are a few - "The Postman Always Rings Twice"  and "Double Indemnity" are two obvious examples - but there are just as many, and I believe more, that end with the protagonist alive and free - albeit different than he was before.)

 

Ok, this is a long and I'm afraid, somewhat rambling post.

But I really wanted to make this point, that I don't agree that noir is about evil people - or at least,  it does not celebrate evil. It celebrates the dark side of life, but that to me is not evil. What noir really does more than anything, and what I like most about it, is explore and validate the grey side of human nature. Most people are neither "good" nor "evil", and noir acknowledges this more than any other film genre. If typical "noir" was about what goes on in the mind of a sick violent man who enjoys killing women, I wouldn't love noir.

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I AM LOVING ALL THE RECENT POSTS!!!

 

Forgiveness, but I'll repost this just in case any of you fans of the book want to hear it- it's an hour-long 1948(?) SUSPENSE RADIO SHOW adaptation of IN A LONELY PLACE starring ROBERT MONTGOMERY and is, as I recall, a lot more faithful to the source novel.

 

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I agree with this post. Hughes never dwells on the murders, never writes about them specifically, only implies rape, etc. If it was more than that I probably would have a problem with it too.But she does it in a way that is so inside his head that it is fascinating.

 

And you can't dismiss the fact that a woman understood this misogyny so clearly and fully, and was able to convey that on the page. I don't know anything about Hughes' personal life, but I'd like to find out what made her such a great writer and if the events in her life steered her toward noir and to create a character such as Dix.

 

This is how Megan Abbott, who has studied film noir and hard-boiled fiction at NYU, puts it in her afterword:

 

​...without the purpose and glory the war brought, Dix is unmoored, unstable and dangerous. And while we remain in his head for much of the book it's what he does mostly in the gaps between the chapters, the startling ellipses, that forms the dark marrow of the novel.

 

***Spoiler Alert***

 

I like this quote from Megan Abbott about the book.

 

Another thing that makes the book version of In a Lonely Place so fascinating is that, in spite of Dix Steele's misogyny and in spite of the narrative being told from Steele's point of view, two female characters are the ones who help to bring him down. The reader goes along for the ride inside Steele's head, but the events "in the gaps between the chapters" aren't just about Steele and what he does. I think the book is a strong statement about women and the strength of their resolve. It may be an unsettling read, but it's a very satisfying one on so many levels.

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This post has motivated me to write about my own, apparently unorthodox, view of film noir,  that is as far as I can tell, radically different from what most people who participate on these boards think of as noir.

 

In fact, I feel so strongly about this, I was going to start a whole new thread about it. But then I decided that this "Noir Alley" thread is as good a place as any to say what I want to say on noir and how it seems to diverge from what many others' idea of it is.

 

marcar talks about the novel In a Lonely Place.  She describes how the author gets into the mind of the Dixon Steele character, with all its creepy violence and pathological nastiness and misogyny. The mind of a rapist and a serial killer.  She (marcar) quotes some lines from the book, describing the twisted thoughts and the hatred going through the mind of Steele just before he kills some woman he's encountered on a beach.

Then she - marcar, the poster - says,  "Now, that's noir."  

 

I completely disagree with this idea of the workings of a serial killer's mind as ultimate "noir". 

 

First, I want to say I mean no disrespect to marcar, who strikes me as an intelligent poster. I appreciate her review of the book. What prompted me to write this was, not just marcar's declaration that the ugly workings of a rapist and killer's mind is "Noir", but that so many agree with her.  I'm in the minority here.

 

What I'm trying to say is this:  Everyone's always going on about how nasty and bleak film noir is, and how it's all about the dark side of human nature, etc. etc.  Yes, of course. That's why it's called film noir. I know that. And yes, I love that the world of noir is full of dark shadows and rain and desperate characters. But to me, noir is NOT about psycho killers  or serial rapists. That is, there sometimes are such characters in film noir movies, but they are never the main characters, they're not the protagonists. If such characters do appear in a noir, they are depicted as repellent figures with whom we do not identify, and they are usually peripheral to the story.

 

Psycho killers and serial rapists belong to a different genre altogether - horror movies. Whether I like that genre or not is irrelevent; my point is, that kind of character does not dominate the genre I love and that I'm talking about here: film noir.

 

When I first discovered this style of film, back in the 80s, I was intrigued by its beautiful atmospheric black and white visuals, its seedy urban settings, and most of all, its desperate, often outcast characters. But almost always, the protagonist ( a better word than "hero") is someone we can identify with in some way. He ( almost always a "he") is usually an ordinary guy, a common man who, due to some bizarre twist of fate combined with a self-destructive weakness, gets drawn into a series of terrible circumstances over which he has no control. 

 

This noir everyman character is often isolated from the mainstream of society, he's alienated, bitter - maybe because he was given a raw deal when he returned from the war, or he was imprisoned unjustly, or he's recovering from some traumatic experience. Often - but not always - he's led astray because he's in sexual thrall to a woman. Or he's trapped in a situation from which the only escape is to co-operate with a gang of criminals.

He may encounter psychotic violent characters on his noir journey ( yes, film noir is rife with these), but he is not one himself, and we the audience do not relate to these characters.

Also:  more often than not, the protagonist comes out alive at the end of this journey. Changed, yes. In the best noirs, the hero is profoundly altered by his experience. But he usually lives. I've noticed a lot of people seem to think most noirs end with the hero's death.  (For sure, there are a few - "The Postman Always Rings Twice"  and "Double Indemnity" are two obvious examples - but there are just as many, and I believe more, that end with the protagonist alive and free - albeit different than he was before.)

 

Ok, this is a long and I'm afraid, somewhat rambling post.

But I really wanted to make this point, that I don't agree that noir is about evil people - or at least,  it does not celebrate evil. It celebrates the dark side of life, but that to me is not evil. What noir really does more than anything, and what I like most about it, is explore and validate the grey side of human nature. Most people are neither "good" nor "evil", and noir acknowledges this more than any other film genre. If typical "noir" was about what goes on in the mind of a sick violent man who enjoys killing women, I wouldn't love noir.

 

First with the topic of Film Noir it's all subjective. Noir is in all of us. Think of us all as having an internal tuning fork, these tuning forks are forged by our individual 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."

 

To one extreme some folks do not consider a film a Noir unless it has a detective and a femme fatale, the other end of the scale has hucksters and promoters declaring practically every Crime film a Noir as a "cool" selling point. But in it's original coinage, films noir, ran a gamut of subjects other than just Crime films.

 

I hold the Visual aspect in ascendance along with story, and consider Noir a style of  filmmaking rather than a pure genre.

 

Let's start with the origins. The original circa 1930s French coinage "films noir" (from French right wing and religious publications associated film noirs with the poetic realist movement that was closely associated with the leftist Popular Front)  definition, i.e., "the content contains murder or suicide and the other social taboos that are a mainstay of the film noirs."  this was applied, at the time, to those particular poetic realist films that the publications did not approve of, i.e., Pierre Chenal’s “Crime and Punishment” (1935), Jean Renoir’s “The Lower Depths” (Les Bas-fonds) (1936), Julien Duvivier’s “Pépé le Moko” (1937), Jeff Musso’s “The Puritan” (1938), Marcel Carné’s “Port of Shadows” (Le Quai des brumes) (1938), Jean Renoir’s “La Bête Humaine” (1938), Marcel Carné’s “Hôtel du Nord” (1938), Marcel Carné’s “Le Jour se lève” (Daybreak) 1939, and Pierre Chenal’s “Le Dernier Tournant” (1939). 

 

If we take the original coinage to the extreme the ultimately bleakest, purest in essence Noir Films would be Snuff Films, Propaganda, and Porno.

 

The second coming of the term was when it was used in Nino Frank and Jean Pierre Chartier's articles describing a handful of visual and thematically dark 1940s American Films that first reached France at the end of WWII. This is the usage that we are familiar with. Most of the films cited by Nino Frank and Jean Pierre Chartier were Cime films but one "The Lost Weekend" was a psychological noir about addiction.

 

Other later addiction noirs are, "The Man With The Golden Arm", "Stake Out On Dope Street", there are probably more.

 

A few serial killer Noirs were made also one right from the get go, Stranger on the Third Floor (1941), others Shadow of a Doubt (1943)  Follow Me Quietly (1949). M (1951), The Sniper (1952), While the City Sleeps (1956), of course the success of Psycho (1960)  combined with the demise of the MPPC kicked the door wide open to psychological based noirs. From IMDb "It was unprecedented in its depiction of sexuality and violence, right from the opening scene in which Sam and Marion are shown as lovers sharing the same bed, with Marion in a bra."

 

(more from IMDb) The public loved the film, with lines stretching outside of theaters as people had to wait for the next showing. This, along with box office numbers, led to a reconsideration of the film by critics, and it eventually received a very large amount of praise. It broke box-office records in Japan and the rest of Asia, France, Britain, South America, the United States, and Canada, and was a moderate success in Australia for a brief period.....  Psycho was, by a large margin, the most profitable film of Hitchcock's career, earning over $12 million for the studio on release, and $15 million by the end of the year.

 

I've said this before, I think, what was going on post 1959 is, as the Motion Picture Production Code weakened and independent poverty row and low budget film creators were allowed more artistic freedom. So those Visual Stylistic Film Noir that went too far over the line depicting violence started getting classified as Horror, Thriller (even though they were just say, showing the effects of a gunshot wound, or dealing with weird serial killers, maniacs, and psychotics, etc.). Those that went too far depicting sexual, drug, torture, etc., situations were being lumped into or classed as various Exploitation flicks, (even though they are relatively tame comparably to today's films). The the noir-ish films that dealt with everything else, except Crime, concerning the human condition were labeled Dramas and Suspense. Those that tried new techniques, lenses, etc., were labeled Experimental. Some films are so so bad in all aspects that they acquire the "so bad it's good" Cult status.

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i feel like adding- almost as an aside- that my passion for classic movies and especially thrillers and noirs really escalated when I turned 15.

 

the year was 1993 and I was an avid reader and i found myself visiting a town that had THE BEST USED BOOKSTORE EVER TO EXIST. They had everything, I swear to God. If you asked nicely enough, they probably had a copy of THE NECRONOMICAN with a real working eye on it and everything...

 

anyhoo, I came across the source novels for THE LADY VANISHES, THE SPIRAL STAIRCASE, SPELLBOUND, THIS GUN FOR HIRE and a few others, including the DOROTHY HUGHS novel IN A LONELY PLACE....

 

****ETA: the novel SUDDEN FEAR is based on too- a really decrepit paperback that irritated my throat.*****

 

nerd alert: I was euphoric.

 

Over the next year, I read them all and was actually disappointed by near every one with the surprising exception of THE SPIRAL STAIRCASE, whose source novel (i still assert) BLOWS THE FILM OUT OF THE WATER.

 

It was, overall, an interesting and very valuable lesson for me in terms of adapting books to film- because in just about every case, the screenwriter sped things up, cut fat, and often wove a lot of much-needed missing elements and characters out of their own imagination.

 

they made the stories a lot better, or in some cases (ie SPELLBOUND) really just took an idea and ran with it.

 

I think IN A LONELY PLACE was one of the last of the haul for me to get to reading, and by that time, i was used to being letdown by book-to-film adaptations so i don't think i had a great deal of expectations for it, i remember rating it **1/2 stars out of my one to four star rating system i had for every book i read at the time.

 

why, yes, i was late to lose my virginity, what makes you ask?

 

anyhoo, it's been 24 YEARS (!!!!) soes, maybe I should give it another looksie...I know reading books that are set in California/LA have a lot more meaning for me since i lived there for a few years some time ago.

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i feel like adding- almost as an aside- that my passion for classic movies and especially thrillers and noirs really escalated when I turned 15.

 

the year was 1993 and I was an avid reader and i found myself visiting a town that had THE BEST USED BOOKSTORE EVER TO EXIST. They had everything, I swear to God. If you asked nicely enough, they probably had a copy of THE NECRONOMICAN with a real working eye on it and everything...

 

anyhoo, I came across the source novels for THE LADY VANISHES, THE SPIRAL STAIRCASE, SPELLBOUND, THIS GUN FOR HIRE and a few others, including the DOROTHY HUGHS novel IN A LONELY PLACE....

 

****ETA: the novel SUDDEN FEAR is based on too- a really decrepit paperback that irritated my throat.*****

 

nerd alert: I was euphoric.

 

Over the next year, I read them all and was actually disappointed by near every one with the surprising exception of THE SPIRAL STAIRCASE, whose source novel (i still assert) BLOWS THE FILM OUT OF THE WATER.

 

It was, overall, an interesting and very valuable lesson for me in terms of adapting books to film- because in just about every case, the screenwriter sped things up, cut fat, and often wove a lot of much-needed missing elements and characters out of their own imagination.

 

they made the stories a lot better, or in some cases (ie SPELLBOUND) really just took an idea and ran with it.

 

I think IN A LONELY PLACE was one of the last of the haul for me to get to reading, and by that time, i was used to being letdown by book-to-film adaptations so i don't think i had a great deal of expectations for it, i remember rating it **1/2 stars out of my one to four star rating system i had for every book i read at the time.

 

why, yes, i was late to lose my virginity, what makes you ask?

 

anyhoo, it's been 24 YEARS (!!!!) soes, maybe I should give it another looksie...I know reading books that are set in California/LA have a lot more meaning for me since i lived there for a few years some time ago.

You should try and get a hold of the novel  Nightmare Alley, that one is pretty outrageous and quite a bit more explicit, than the film. 

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You should try and get a hold of the novel Nightmare Alley, that one is pretty outrageous and quite a bit more explicit, than the film.

Um, ok- this is getting freaky, BUT THAT WAS ANOTHER TITLE I BOUGHT THAT DAY!

 

Even weirder- I didn't read it then and kept the copy for about 22 years, and then about two years ago, I read it...I mentioned it in s post somewhere the other day...

 

I liked it, but I felt like it could've used a stronger hand in editing. It's about 20 or 30 pages too long, some of Greshams ramblings needed to be reined in a little, in my opinion at least.

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Um, ok- this is getting freaky, BUT THAT WAS ANOTHER TITLE I BOUGHT THAT DAY!

 

Even weirder- I didn't read it then and kept the copy for about 22 years, and then about two years ago, I read it...I mentioned it in s post somewhere the other day...

 

I liked it, but I felt like it could've used a stronger hand in editing. It's about 20 or 30 pages too long, some of Greshams ramblings needed to be reined in a little, in my opinion at least.

Probably me, but I have noticed over the past few years that I really don't like some of the long books by authors I used to enjoy.

I am speaking of mystery, detective, suspense, thriller types.  Most of the authors seem to take 400-500 pages now to say what they said in 300 pages or so when first starting out.

And I think a lot of it is way too much philosophizing by the authors.  As well as an overabundance of lengthy, minute descriptions of everything.

The Noir era books were short and this resulted in good movies in a two hour or less time frame.  

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Um, ok- this is getting freaky, BUT THAT WAS ANOTHER TITLE I BOUGHT THAT DAY!

 

Even weirder- I didn't read it then and kept the copy for about 22 years, and then about two years ago, I read it...I mentioned it in s post somewhere the other day...

 

I liked it, but I felt like it could've used a stronger hand in editing. It's about 20 or 30 pages too long, some of Greshams ramblings needed to be reined in a little, in my opinion at least.

Yes it was a bit long winded towards the end. I was hoping to get more detail on the code they used.

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Yes [THE WILLIAM LINDSAY GRESHAM NOVEL NIGHTMARE ALLEY] was a bit long winded towards the end. I was hoping to get more detail on the code they used.

Uh huh.

Soes you and The Missus could take it to the suckers on the Hotel circuit and ride the Gravy Train to someplace quaint and paid for in cash?

I see you, Cigar.

(and i respect you for it)

 

many of you may know this, but the guy who wrote NIGHTMARE ALLEY (and then killed himself) was married to Joy Gresham- a small-time poet whose second marriage to CS LEWIS and tragic early death became the basis for the utterly touching and lovely SHADOWLANDS- this might come off as mawkish, but I take an aside to recommend the novelization of the film, something i don't usually partake of, but in the case of this story- it was better than the movie by a mile.

 

having read a bit of Lewis, ALLEY provides an intriguing yin to his yang; one can only imagine what the experience of being so close to two such VASTLY DIFFERENT but deeply artistic men successively was like...

 

as i recall, ALLEY was something ca. 250 pages long, and the first hundred pages are like a machine, things chug right along...until- as is often the case with thriller writers, ie Jim Thompson- he gets all "arty" and starts doing delirious, rambling, grandiose, drunken abstracts via a dubious narrator that render the whole story into a potential fever dream with no resolution in sight, and- while said abstracts can be well-done, and while they sometimes work to heighten suspense, they can be trying on the patience of a reader that you've lured in with a solid, well-oiled, relatively linear first half.

 

I think if about 20 pages worth of delirium were trimmed from the end, NIGHTMARE would rate at least a solid three and a half out of four stars, whereas for now, I'd give it a good, even three.

 

**NIGHTMARE ALLEY would make a pretty RAD comic book...I'm sorry, Intense Graphic Novel....

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It's called film​ noir

 

Not film gris

 

Ooh, that's so clever. Why didn't I think of that?  How can I like film noir because I think it explores the grey  (oops - gris) side of human nature, rather than its dark, evil side? 

 

Look, I don't like being sarcastic, but I feel the post I wrote about my take on what film noir is deserved a little better than a quick easy riposte.

 

In my response to your post about In a Lonely Place  (and of course I'm very aware that you were talking about the book, not the movie, and I recognize there are many differences)  I think I was careful to be respectful towards you and what you wrote, and also, careful to state that how I regard film noir seems to be quite different from what most people here, obviously including you, see it.

 

I will say again, film noir to me is not about getting inside the head of a psycho killer or otherwise depicting the most nasty and violent aspects of humanity. It's about an average person  (ok, usually "man")  who gets unwittingly and unwillingly caught up in a nasty, violent, and yes, dark situation, the whys and hows of this situation, and how he is changed.

 

As cigarjoe said in response to my post, 

 

"First with the topic of Film Noir it's all subjective. Noir is in all of us. Think of us all as having an internal tuning fork, these tuning forks are forged by our individual 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 yes, again, I understand that some - looks like many - people who see themselves as film noir fans think of it as much darker  ( as in evil) than I do. I don't agree with that interpretation of this style of film, but hey, chacun a son gout.

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Ooh, that's so clever. Why didn't I think of that?  How can I like film noir because I think it explores the grey  (oops - gris) side of human nature, rather than its dark, evil side? 

 

Look, I don't like being sarcastic, but I feel the post I wrote about my take on what film noir is deserved a little better than a quick easy riposte.

 

In my response to your post about In a Lonely Place  (and of course I'm very aware that you were talking about the book, not the movie, and I recognize there are many differences)  I think I was careful to be respectful towards you and what you wrote, and also, careful to state that how I regard film noir seems to be quite different from what most people here, obviously including you, see it.

 

I will say again, film noir to me is not about getting inside the head of a psycho killer or otherwise depicting the most nasty and violent aspects of humanity. It's about an average person  (ok, usually "man")  who gets unwittingly and unwillingly caught up in a nasty, violent, and yes, dark situation, the whys and hows of this situation, and how he is changed.

 

As cigarjoe said in response to my post, 

 

"First with the topic of Film Noir it's all subjective. Noir is in all of us. Think of us all as having an internal tuning fork, these tuning forks are forged by our individual 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 yes, again, I understand that some - looks like many - people who see themselves as film noir fans think of it as much darker  ( as in evil) than I do. I don't agree with that interpretation of this style of film, but hey, chacun a son gout.

 

So how to you feel about noirs like Born to Kill?      I agree with your overall point that noir is generally "about an average person  (ok, usually "man")  who gets unwittingly and unwillingly caught up in a nasty, violent, and yes, dark situation, the whys and hows of this situation, and how he is changed".

 

But there are also many psycho noirs and I just wonder if you enjoy those films. 

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