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Barton_Keyes

Noir Alley

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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. 

 

Nope. Not big on the "psycho noirs".

 

But that's not to say I don't enjoy the odd psycho case in a noir - such as Richard Widmark's unforgettable Tommy Udo in Kiss of Death, or William Bendix's sadistic thug in The Glass Key.

 

And of course there are lots more, too numerous to mention.

 

I don't have a problem with the inclusion of violent psycho types in classic noir  (you know, like, 1942 - 1960). It's just when that type of character is celebrated in some way - or when they're the main character (as in, yeah, Lawrence Tierney in Born to Kill - this is not one of my favourites)  that I'm not crazy about. (No pun intended.)

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Nope. Not big on the "psycho noirs".

 

But that's not to say I don't enjoy the odd psycho case in a noir - such as Richard Widmark's unforgettable Tommy Udo in Kiss of Death, or William Bendix's sadistic thug in The Glass Key.

 

And of course there are lots more, too numerous to mention.

 

I don't have a problem with the inclusion of violent psycho types in classic noir  (you know, like, 1942 - 1960). It's just when that type of character is celebrated in some way - or when they're the main character (as in, yeah, Lawrence Tierney in Born to Kill - this is not one of my favourites)  that I'm not crazy about. (No pun intended.)

 

I understand this POV and I have a similar one.    I also think that too many people view noir as having a psycho type or even femme fatale as some type of "requirement" in that films that don't feature these motifs are somehow not 'true' noirs. 

 

E.g.  many view Gloria Grahame as the queen of noir but were surprised when I pointed out that in most of the noir films she was in she was NOT a femme fatale.      Same with Mitchum;  yea,  Night of the Hunter and Cape Fear are well known noirs but in most films,  Mitchum plays a character like Jeff in Out of the Past   (I.e. the type of character we both prefer over a psycho type).

 

Of course there are films that combine these motifs like Gun Crazy where the women is a psycho type and a femme fatale but the man is just an average guy driven to his doom because of sexual desires.    I'm sympathetic to this type of character and for me that adds depth to the film.   

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I understand this POV and I have a similar one.    I also think that too many people view noir as having a psycho type or even femme fatale as some type of "requirement" in that films that don't feature these motifs are somehow not 'true' noirs. 

 

E.g.  many view Gloria Grahame as the queen of noir but were surprised when I pointed out that in most of the noir films she was in she was NOT a femme fatale.      Same with Mitchum;  yea,  Night of the Hunter and Cape Fear are well known noirs but in most films,  Mitchum plays a character like Jeff in Out of the Past   (I.e. the type of character we both prefer over a psycho type).

 

Of course there are films that combine these motifs like Gun Crazy where the women is a psycho type and a femme fatale but the man is just an average guy driven to his doom because of sexual desires.    I'm sympathetic to this type of character and for me that adds depth to the film.   

Let's not forget Vera in DetourB)

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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.

 

Good post.  Didn't mean to be disrespectful. I appreciate your views, believe me. I was just being a little smart **** and you did mention grey. Sorry if my attempt to lighten the discussion came off as insulting. Honestly, I didn't mean it that way. As you say, (roughly translated)  to each his (or her) own... starting a firestorm was not my purpose.

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Meant to ask is Noir Alley changing it's 10 a.m. Sunday spot? Did I read that somewhere?

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Since jamesjazzguitar brought it up here is the list for Queens Of Noir, female actresses with the most film noir under their hummmm, garter belts.

 

Ida Lupino 16

Shelley Winters 11

Joan Crawford 10

Claire Trevor 10

Gloria Grahame 9

Barbara Stanwyck 9

Audrey Totter 9

Jan Sterling 8

Evelyn Keyes 7

Dorothy Malone 7

Lizabeth Scott 7

Nina Foch 6

Joan Fontaine 6

Agnes Moorehead 6

Marie Windsor 5

Linda Darnell 5

Rhonda Fleming 5

Susan Hayward 5

Elsa Lanchester 5

Ingrid Bergman 4

Mercedes McCambridge 4

Ann Sheridan 4

Gene Tierney 4

Joan Bennett 4 

Anne Bancroft 4

Rita Hayworth 3

Belita 3

Lauren Bacall 3

Hillary Brooke 3

Peggie Castle 3

Jean Peters 3

Arlene Dahl 2

Barbara Payton 2

Wanda Hendrix 2

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Meant to ask is Noir Alley changing it's 10 a.m. Sunday spot? Did I read that somewhere?

 

It's rumored that it may be moving to a Primetime spot on either Friday or Saturday in 2018, but this hasn't been confirmed.

 

I think that's a great idea.  I have to record all the Noir Alley films because they're on at 7am on Sunday morning! That is not a very "noir-y" time in my opinion.

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Not looking to start a fracas, but I gots to question the receipts on the claim that Joan Crawford appeared in 10 films noir...

 

Legit films noir in which she appeared: MILDRED, POSSESSED, THE DAMNED DONT CRY, SUDDEN FEAR! ...outside of that I'm kind of racking my brain.

 

THIS WOMAN IS DANGEROUS is a crime film, JOHNNY GUITAR not really one you can peg, and DAISY KENYON and HARRIET CRAIG are both melodramas with shadowy lighting.

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Not looking to start a fracas, but I gots to question the receipts on the claim that Joan Crawford appeared in 10 films noir...

 

Legit films noir in which she appeared: MILDRED, POSSESSED, THE DAMNED DONT CRY, SUDDEN FEAR! ...outside of that I'm kind of racking my brain.

 

THIS WOMAN IS DANGEROUS is a crime film, JOHNNY GUITAR not really one you can peg, and DAISY KENYON and HARRIET CRAIG are both melodramas with shadowy lighting.

Well Spencer Selby's Dark City does list This Woman Is Dangerous as a Noir, remember it's subjective as misswonderly3 puts it chacun a son gout. Here are those in the book:

 

 

The Damned Don't Cry

Female On The Beach

Flamingo Road

Humoresque

Mildred Pierce

Possessed

Queen Bee

Sudden Fear

This Woman is Dangerous

A Woman's Face

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ok, some of those could be subjective, but i stand firmly atop the hill that HUMORESQUE AIN'T NO FILM NOIR!

 

I watched Humoresque a few months ago and I agree, it was not a noir.  I thought it was more of a melodrama.

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Good post.  Didn't mean to be disrespectful. I appreciate your views, believe me. I was just being a little smart **** and you did mention grey. Sorry if my attempt to lighten the discussion came off as insulting. Honestly, I didn't mean it that way. As you say, (roughly translated)  to each his (or her) own... starting a firestorm was not my purpose.

 

Pas de problem. I could tell by your very literate write-up of the novel In a Lonely Place that you're an intelligent lady. And hey, I probably wouldn't have been able to resist the "gris /grey  vs noir" joke either.  After all, "noir" means "black". I looked it up and was interested to find that "noir" means "black". I thought it also meant "dark", and I guess it does. But there's another word for "dark" in French, which I also looked up:  "fonce'  " .

 

Anyway, it's nice to see someone (relatively) new posting about noir, however they may see it.

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Meant to ask is Noir Alley changing it's 10 a.m. Sunday spot? Did I read that somewhere?

 

Hope so. Sunday morning seems like the least appropriate time they could possibly feature film noir.  (I'd love to see it late on a Friday or Saturday night...)

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I watched Humoresque a few months ago and I agree, it was not a noir.  I thought it was more of a melodrama.

 

speedy baby, I call them "Joan-o-dramas".

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speedy baby, I call them "Joan-o-dramas".

 

Joan made a lot of "Joan-o-dramas."  Even a lot of her noir could qualify as a "joan-o-drama."

 

She's the queen of the melodrama, I think it's very much because of her face.

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ok, some of those could be subjective, but i stand firmly atop the hill that HUMORESQUE AIN'T NO FILM NOIR!

I haven't seen it in quite a while, but if I do remember right isn't Joan pretty obsessed over Garfield?

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I haven't seen it in quite a while, but if I do remember right isn't Joan pretty obsessed over Garfield?

 

Not really in a dark, rabbit-boiling, "I will NOT just BE IGNORED, DAVID!" noirish or suspenseful way kind of way, no.

 

and the ending- while tragic and well-acted- is more misguided sentiment on the part of Clifford Odets than anything dark or devious.

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Not really in a dark, rabbit-boiling, "I will NOT just BE IGNORED, DAVID!" noirish or suspenseful way kind of way, no.

 

and the ending- while tragic and well-acted- is more misguided sentiment on the part of Clifford Odets than anything dark or devious.

What about the cinematography?, Was this the one that has a penthouse apt? or am I thinking of another film.

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Not looking to start a fracas, but I gots to question the receipts on the claim that Joan Crawford appeared in 10 films noir...

 

Legit films noir in which she appeared: MILDRED, POSSESSED, THE DAMNED DONT CRY, SUDDEN FEAR! ...outside of that I'm kind of racking my brain.

 

THIS WOMAN IS DANGEROUS is a crime film, JOHNNY GUITAR not really one you can peg, and DAISY KENYON and HARRIET CRAIG are both melodramas with shadowy lighting.

 

But arent crime films noirs mostly?

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But arent crime films noirs mostly?

 

I put it this way:   Most noirs have crime (a criminal element),   and many crime films have noir elements (themes,  visuals,  motifs) with a higher percentage in the former than the latter. 

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But arent crime films noirs mostly?

Mostly but The Lost Weekend was included in Nino Frank and Jean Pierre Chartier "discovery" of American Film Noir after WWII, so going with the Original French def from the 1930s, it technically covers all dark subjects.

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Mostly but The Lost Weekend was included in Nino Frank and Jean Pierre Chartier "discovery" of American Film Noir after WWII, so going with the Original French def from the 1930s, it technically covers all dark subjects.

 

 The Lost Weekend is an example of a noir that doesn't have a criminal element which doesn't fit -  "But aren't crime films noirs mostly":

 

A 'fit' for that would be 40s and 50s police procedural films that of course deal with crime and the criminal element but do NOT have enough noir elements to be classified as noir or 30s gangster films which portray the criminal as just a hood (verses, noir films that dwell on what makes the criminal 'tick'). 

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Once Hollywood stopped B productions most of the Crime Genre syphoned off to TV, the demise of the MPPC opened up subjects that were previously taboo, for independent and low budget filmmakers, films got more psychological, offbeat, experimental, and exploitive.  Noir style continued it just couldn't be pigeonholed as easily as before.

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I think noir is more of a style of filmmaking/storytelling.  I don't think it necessarily has to follow a specific noir formula to be considered one. 

 

Noir is typically thought of as black and white films solely. However, I would argue that Leave Her to Heaven and Niagara qualify as a noir.

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I think noir is more of a style of filmmaking/storytelling.  I don't think it necessarily has to follow a specific noir formula to be considered one. 

 

Noir is typically thought of as black and white films solely. However, I would argue that Leave Her to Heaven and Niagara qualify as a noir.

Agree, they are on most noir lists BTW, I'm even toying with the idea that Leave Her to HeavenNiagara, Slightly Scarlet, A Kiss Before Dying, Rope, and a few other "color" Film Noir were actually the first Neo Noirs

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