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Why Do You Like Film Noir?


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I think its popularity as a "genre" or style of movie has grown a lot in recent years, thanks

to more DVDs, film festivals and, of course, TCM. So what is it about these films that attracts

you to them?

 

I've never been entirely clear what exactly makes a film "noir" and thought maybe if people

gave their reasons why they like it, it would help me to arrive at a definition.

 

I'm also just curious. :)

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I love film noir because there's nothing like it today - and as someone famous pointed out, there's no way you could invoke the feeling of film noir in a contemporary movie today. It brings out a somewhat jaded, bittersweet mentality that was perfectly in tune with how many people felt in America in the wake of WW2, of the new expectations set by the postwar era. Maybe some of us actually wish we could have lived during this period. ;)

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I like film noir because of its darkness, shadows, seediness and desperation,hopelessness and obsession. Things happen at night in bars, rain-soaked streets, small hotels. You've got to be on your toes in film noir.

 

--The men in this genre are kind of weak--. Okay okay, I take that back. (Hold your cards and letters folks). Let's say they get ensnared and things get beyond their control: (William Hurt in "Body Heat." Mitchum). But that's why I love the men of noir. They get trapped, steal, kill for these lovely lethal ladies.

 

Women are very strong in film noir; femme fatales who bring men to their doom. "...Martha Ivers" "Out of the Past" "Double Indemnity" "The Postman Always Rings Twice." Yeah yeah, I just named the usual suspects but if it ain't broke don't fix it.

 

There are boys on the Board who will be more eloquent than I on film noir. I look forward to reading those comments.

 

No no no no...men are not genetically predisposed to discussing film noir any better than us gals.

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I lean more towards the poetic aspects of noir as embodied by the films of Val Lewton, rather than the hardboiled varieties. I like the existential aspects of this genre, where human beings struggle to survive in what seems like an uncaring and morally neutral universe. I know one of the hallmarks of noir is its fatalistic quality and the Lewtons have that, but his characters also must make conscious choices between good and evil.

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.

 

Great point about our optimism contrasted with the fatalism of noir, which seems to spring from cynical and suffering European soil.

 

But I think since the creation of our colonies we've had our own unique brand of American "Gothic" -- that glorious sense of freedom coupled with dread and panic at loosening our ties to the past of the Old World and the unsettledness of the New World, but the past keeps dogging our every step in the dark!

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*Great point about our optimism contrasted with the fatalism of noir, which seems to spring from cynical and suffering European soil.*

 

*But I think since the creation of our colonies we've had our own unique brand of American "Gothic" -- that glorious sense of freedom coupled with dread and panic at loosening our ties to the past of the Old World and the unsettledness of the New World, but the past keeps dogging our every step in the dark!*

 

This is a good point. So, if I understand you correctly, you'd see a parallel between noir and stories like "Sleepy Hollow" and the like?

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> {quote:title=ChiO wrote:}{quote}

> MissG, in a Joan Bennettesque way, asked: *So what is it about these films that attracts*

> *you to them?*

>

> You don't have a couch big enough.

>

> Signed,

> One of the genetically predisposed

 

Dear G.P.:

 

I fixed up the place since you last saw it. Got a much bigger couch now, bigger than life.

 

Signed,

 

500ScarletSt.jpg

 

P.S. So if you think you can squirm out of answering this question, think again! :P

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*Also, if I had to define noir in one word, I'd say "anxiety". It's like free-floating fear, where we don't know exactly what we're afraid of and feel enveloped by forces beyond our control.*

 

The anxiety is definitely a very big part of it, and you probably couldn't have thought of a better single word. I think it's also about fearing the very worst (in ourselves and in others).

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> {quote:title=MissGoddess wrote:}{quote}

> > {quote:title=ChiO wrote:}{quote}

> > MissG, in a Joan Bennettesque way, asked: *So what is it about these films that attracts*

> > *you to them?*

> >

> > You don't have a couch big enough.

> >

> > Signed,

> > One of the genetically predisposed

>

> Dear G.P.:

>

> I fixed up the place since you last saw it. Got a much bigger couch now, bigger than life.

>

> Signed,

>

> 500ScarletSt.jpg

>

> P.S. So if you think you can squirm out of answering this question, think again! :P

 

I hope you cleaned up that sink. It looked horrible after that Fritz Lang guy spent all day arranging those dirty dishes. Also, if you could quit flicking your cigarette ash and spitting grape seeds on the floor...

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*I hope you cleaned up that sink. It looked horrible after that Fritz Lang guy spent all day arranging those dirty dishes. Also, if you could quit flicking your cigarette ash and spitting grape seeds on the floor...*

 

LOL! B-)

 

I can't imagine April having an apartment that's anything less than neat n' tidy. ;)

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_MissGBennett_ sez: *I fixed up the place since you last saw it. Got a much bigger couch now, bigger than life.*

 

I'll let _the_ movie speak for me.

 

Bart: Two people dead, just so we can live without working!

 

Annie Laurie Starr: Come on, Bart, let's finish it the way we started it: on the level.

 

Bart: We go together, Annie. I don't know why. Maybe like guns and ammunition go together.

 

Packett: I saw the two of you, the way you were looking at each other tonight, like a couple of wild animals. Almost scared me.

Annie Laurie Starr: It should. He's a MAN.

 

Packett: Honey, I'll make money like you want me to. Big money. But it takes time, you gotta give me time.

Annie Laurie Starr: You'll never make big money. You're a two-bit guy.

Packett: Honey, listen...

Annie Laurie Starr: No guts, nothing! I want action!

 

I'll have to get back to you, Miss Kitty March. After all, tonight is *TIMOTHY CAREY* night!!!!

 

Signed,

G.P.

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I hope you cleaned up that sink. It looked horrible after that Fritz Lang guy spent all day arranging those dirty dishes. Also, if you could quit flicking your cigarette ash and spitting grape seeds on the floor...

 

Joel, dahling, I spruced up the joint, what more do you want? I can't turn into Grace Kelly, too.

As for Lang, I wanted a cheap decorator and he needed the work after "Diana" went down. ;)

 

SecretBeyondtheDoor-JB-2.jpg?t=1224887893

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I've never been entirely clear what exactly makes a film "noir"

 

No one is clear... just like film noir.

 

and thought maybe if people gave their reasons why they like it, it would help me

to arrive at a definition.

 

I'm also just curious. :)

 

Curiosity kills cats in the world of film noir.

 

Okay, Blondle.

 

B-E-W-A-R-E

 

And that's just it. No "genre" screams and whispers "danger" more than film noir. It's

a shadowy realm, dripping in deception and distrust. It's about lust not love, greed not

need. It shows (mostly) man at his most vulnerable, at his most desperate, at his

worst. Men are not in control in film noir. It, whatever "it" is, controls him. All of

this appeals to me as a man.

 

I'm someone who loves atmosphere and mood in film and film noir is a "genre" where

the atmosphere is absolutely mesmerizing to me. The look of film noir is second to

none. The blacks are blacker and the greys are greyer in film noir. There's no hiding

in the various shadows of film noir. They see all, they tell all.

 

The unpredictable nature of film noir is a huge selling point. The films of other genres

that feature big stars usually have endings where the guy gets the girl and all is

well. With film noir, I hardly ever know how it's going to turn out. I don't know if the

protagonist is going to live or die... emotionally, spiritually, or physically. All I know

is he's going to lose a piece of himself along the way.

 

The femmes fatale of film noir fascinate me to no end. They almost always control

the setting. They have the upper hand over the men. I absolutely love this aspect

of film noir. And it doesn't hurt that I find them to be the sexiest in film.

 

The men of film noir also appeal to me. They are not bigger than life, they are smaller

than life. They are regular guys who fall for their reasons. Those reasons are

often short-sighted.

 

Film noir is also the "genre" where the social commentaries and messages are most

to my liking. All kinds of bridges are crossed in film noir and they are done so

without pretty bows. I also consider film noir to be very moralistic. The tales are

cautionary ones.

 

But the biggest reason why I like film noir is because I believe no "genre" explores

and examines the mind and the soul of man more so than film noir. It's the most

psychological of all film... from a man's point of view, especially that of a single man.

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Wow! That was very deep, Frank. Very eloquent post. There's only one thing I think is worth adding:

 

*The femmes fatale of film noir fascinate me to no end. They almost always control*

*the setting. They have the upper hand over the men. I absolutely love this aspect*

*of film noir. And it doesn't hurt that I find them to be the sexiest in film.*

 

There's a lot of truth to that, but it's also true that in many of them, they also end up with just as much of a raw deal as the guys. ;)

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Wonderful responses from everyone so far and Mr Grey you've outdone yourself today!

First a John Ford movie review and now this. What is this board coming to? :P At least

you have surely redeemed yourself (somewhat) in the eyes of some who feared you were

utterly lost to the light.

 

That stuff should be read by people like Eddie Muller and that Mick LaSalle chap. At least

I can understand it. I understand it's a very sad case you are. :P

 

I hope to read more about what people find so compelling about these movies, it's even

more interesting to me than hearng why one likes a particular film.

 

I wonder what the ladies who like the genre think about the idea of film noir being a darkly male

world?

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*Wonderful responses from everyone so far and Mr Grey you've outdone yourself today!*

*First a John Ford movie review and now this. What is this board coming to? :P*

 

Indeed! ;)

 

*I wonder what the ladies who like the genre think about the idea of film noir being a darkly male world?*

 

Well, it probably just reflects the attitudes of the times when many of the film noirs were made. How many choices were there for most women at the time, other than housewife, secretary or schoolteacher? Well, maybe a few others, but nowhere near as many as there would have been just a couple of decades later.

 

Yes, we still live in a patriarchal world, but we're gaining new ground every day, one step at a time. ;)

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*D'ya think we're gaining ground with Sarah Palin...or are we losing much.*

 

Oh, dear, don't get me started. I know threads usually get sidetracked when folks discuss politics, so if you want my honest opinion, I'll be happy to offer it -- via PM. ;)

 

We've still got a long way to go in terms of gender equality, no question about it. Still, we've definitely come a long way since the 40's and 50's.

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Wonderful responses from everyone so far and Mr Grey you've outdone yourself today!

First a John Ford movie review and now this. What is this board coming to?

 

I hate you and your cauldron.

 

At least you have surely redeemed yourself (somewhat) in the eyes of some who

feared you were utterly lost to the light.

 

I'm left to wander the streets in shame.

 

That stuff should be read by people like Eddie Muller and that Mick LaSalle

chap. At least I can understand it. I understand it's a very sad case you are.

 

You've been very Irish today, Mary Kate. Sad cases, yet another reason to love

film noir.

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