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Why Do You Like Film Noir?


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Wow! That was very deep, Frank. Very eloquent post.

 

Thank you, Film Fatale.

 

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.

 

Very true.

 

Oh, somewhere in this favored land the sun is shining bright;

The band is playing somewhere, and somewhere hearts are light,

And somewhere men are laughing, and somewhere children shout;

But there is no joy in Mudville -mighty Casey has struck out.

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*CineMaven Wrote: 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.*

 

*Bronxgirl wrote: 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.*

 

*FrankGrimes wrote: 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.*

 

*ChiO wrote: You don't have a couch big enough.*

 

I love reading everyone's comments.

 

Please forgive me if I repeat some of their thoughts while I try to explain why I'm drawn to the genre.

 

First off the base emotions on which it builds itself: desire, lust, greed, fear etc. I'm drawn in by all of that. I love the psychology of the films and the characters. I love the idea that there is something to be gained by crossing over the lines.

 

Jane Palmer: Chances like this are never offered twice. This is it!

 

Alan Palmer: This money's like poison, it's changing you, it's changing me.

Jane Palmer: I wish it were that easy, I've always been this way. - Too Late For Tears

 

Sometimes they cross the lines due to desperation, sometimes for greed, whatever their reasons, I'm drawn in to the plan, the scheme, I'm fascinated by the obstacles and the danger. I'm intrigued by the attempt. Inevitably things go wrong, there are unforeseen twists and challenges. Vicariously I go along for the ride.

 

Walter Neff: Yes, I killed him. I killed him for money - and a woman - and I didn't get the money and I didn't get the woman. Pretty, isn't it? - Double Indemnity

 

The men of noir often choose the wrong path, if they even have choice. As Frank said: they fall for their own reasons. Often they start out in control or, at least thinking they're in control but events and emotions overwhelm them. It starts to slip away. Things get desperate. They run out of options. Their is always a women involved, pleading, pushing, manipulating the circumstances. What's a poor sap to do?

 

Vera: How far did ya say you were goin'? - Detour

 

*FrankGrimes wrote: 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.*

 

Amen.

 

Women were given some of their strongest roles since the enforcement of the code. I love the women of noir. It's never cut and dry in the genre. The genre itself is so varied. Laurel Gray is very different from Kathie Moffat but the women are exciting and enticing, and yes damn sexy. I wouldn't last long in a noir film. The femme fatales would lure me in and I'd fall like a rock.

 

Jeff Bailey: All I ever had to go on was a place and time to see her again. I don't know what we were waiting for. Maybe we thought the world would end. - Out of the Past

 

I put those comments from others up because they touch on things I want to say as well. I love the dark world of noir. I have always loved the dark. It is an anxious world. Danger lurks in the shadows. Death is real. People are on edge and the world around them often echoes their fear.

 

Frank you have written of the "searching" qualities of noir . I find this irresistible. People in low circumstances looking desperately for a way out. They are driven to find escape, they succumb to temptation, to greed, to murder. Lonely people looking for hope, for love. The wounded and the damaged falling prey to the more crafty and ruthless around them. Often digging their own graves. Life's losers taking one more, maybe one last, chance. Even those who think they have made it often find there is no escape. The past is never past. People lose themselves in a desperate search. A search for what? For comfort, for love, for happiness, or for that unattainable inner peace? I don't know, but I love the journey.

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"Gasp!!" Molo, dahling, you've really outdone yourself! I'm spilling my ashes all over

myself! :P And you've given me WAY more than I ever expected! *All* of you have done so and

the way you weaved some of the other responses into your own illustrates exactly how eloquent

you people really are. I'm very happy with this, it's so interesting! More interesting to me than

the movies themselves, ha!

 

You write really well, and the interspersing with quotations from noir film dialogue was brilliant.

It really helped me to _feel_ your own words more.

 

Tonight has been one of the best nights on the board, speaking from my own enjoyment.

 

And I had no idea you were such an aficianado of film noir! What an interesting discovery!

 

I am learning A LOT here.

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*Tonight has been one of the best nights on the board, speaking from my own enjoyment.*

 

Same here. I thoroughly enjoy learning more about so many movies, thanks to so many knowledgeable people who kindly post here to share their innermost thoughts and reactions. B-)

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

> *I wouldn't last long in a noir film. The femme fatales would lure me in and I'd fall like a rock.*

>

> I promise, I would go easy on you. ;)

 

Thanks! :)

 

I agree that women get a raw deal too.

 

What interests me is the diversity of characters (archetypes?) I go for the losers. The desperate.

 

The films are so varied.

 

*Out of the Past* is a remarkably well structured film. It's a beautiful film on so many levels but it's also one of the truest to the genre. *In A lonely Place* is poignant and poetic. *Laura* is lush and haunting. Others like *Detour* or *Kansas City Confidential* are more straightforward crime thrillers to me. They all offer such interesting characters. Take Jean Hagen as Harriette Sinton in *Side Street.* She is not a main character but she totally lingers in my mind after the final credits. A loser, who doesn't matter. She wants to matter, and she thinks she might but in the end she is disposable. She ceased to matter a long time ago to anyone. I'm always moved by characters like that.

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*Out of the Past* is a remarkably well structured film. It's a beautiful film on so many levels but it's also one of the truest to the genre. *In A lonely Place* is poignant and poetic. *Laura* is lush and haunting. Others like *Detour* or *Kansas City Confidential* are more straightforward crime thrillers to me. They all offer such interesting characters. Take Jean Hagen as Harriette Sinton in *Side Street.* She is not a main character but she totally lingers in my mind after the final credits. A loser, who doesn't matter. She wants to matter, and she thinks she might but in the end she is disposable. She ceased to matter a long time ago to anyone. I'm always moved by characters like that.

 

That is an awesome way to contrast some of the famous noirs. And yes, there is of course a great deal of futility in the aspirations of many of these characters. They mostly end up getting the dark side of the American dream.

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Thanks MissGoddess for your kind words.

 

I don't know if I'm an aficianado but I definitely _love_ film noir. Frank, CineMaven and I have had some great discussions in the Gloria Grahame thread. It might surprise you to know that Frank and I share some similar viewpoints on the genre, particularly with regard to character. I've learned a lot discussing noir with him and CM.

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What's the score, Grahame Guy? -- Ho-hum, just another phenomenal post by you. :) That was a brilliant write-up, Molo. You actually got away with the crime and the gal. Quite impressive. And I agree with the Goddess (please shoot me before you leave), the quotes you chose to highlight your affinities was genius.

 

Sometimes they cross the lines due to desperation, sometimes for greed, whatever

their reasons, I'm drawn in to the plan, the scheme, I'm fascinated by the obstacles

and the danger. I'm intrigued by the attempt. Inevitably things go wrong, there are

unforeseen twists and challenges. Vicariously I go along for the ride.

 

I was really taken by your powerful description of how so many films noir play out. From scheme to obstacle to danger to haywire to twist.

 

The men of noir often choose the wrong path, if they even have choice. As Frank

said: they fall for their own reasons. Often they start out in control or, at least thinking

they're in control but events and emotions overwhelm them. It starts to slip away. Things

get desperate. They run out of options.

 

What's interesting about the men of film noir is that there are both weak and strong

alike who are looking for the big "score." The weak ones are often found chasing

women while the strong ones are usually after money and power. The weak ones

are usually uncertain while the strong ones are dead certain.

 

Their is always a women involved, pleading, pushing, manipulating the

circumstances. What's a poor sap to do?

 

Yes, tell me about it. :D

 

Women were given some of their strongest roles since the enforcement of the

code. I love the women of noir. It's never cut and dry in the genre. The genre itself is

so varied. Laurel Gray is very different from Kathie Moffat but the women are exciting

and enticing, and yes damn sexy.

 

What I like is that the women are given strong roles in "masculine" films. I think it's

much different than seeing a strong woman in a "woman's picture."

 

I wouldn't last long in a noir film. The femme fatales would lure me in and I'd fall like

a rock.

 

But that makes you the perfect man for film noir. You would be lured into their trap.

 

I love the dark world of noir. I have always loved the dark. It is an anxious

world. Danger lurks in the shadows. Death is real. People are on edge and the

world around them often echoes their fear.

 

Excellent! So you love the dark, ala Irena.

 

Frank you have written of the "searching" qualities of noir . I find this

irresistible. People in low circumstances looking desperately for a way out. They are

driven to find escape, they succumb to temptation, to greed, to murder. Lonely people

looking for hope, for love. The wounded and the damaged falling prey to the more crafty

and ruthless around them. Often digging their own graves. Life's losers taking one

more, maybe one last, chance. Even those who think they have made it often find

there is no escape. The past is never past. People lose themselves in a desperate

search. A search for what? For comfort, for love, for happiness, or for that

unattainable inner peace? I don't know, but I love the journey.

 

My goodness. That was some powerful writing, Molo, my friend. I throw out a thought

and you bring it to life. You're quite remarkable with that. You connected all of the

dots with the "searching" in film noir so very well.

 

What I find so interesting about the search is that so many people believe what they

are searching for is exactly what they need when the truth is, they have no idea. What

you seek and what you find can be two different things, especially in film noir.

 

 

Frank, CineMaven and I have had some great discussions in the Gloria Grahame thread.

 

;) And it's far from dead.

 

It might surprise you to know that Frank and I share some similar viewpoints on the genre, particularly with regard to character.

 

You are very correct about that. We are both drawn to the vulnerabilities of

women. We wish to protect them and to make them feel appreciated. Gloria

Grahame was one of the best at playing a vulnerable woman and in a very sexy

way. Yeah, you're right, Molo, you AND I wouldn't last a New York minute in film noir.

 

 

Out of the Past is a remarkably well structured film. It's a beautiful film on so many

levels but it's also one of the truest to the genre.

 

Dead on. I consider it to be the greatest example of film noir.

 

In A lonely Place is poignant and poetic.

 

Very much so. The self-destruction of film noir shines brightly here.

 

Laura is lush and haunting.

 

One of the aspects of Laura that I like most is Mark McPherson's (Dana Andrews)

loss of control, which is one of the food groups of film noir. McPherson falls under the

spell of Laura (Gene Tierney); he's hypnotized by her call.

 

Others like Detour or Kansas City Confidential are more straightforward crime thrillers

to me.

 

I've yet to watch Kansas City Confidential but Detour features one of the

most psychotic female performances ever. No spells for Vera (Ann Savage).

 

They all offer such interesting characters.

 

You said it and I hear ya. The psychological angles of the characters of film noir

fascinate and captivate me.

 

Take Jean Hagen as Harriette Sinton in Side Street. She is not a main character

but she totally lingers in my mind after the final credits. A loser, who doesn't matter.

She wants to matter, and she thinks she might but in the end she is disposable. She

ceased to matter a long time ago to anyone. I'm always moved by characters like that.

 

Ahhh, more proof of us being on the same wavelength. Jean Hagen's "Harriet" is my

favorite character in Side Street. Your description of her is exactly as I see and

feel her. "Ceased to matter a long time ago to anyone" and "disposable" are painfully

true words. She's to be used and abused and...

 

You'll be so easy to love

So easy to idolize

All others above

So worth the yearning for

So swell to keep every home fire burning for

 

We'd be so grand at the game

So carefree together

That it does seem a shame

That you can't see your future with me

 

'Cause you'd be... oh, so easy to love

 

sidestreet1.jpg

 

sidestreet2.jpg

 

sidestreet3.jpg

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Excellent! So you love the dark, ala Irena.

 

OK this I can't sit still on---because you're WRONG. It feels so good to return to normalcy. :P

 

Irena's view of the dark is similar to mine---she views it as "friendly" not ominous at all. It doesn't

contain her fears, it contains fears for the other characters, the "normal" ones. I love the night as

much as Molo does but for different reasons. It is enlivening to me, not deadening. I think Irena

finds it so as well.

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*It feels so good to return to normalcy.*

 

When I watch film noir, the night itself seems like normalcy, and daylight is just some weird thing that infringes on the nighttime tranquility and fills it with something strange, alien. Something that is not always exactly welcome. B-)

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OK this I can't sit still on---because you're WRONG. It feels so good to return to normalcy.

 

What "normalcy"? You're weird. :P

 

Irena's view of the dark is similar to mine---she views it as "friendly" not ominous at all. It doesn't

contain her fears, it contains fears for the other characters, the "normal" ones. I love the night as

much as Molo does but for different reasons. It is enlivening to me, not deadening. I think Irena

finds it so as well.

 

Spoken like a true femme fatale.

 

catpeople3-1.jpg

 

catpeople2.jpg

 

catpeople1.jpg

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