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Noir Lit 101


CaveGirl
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Often the original source material for a great noir movie, is even better than the resulting movie, being more hardcore and fatalistic than the famous film.

Take for example one of my favorite writers, Dorothy Hughes. Born in 1904, her tightly patterned work, like the novel "In a Lonely Place" was tamed down for the screen, by not using her subtle killer's POV or other bits. Much of this POV tactic influenced the novels of Jim Thompson like his "The Killer Inside Me".

Hughes also penned "Ride the Pink Horse" which is a fine read before or after seeing the movie. She named as her own personal influences, Faulkner but it is obvious that her ability to bring spellbinding suspense amidst paranoia was a talent all her own.

Who would you add to any Noir Lit 101 fundamental reading list?

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There is no such thing as noir fiction, noir literature, etc. No such genre exists. There's crime fiction in many different varieties; there's detective fiction; and there's mystery fiction...all of these are substantial literary genres going back to the middle of the 1800s. But 'film noir' is a cinematic term and has no counterpart in prose. It is a visceral and involuntary sensation--not a cerebral, thoughtful, or contemplative one--it cannot even be presented to us, as 'words on a page'. Exploring the idea at all, is an exercise in obfuscation, hokum, and higgedly-piggeldy.

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16 hours ago, Sgt_Markoff said:

There is no such thing as noir fiction, noir literature, etc. No such genre exists. There's crime fiction in many different varieties; there's detective fiction; and there's mystery fiction...all of these are substantial literary genres going back to the middle of the 1800s. But 'film noir' is a cinematic term and has no counterpart in prose. It is a visceral and involuntary sensation--not a cerebral, thoughtful, or contemplative one--it cannot even be presented to us, as 'words on a page'. Exploring the idea at all, is an exercise in obfuscation, hokum, and higgedly-piggeldy.

I've often thought that myself, Sgt. Markoff but have bowed to the general consensus of usage.

Great exegesis of the issue. Thank you for giving a valid and alternative viewpoint on the subject of whether the term is a misnomer.

It's kind of like when it was said that there are no pornographic books, but only well written ones and not well written ones. The nonexistent concept of noir in literature falls into the same theoretical categorization probably.

 

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21 hours ago, cigarjoe said:

'Nightmare Alley' by William Lindsay Gresham is far more kinky goings on than the film. I was very surprised to see that in a book from 1946.

Love that movie and book. That's where I learned to drink wood alcohol when I need a pick-me-up!

Never dated a geek, but I've known a few.

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20 hours ago, papyrusbeetle said:

Don't miss reading the original book: James M. Cain DOUBLE INDEMNITY---the ending is strange and mysterious, very "moody".

also-- If you like the re-make of Cain's MILDRED PIERCE, it is much more like the original book.

FOR THE LONGEST TIME, I thought JAMES M CAIN only wrote three novels- only to discover that there are a handful more- the best of which, in fact- the best thing I think he wrote- is SERENADE, which is an astounding book, years ahead of its time- the ostensible basis for the 1956 MARIO LANZA film- that takes the title of the book and- insofar as I recall- NONE OF THE PLOT.

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