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Wednesday May 19th on TCM


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

> ...so what was the last true noir, ODDS AGAINST TOMORROW? (noir supposedly was restricted to the '40s and '50s). But THE MONEY TRAP (1966) had ALL of the characteristics of noir.

 

I caught The Money Trap last year on TCM and I LOVED it...it screamed noir that I thought it was one and was filmed in the 50s and I kept asking myself why Rita looked older. Then I googled and saw that it came out in '65. WOW and WOW....the movie is great from the plot, to the acting to the cinematography....this movie is added evidence that it is hard to define noir by the year the film was made.

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_finance_ asked: *...so what was the last true noir...?*

 

I would contend that it hasn't been made yet. Unless one can define "true noir" and say "True noir ended on (month), (day) (year)", then noir is still being made, albeit with less frequency. Two post-1966 American noirs that come to mind are *The Friends of Eddie Coyle* (1972) and *The Killing of a Chinese Bookie* (1976).

 

But aren't post-19XX noirs really "neo-noir"? As long as we're making up definitions, "neo-noir" to me is a noir that is self-consciously made (How can you tell? Beats me, but I feel it.) to be a noir (Hey! Let's make a film noir!). A pastiche, if you will. So the two movies above are noir, but *Red Rock West* is neo-noir.

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

> _finance_ asked: *...so what was the last true noir...?*

>

> I would contend that it hasn't been made yet. Unless one can define "true noir" and say "True noir ended on (month), (day) (year)", then noir is still being made, albeit with less frequency. Two post-1966 American noirs that come to mind are *The Friends of Eddie Coyle* (1972) and *The Killing of a Chinese Bookie* (1976).

>

> But aren't post-19XX noirs really "neo-noir"? As long as we're making up definitions, "neo-noir" to me is a noir that is self-consciously made (How can you tell? Beats me, but I feel it.) to be a noir (Hey! Let's make a film noir!). A pastiche, if you will. So the two movies above are noir, but *Red Rock West* is neo-noir.

 

Well said ChiO...that is one of my gripes with the film noir definition. I don't care who is a film historian and gives a great "definition", if one is a fan of the drama and has seen many films of it from A to B, classic to forgotten, then the final conclusion should be that the true definition is subjective. *The Friends of Eddie Coyle* is a perfect example of post 1970 noir. The only reason why one would simply call it a crime drama is because of the fact it was shot in color and released in 1972. But take the characters (especially Mitchum in the title role!), plot, etc....rewind time twenty years ago and add the shadow of some venetian blinds and we'd all be applauding this as one of the best noirs ever. The same can be said about *Chinatown* (1974).

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Finance mentioned Odds Against Tomorrow and The Money Trap as latter day noirs. I'm sorry to say I've never seen either of them.I'd love to , especially the former. What a great evocative title.

 

I saw Red Rock West a few years ago, and I did think it was like a 90s film noir. (Incidentally Dennis

Hopper was in it, playing an unhinged bad guy of course). Pastiche is a good word for it.

 

Anyway, I'll reiterate what I said before, that noir is easier to recognize than to define.

(something like, "I don't know noir, but I know what I like.")

 

Edited by: misswonderly on Jun 3, 2010 10:17 PM

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

> The classic post-1990 film noir is LA CONFIDENTIAL.

 

 

If we're talking post 90's, Abel Ferrara is probably the most consistent player in modern noir with *King of New York* (1990), *Bad Lieutenant* (1992), *Dangerous Games AKA Snake Eyes* (1993), *The Funeral* (1996), and *The Blackout* (1997).

 

Other noirish works I enjoy from 1990 and beyond:

 

*Reservoir Dogs* (1992)

*Insomnia* (1997)

*Jackie Brown* (1995)

*Crash* (1996)

*Ju Dou* (1990)

*Man Bites Dog* (1992)

*Romeo is Bleeding* (1995)

*Shanghai Triad* (1995)

*No Country for Old Men* (2007)

*Fallen Angels* (1995)

*Oldboy* (2003)

*The Deep End* (2001)

*Suicide Kings* (1997)

*Memento* (2001)

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L.A. Confidential gets my vote for one of the ultimate post-noir noirs. But I agree with most of the ones on your list -that I've seen. Especially Reservoir Dogs and Memento . And

The Bad Lieutenant (not to be confused with the newish Werner Herzog film.)

 

The Coen brothers are often noirish, and a few years back did a self-conscious recreation of a noir film, even filming it in black and white, The Man Who Wasn't There. It was an interesting exercise in noir pastiche, but I agree with the one that's on your list, I think it is more truly noir in many ways ( and certainly less self-conscious, as I said) - No Country for Old Men. A lot of people didn't like this film, but I loved it. (Don't get me started on my theory of Javier Bardem as the Angel of Death.)

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?Jackie Brown? was on some minor channel several years ago, over and over, and I saw it several times. I think it?s a great modern big-city mystery/crime/drama. I don?t think it should be shown on TCM, but mature adults here (are there any?) should take a look at this. The plot is somewhat complex, and each actor plays an important role in the film.

 

This was supposed to be a return ?vehicle? for Pam Grier, but the really outstanding actor in this film is Samuel L. Jackson. He is incredibly believable and seems to actually be the character he plays.

 

It?s too bad he played a villain, because if he had been a hero, he could have made a whole series of movies based on this character.

 

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0119396/maindetails

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

> L.A. Confidential gets my vote for one of the ultimate post-noir noirs.

 

For a single "ultimate post noir" (Whatever that means---I'm guessing anything outside 1940-58), I'll take *Blade Runner* (1982), which has oddly received no mention here.

 

.

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I guess by " ultimate post-noir noirs" I just meant a film that can more or less fall into the parametres of what we call "noir", but was made, yes, after 1960. (that's the "post" part), I'm a little worried now that it came off a bit pretentious sounding, something I loathe.

 

As to Blade Runner, it does have some noir elements -the idea of a cop, even a futuristic one, chasing someone or something down, the evil authority figures, and general sense of malaise. But -and I know we all agree the definition, such as it is, is very broad, -isn't Blade Runner just a bit too sci fi to be regarded as even an honourary noir film? I notice it wasn't on your original list, a few posts back.

 

...ok, I just went back and read your post with the list. I see you were referring to 1990 on (can I say "post" 1990?) ;)

 

Edited by: misswonderly on Jun 5, 2010 9:26 AM

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What about *Dead End* ? 1937, directed by William Wyler. Some would classify it as a gangster movie, but there aren't really many gangster elements in it (except that Bogart is one)

 

More to the point, it bears a few of the hallmarks of noir -the protagonist is alienated from society, psychologically messed up, and it has an unhappy ending (in the sense that he gets killed rather than rescued and reformed.) He can't find redemption -his childhood sweetheart is a tart (in his eyes) and his mother rejects him. Most 30s gangster films don't go into all that stuff. I know it's based on a play, and maybe that's why it's got a little more depth in the characters. I admit the whole plot around the kids isn't very noirish though.

 

Also -another film based on a play and starring Bogart -The Petrified Forest. Yes, I know it's mostly Leslie Howard doing his intellectual flirting thing with Bette Davis, but again, it's got a dark ending, and the bizarre deal-making about who gets to live and die is kind of noirish.

 

Qu'est ce que vous pensez?

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Yes, I was referring to 1990 films and beyond in the earlier post.

 

 

 

*Blade Runner* is a film that has its feet in two worlds (along with Godard's *Alphaville* [1965]), where the dark humanity of film noir collides with the heavy morality of science fiction, creating a synthesis that is futuristic, but familiar. This same concept applies to Vangelis incredible scoring, where he combines acoustic and electronic instruments in allusion to the movie's "real" and "artificial" characters. Above all, Ridley's film questions the idea of what constitutes person in an eroding society of creators and their creations. Much like *Black Angel* (1946), Harrison Ford's Deckard is protagonist on a quest who will discover himself as the answer to that question.

 

As for my definition of noir, I've never felt that the genre belonged simply to American films made between 1940 to 1958 or that shadows and a fedora are essential. That would be similar to saying every horror film has to have a haunted house. While it's true many do have these features, that is not what I personally think defines them. Rather, they are outward trappings, or signposts that point to deeper internal questions such as what constitutes good and evil, fatalism vs. freewill, or moral and social corruption. While the styling may vary, these themes are usually present in one form or another. As an example, we had a noir contest at Silver Screen Oasis where we were each asked to list our 25 favorite films. Here were mine:

 

*Force of Evil (1948)*

*Cutter's Way (1981)*

*Out of the Past (1947)*

*Act of Violence (1948)*

*Le Quai des brumes (Port of Shadows) (1937)*

*Rififi (1955)*

*The Killing of a Chinese Bookie (1976)*

*Scarlet Street (1946)*

*Il Bidone (The Swindle) (1955)*

*Try and Get Me (1950)*

*Brighton Rock (1947)*

*The Face of Another (1966)*

*In a Lonely Place (1950)*

*Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia (1974)*

*Nightmare Alley (1947)*

*You Only Live Once (1937)*

*Kiss Me Deadly (1955)*

*Touch of Evil (1958)*

*Taxi Driver (1976)*

*On Dangerous Ground (1952)*

*High and Low (1963)*

*Sunset Blvd. (1950)*

*Decoy (1946)*

*Blast of Silence (1960)*

*Blade Runner (1982)*

 

Obviously, there were many films I had to leave out. Twenty-five titles is simply not enough.

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*Blood Simple* is a great suggestion. I 'm surprised nobody thought of it before, especially as we were talking about the Coen brothers. That was their first noir homage, and a very good one.

 

FredCDobbs also suggested *Jackie Brown*, made some really good points how it belongs on a post noir list. Samuel Jackson's a perfect noir villain.

 

I agree that *M* is a great suggestion for a "pre-noir", and probably a lot of other German expressionist filmmakers have made some too. Especially the way they do black and white cinematography, the shadows, and the mood of alienation, hopelessness, and disorientation that often accompanies them. Fritz Lang being the master.

 

Arkadin, with respect, I'm fairly sure no one on these threads is suggesting that they think film noir has to have a femme fatale and fedora hats. We're hard core fans who've all gone beyond Film Noir 101, so to speak. But you probably weren't suggesting that, I figure what you were saying is that the psychological aspects of this "genre" are more germane to its definition than the visual aspects often associated with it (shadows, 1940s setting, etc.).

 

Of course that's the other, deeper reason why it's called "film *noir* ", "noir literally meaning "dark".

So many "noirs" -most of the really memorable ones - have unhappy or at best disturbing endings. If the protagonist isn't killed, he or she at the very least is changed, bearing inner scars from their experience.

You put it very well, so I'll just quote you: film noir examines:

"*deeper internal questions such as what constitutes good and evil, fatalism vs. freewill, or moral and social corruption. "*

No argument here.

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Hi Miss W., it was not my intent to offend you, but to explain how I view the genre. You seemed to have difficulty accepting *Blade Runner* as a noir and I explained my reasons for doing so. There are many other movies like *Seconds* (1966) or *La Jetee* (1961) that have similar ties to film noir.

 

I have noticed in this and the Roxie thread that there is a general idea that noir is urban, black and white, only made by Hollywood, were created in the forties and fifties, etc. I contend that these films and stories can be traced back to the silent era and continue today. I don't find the same limits with noir as a western for example.

 

While we can argue semantics about labels, I personally would rather see people talk and discuss a film like *M* (1931), *The Crime of Monsieur Lange* (1935), *Copkiller* (1983), *Le Jour Se Leve* (1939) *He Who Gets Slapped* (1924), *Violent City* (1972), *Cruising* (1980), *Point Blank* (1967), *Day of the Outlaw* (1959), *Underworld* (1927) and other such works in depth rather than trying to categorize them. It?s much like throwing away delicious candy to discuss the wrapper instead.

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If you are not a dyed-in-the-wool film ultra-aficicionado for the period 1910-2010(e.g., yours truly), you need some classifications in order to understand film history vis-a-vis the Golden Age of Hollywood, which is what these message boards are really about.

 

Edited by: finance on Jun 6, 2010 3:15 PM

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

> If you are not a dyed-in-the-wool film ultra-aficicionado for the period 1910-2010(e.g., yours truly), you need some classifications in order to understand film history vis-a-vis the Golden Age of Hollywood, which is what these message boards are really about.

>

> Edited by: finance on Jun 6, 2010 3:15 PM

 

 

There is nothing wrong with basic classification as a starting point, but it should not be an end-all either.

 

There should always be plenty of room for newcomers to any genre or specific film, after all nobody knows everything, but to suggest that intermediate and more experienced film lovers (who might be a little more dyed in the wool) should not participate and share their thoughts on such things would leave this website lacking in depth.

 

The subject had shifted to proto/neo noir and I simply explained my parameters for evaluation, which is a classification, but perhaps one you do not accept. We are both exchanging personal insights and I would not expect us to agree on everything.

After all, what would that leave us to talk about?

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Now, now, everybody, we're all having fun with this, let's keep it that way. Arkadin, I wasn't really offended with anything you said, and I know that you're aware that "dyed in the wool" film noir lovers do recognize the broader parametres of the genre. In fact, I did agree with you about the main element of noir as a concept, its "dark" world view.

 

Sometimes I think the limitations of writing about these ideas instead of hanging around together discussing them in person can lead to misunderstandings. No facial expression, no vocal tone to ascertain if someone's being light-hearted or sarcastic in a friendly way (not oxymoronic!)

 

I bet if we were all hashing this out over a bottle of good red wine (or two or three) we'd be congratulating each other on our acute insights and mutual appreciation of great movies. I like to think that I enjoy the candy more than the wrapper. (and the wine more that the bottle. And the film more than its label.) If I were give to using emoticoms, I'd put a smiley face in right now.

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It was not my intent to offend anyone, just give my opinion and explain my views. Actually, I think differing opinions (as long as they remain respectful) are the genesis of great ideas and discussions. I've been on this forum for three years and I'm not an agitator. If I upset you or Finance, I apologize.

 

My post was an intent to get beyond labels and dissect some of these films on an individual basis. I thought we had started this by questioning *Blade Runner* and might continue with that film or others (what about Melville's films for instance?, or why do some people think *L.A. Confidential* is the greatest noir of the modern era?). Discussions like these are more stimulating and generate more interest in a movie than just a title (As did Fred's thoughts on *Jackie Brown* ). While I'm a believer in categorization and defining genres, I sometimes think those types of discussions lose track of the most important thing--the movies themselves.

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Arkadin, I think everything you've said on this thread is not only extremely interesting and informative;

more than that, you've given me some ideas to consider that I hadn't thought of before, which is one of the reasons we use these boards in the first place. I shouldn't presume to speak for finance, but I'd say that we're both pretty tough and neither of us is offended. Certainly not me. Please keep posting your ideas about film noir and movies in general.

 

As I said, I think communicating this way, fun though it is, can create misunderstandings sometimes, simply because the written word cannot convey nuances such as voice inflection and facial expression.

We all -definitely myself included - can get a little "lost in translation" sometimes.(Plus, that bottle of red wine I was talking about would help.)

Anyway- tell me more about this Silver Screen Oasis thing. I haven't heard of it before.

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