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Hyper Noir


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Just watched Nightfall (1957)


The real treat in this film is the quite stylistically high contrasting widescreen cinematography, especially at the confrontation at the oil well pump, there are some nice location street shots that blend well into the studio city sets, great stuff reminiscent of the graphic novel & film Sin City, though tame in comparison of course. One also gets the vibe of the Cohen Brothers film "Fargo" in the Wyoming location set sections.


I'm glad that I still have some great Classic Noir Films to catch up on... but I will catch up on them eventually. Which brings me to the point of this post.


Classic Film Noir is NEVER coming back, not only was Classic Film Noir contemporary to its time period, they were mostly shot in black & white, and it was also made during the studio system where contract technicians could easily and rather cheaply create a stylized reality in the studio, paired with second unit actual contemporary location shots, and where cheap contract character actors played the same archetypal characters. In other words anything made attempting to look like a Classic Film Noir is in reality going to become a very expensive period piece costume drama type of film.


The film Sin City is very close to capturing Classic Film Noir in feel in a relatively inexpensive way, yet also keeping its graphic comic roots. Is it a parody? yes, an homage? yes, a hoot? Most definitely.


It actually would be nice to see more Classic Pulp/Detective Fiction sourced material remade and shot in this graphic comic style while turning up the volume on the violence and sex that could only be hinted at during the Classic Film Noir era.


There are a lot of classics whose potentials were never realized because of the censorship of the Hays Office/Production code. They did get around this with a lot of innuendo but if you could combine the Classic Noir Style and the Noir innuendo with and up the graphic violence and the sex I think we could have something pretty cool, like another fan of Sin City stated its "Noir on steroids", perhaps we could call it Ultra Noir or Hyper Noir.


And example of a classic series that was never fully realized would be Mickey Spillane's Mike Hammer novels (there are about 14 total), Spillane wrote Mike Hammer starting with the first 1947 novel "I, the Jury" as a traditional Pulp/Noir Detective but he pushed the bubble with the lid off/over the top sexuality of the women and violence going 20 years ahead of his time, films wouldn't be that explicit enough to do Hammer justice until the late 1960's, but by then the ability to do stylized noir with its stable of character actors is gone, its like two ships passing in the night.


My favorite Hammer film to date is "Kiss Me Deadly" but like "My Gun Is Quick" the action is moved from Hammer's New York to California.


I believe that Assante's "I, The Jury" (1982) did do the graphic violence, nudity & sex right but it was set in a more contemporary setting basically the 1980's or mid to late 1970's and substitutes Vietnam for Korea, I've also read that it uses some of plot from Spillane's 1967 book "The Body Lovers" but I've never read that novel and haven't seen the film for ages so I'll refrain from commenting further.


Now with Sin City as the blueprint I think you could do Spillane and Mike Hammer justice on the lines of an R rated "Sin City" type stylized Noir based on Mike Hammer.

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