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Into the Darkness Video Lecture #1: The Heist (Official Discussion Thread)


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Why does it have to be a "style," "genre," or "movement?" Instead of arguing which one of these categories film noir fits we should be inventing a new word that incorporates all three of these.

 

While I tend to view noir as a film style,  I really see what you're saying here.    I would rather discuss how noir films move us and connect to us emotionally instead of chasing our tails with nailing down categorizations or use of words. 

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If Film Noir began in 1941 with the Maltese Falcon and lasted until 1958, can we name the last of the classic noir films?

 

I consider the last noir of the 'classic' noir era to be Odds Against Tomorrow (1959).    The film stars two noir icons; Robert Ryan and Gloria Grahame,  as well as Harry Belafonte,  Ed Begley and Shelley Winters.

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I thought the lecture was pretty good. Very interesting and concise intro to the genre and the course. I'm not that crazy about the "heist" analogy to be honest, but I don't mind it either. I thought the information Edwards gave was interesting and well-transmitted, particularly for someone who isn't that familiar with "film noir" like me. I enjoyed it a lot.

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Why does it have to be a "style," "genre," or "movement?" Instead of arguing which one of these categories film noir fits we should be inventing a new word that incorporates all three of these.

I'll give you my reason, I like to discover new Noir-ish style films, classic and neo, the broad definition seems to me to include a lot of Crime/Suspense/Thriller/Drama Genre films that just have a downer type ending with absolutely none of the noir tropes especially noir-ish style cinematography, I waste a lot of time pursuing titles that I find lacking. The too narrow definition, i.e., only B&W, only between 1941-1958 and only Crime Genre leaves out a lot of films on the other hand.

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I think film noir is all three. It is a genre, and definitely its own style with low key lighting, dark story line, night time scenes, murder, crime, femme fatale...etc. I also see it as a film movement. At this time in history with WWII, the cold war and other trying moments, many were done with the happy song and dance of the 30s. Other countries like Italy with their neorealism were making movies about real life...raw, and without happy endings. That is just my opinion.

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Short thought:

 

I've been thinking about this concept of the heist and who had the means, motives, n opportunity to create movies in general let alone film noir.. Is it just a coincidence that Americans were stealing from German expressionism whilst Germany was stealing parts of the world? I think not.

 

The very word "heist" is pilfered from German language. America had the means, motives and opportunity to make these films because we were not conquered and censored unlike many other countries at the time. We didn't even get into the war really till 1942. By 1945, we had won which brought great wealth to our nation. Therefore we had the luxury of freedom, power, wealth and time to put out these films.

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I've been thinking about why film noir came into being and why it went away. I think the period of history certainly has something to do with it. I think people were angry, angry at the lose of life, angry at the horrors of war, even angry at the changes in their relationships. Men having to adjust to being home again, with wives and girlfriends they hadn't seen for years and they themselves forever changed by what they had seen. Women having to adjust to being out of the work place now that the men had returned. It was a time of frustration and anger and the culture wasn't very accepting of that. Just as the soldiers couldn't explain what had happened to them and were expected to carry on as normal, so too were the every day man and woman. These films became a way for the movie going public to see themselves reflected back onscreen and a way for the filmmakers to give voice to their own turmoil and disgust at the changed world.

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Short thought:

 

I've been thinking about this concept of the heist and who had the means, motives, n opportunity to create movies in general let alone film noir.. Is it just a coincidence that Americans were stealing from German expressionism whilst Germany was stealing parts of the world? I think not.

 

The very word "heist" is pilfered from German language. America had the means, motives and opportunity to make these films because we were not conquered and censored unlike many other countries at the time. We didn't even get into the war really till 1942. By 1945, we had won which brought great wealth to our nation. Therefore we had the luxury of freedom, power, wealth and time to put out these films.

I would like to make a few points on this comment.  The British had been at war since 1939 but the British Film Industry was positively encouraged to make war propaganda movies.  They were considered to be an important part of sustaining morale.  Strangely, many of these movies turned out to be classics, in particular, the movies of Powell and Pressburger (One of our Aircraft is Missing, The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp, A Canterbury Tale).  There are others like Went The Day Well, The Way to the Stars and Henry V.  These were not noir movies, of course but they were excellent ones.  With regard to not being censored, before the war, the American film industry was strictly censored by the Hays Code.  After the war, a more serious censorship came into being with the formation of House of Un-American Activities.  This organization ruined the careers and lives of several actors, directors and writers.  It is against this kind of background that many great noir movies were made.   I would suggest the general mood of repression (or angst, another word pilfered from the German) produced the most highly regarded noir movies.

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I just wanted to say that I enjoyed the lecture.  I read the transcript as I listened to the lecture and it really made it stick.  Thanks for making it easy and thanks for the flexibility.

 

Any chance on a class covering pre-code movies?  Please?

 

And now we have transcripts available for the first 48 podcasts of Out of the Past: Investigating Film Noir podcasts, thanks to Kristi Palmer and IUPUI libraries: https://libtool.ulib.iupui.edu/opencanister/

 

This can help as you listen along as well to the podcasts!

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