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This week, Mental Floss examines the elements that go into the making of a film noir, and decide that Double Indemnity is, hands-down, the most noir of all film noir. Then they poll 12 film critics, who come up with the same answer. (Or rather, it ties for first with Out of the Past and A Touch of Evil). The nice infographic is worth the visit, and it dovetails with this week's class study rather nicely.

 

http://mentalfloss.com/article/65884/noir-est-all-film-noir-flicks

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That's great...if you want to leave out the *quality* of the elements.

 

  • Has a twist ending - is it lame and/or a red herring or was it carefully woven?
  • Shadows, lighting, focus, zoom - hypnotizing or run of the mill?
  • Screenplay - there's good and then there's GREAT
  • Good poster? Really??

And then there's the direction, the casting, the performances...I could go on. It's as flawed as saying the biggest box office hits are the best films made that year.

 

Now I have no argument with the three pictures mentioned, they're all classics and arguable top tier. But a layman would look at that "checklist" result and see The Killing with a score of 5 and think the others were twice as good. I couldn't live with that. :)

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  • 3 years later...

Sounds mighty slipshod. I agree with Bill Holmes. You don't need to define good noir with a checklist; you only need such tools to sluice away the seemingly endless array of "other stuff" which is called noir.

What next, "Andy Hardy" noir? "Meet Me in St. Louis" noir? "Cheaper by the Dozen" noir? Mutual of Omaha's 'Wild Kingdom' with Merlin Olson, noir? Bill Bixby in "The Courtship of Eddie's Father" ...that HAD TO BE noir (because he had black hair?)

Sheesh this gets my goat...its madness

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