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"Noir" Overkill


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Why are so many film fans obsessed with squeezing some of their favorite pictures into the "film noir" category? Does this give the picture added value? Is the reclassification akin to a great revelation?

 

Shoehorning pictures like THE PETRIFIED FOREST and ANGELS WITH DIRTY FACES into being regarded as "film noir" does nothing but diminish the peculiar qualities of the genre itself.

 

Come on, kids, it's okay to just like a "Gangster" film. Or an adaptation of a popular stage play. It doesn't make you less cool.

 

Get with it. Be a man. Don't follow the "in" Noir crowd like lemmings. MURDER, MY SWEET is Noir. YOU CAN'T GET AWAY WITH MURDER is a gangster film. And MURDER HE SAYS is a farce. It is NOT a "Hillbilly Noir!"

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I'm a fan of all genres, so don't take this the wrong way, but:

 

why is that film-noir fans are so obsessed with their genre?

 

It seems to me, whether you read the various posts within this folder, or the comments at imdb.com under individual films, film-noir seems to be the only genre where its fans debate whether a film is/is not noir, argue about what the specific defining characteristics are, etc.. Why is this? Is it impossible to enjoy a film on its merits regardless? I've never seen persons debating whether a film was a comedy, a musical, or a musical-comedy (e.g. as defined by the number of songs in the film?), so why all the hubbub over film-noir? Just asking ...

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I see your point.

 

I am speaking as a fan of noir. I do know, however, that "Petrified..." and "Angels..." may contain elements of noir but are not noir in total.

 

I suppose that people are straining to find films that fit into the genre because the parameters of the genre are not as cut and dried as those of musical comedy, for example. Those trying to find or quantify "sub-genres" in this area are under the false impression that it will make them appear knowledgeable or conversant in film language. It ultimately shows them to be pretenders.

 

Occasional threads will arise here where we satirize the elusive qualities of noir by contemplating fusions/deconstructions of the genre - the "noir musical" thread that I participated in/instigated, for example. This goes to show that we noir enthusiasts are not all doom and gloomsters, living in half-light, skulking in back alleys, etc.

 

Wannabes in any area of endeavour [including this one] will be found out, or will show themselves to be lacking in substance when the heavy lifting begins.

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LOL, tonight, early tomorrow morning, on TCM at 5:15 AM Eastern time, will be presented the great French Revolution film noir: ?The Black Book?.

 

It?s filled with back alleys, sleazy grog dives, femme fatals, dark shadows, clever spies, and treacherous villains. Not to mention the snuff-snorting French gangsters, the exciting carriage chases through the streets of Paris, and country hide-outs in the South of France!

 

Where is the black book? Who stole the black book? Who will die when they find the black book?

 

Message was edited by:

FredCDobbs

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You post made me laugh, my friend.

 

I know how you feel. Personally if it doesn't fit into 1940-1958 time frame I have a tough time convincing myself that it actually is film noir.

 

When I'm watching M, I'm never like, "Ooh, I'm watching film noir..." or when I put a Gangster flick in I never lie to myself in thinking it's film noir.

 

 

I know where you're coming from though. I spoke to this D.P. I met on Monday, and we were chatting about classic films and whatnot...guy starts me up on film noir, and starts off by mentioning Alfred Hitchcock thrillers. I told him while those films do possess noir elements, they're not actually considered quinessential noir pictures. He got pissy, and asked me to name some titles off to him. I did, and naturally he was responded, "Oh, that's not true film noir." Guy was a dunski. Point is, a lot of people do like the cool name 'noir' tagged on movies they like I guess. I watch noir because I love the movement, and the style, but I don't need to convince myself that a Gangster/Cops&Robbers action film I'm seeing is actually noir.

 

Film Noir is NOT a genre though.

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