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The Film Noir Thread
VampiressRN
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Joined: Nov 23, 2006
Posts: 6162
From: Sun City Lincoln Hills (NorCal)
Posted: 2010-01-29 2:20 pm   Permalink

Too funny...you caught me John. Of course no Busby Berkley in Film Noir...I thought...oops shouldn't have posted that, but didn't have time to change it (that real life interruption) forgot to go back and change it. Was just going to do that today...but alas I am late to the party...LOL. Thanks for the correction.

Can we have a BB section...JOKING.



 
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JOHN-O
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Joined: May 16, 2008
Posts: 2720
From: Dogtown, USA
Posted: 2010-01-29 4:39 pm   Permalink

I kind of figured that was a mis-post.

Actually even though I love Noir (post-WWII), I think the films of the 1930's were my favorites. We had the Pre-Code films, Marx Brothers, Tarzan series, Universal Horror (!!), Gangster, and yes the Busby Berkeley musicals.

This modernist number from "Gold Diggers of 1935" is one of my favorites....

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1gGVryQDvv4

What was this scene supposed to be representative of? The rise of fascism? The consequences of hedonism?

And what about Wini Shaw's spotlighted face dissolving into the darkness?

Maybe this was Hollywood's first Noir dance number?


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VampiressRN
Grand Member (first year)  

Joined: Nov 23, 2006
Posts: 6162
From: Sun City Lincoln Hills (NorCal)
Posted: 2010-01-29 8:04 pm   Permalink

OMG...I am crying in my diet coke!!!

I think we are on to something...Busby Noir. That dining couple...that fall...that shocking ending...very Salvidor Dali like. Thanks that was totally enjoyable.




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Atomic Tiki Punk
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Joined: Jul 19, 2009
Posts: 7048
From: Costa Misery
Posted: 2010-01-29 8:12 pm   Permalink

oh excuse me, I think I am in the wrong room, I will just log out & come back after awhile.....then..


 
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khan_tiki_mon
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Joined: Sep 15, 2006
Posts: 284
From: Syracuse, NY
Posted: 2010-01-29 9:54 pm   Permalink

John-O wrote:
Your kids have good taste.

I agree but I don't think I'll tell them you said that. When they were little I used to tell my oldest son when we were arguing about something that my head was bigger, hence my brain was bigger, and so I was smarter. He said, "Dad, Tyrannosaurus Rex, great big head, little tiny pea brain".

I do agree with a lot of what you said about Sin City. In truth some parts of it worked better for me than other parts. I think really mostly just the Bruce Willis cop character comes off as a noir character for me. How about that? Can you have a noir charcter in a non noir film? The film "The Sand Pebbles" is not film noir but the Steve McQueen character is just so tragic and no matter what he does he's doomed. To me that's kind of a noirish character.
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Atomic Tiki Punk
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Joined: Jul 19, 2009
Posts: 7048
From: Costa Misery
Posted: 2010-01-29 10:32 pm   Permalink

OK I came back, is this Noir 101?

 
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Atomic Tiki Punk
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Joined: Jul 19, 2009
Posts: 7048
From: Costa Misery
Posted: 2010-01-29 10:41 pm   Permalink

Since you reference the movie "Sin City" and refer back to Frank Miller's original comic series
Miller himself refers to it being a Hard-boiled influenced fiction along the lines of Dashiell Hammett
with graphic violence & sex.


 
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TikiHardBop
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Joined: Feb 21, 2009
Posts: 547
From: Rockledge, FL
Posted: 2010-01-30 08:19 am   Permalink

You make a good point bringing in the "Hard-boiled" genre. Since both genres take place in a morally ambivalent universe populated by morally questionable characters, I think many people put films in the Noir genre that more properly belong in the Hard-boiled category.

I think the defining difference is that a character makes a definite moral choice. Like John-O mentioned, its often regular people who make one small, ethical lapse and find themselves essentially doomed because of it. Hence, the abundance of "femme fatales"in the genre. See Double Idemnity, Body Heat, The Killers, etc.

The hard-boiled genre usually involves characters who are well aware of the amoral nature of their universe. They are usually neither regular nor innocent. Which is why I usually put most films featuring any kind of detective or PI in the hard-boiled category rather than noir.

What's great about classic noir is to watch a character become progressively "darker" as they lose their moral bearings. Of course, the great black and white directors could actually make a character progressively darker as the film progressed. Not as easy in color. Go back and watch the three film noirs listed above and watch how the lead character changes from beginning to end of the film. You're not going to see that in the hard-boiled genre.

Not so sure I agree on The Sniper and Taxi Driver. These characters actually start the film morally darker than the world around them. I would consider them psychological thrillers, along the lines of Fritz Lang's "M" or most Hitchcock films. Did you notice that the lead detective in The Sniper is named Frank Kafka? Love that little bit.


 
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JOHN-O
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Joined: May 16, 2008
Posts: 2720
From: Dogtown, USA
Posted: 2010-01-31 3:38 pm   Permalink

Quote:

On 2010-01-29 21:54, khan_tiki_mon wrote:

Can you have a noir character in a non noir film? The film "The Sand Pebbles" is not film noir but the Steve McQueen character is just so tragic and no matter what he does he's doomed. To me that's kind of a noirish character.


It's interesting, just as classic Film Noir followed the decades of the Great Depression and WWII, we got a whole slew of "unhappy ending" movies with their own doomed protagonists during the time of the Vietnam War and Watergate. Not Film Noir per se in terms of visual style but definitely sharing the same cynical attitude.

Here's some examples:

1. Sand Pebbles - Even though the film is about a U.S. Navy gunboat patrolling the rivers of 1920's China, it was seen as a statement of U.S. involvement in Vietnam. It was pretty prophetic for 1966. Steve McQueen's last dying words are "I was home... What happened? What the hell happened?!" (On a side note, my uncle was an extra in the film. He played a kitchen coolie.)

2. Bonnie and Clyde - The 1960's version of "They Live by Night" with doomed lovers meeting their final fate.

3. Easy Rider - Wyatt and Billy's search for America (financed by a coke score for Phil Spector !!) ends with them getting blown away by 2 rednecks in a pick-up truck.

4. Mean Streets - Forget "Goodfellas", "Casino", and "The Gangs of New York", this was Martin Scorsese's true mob masterpiece.

5. The Conversation - As previously noted by TikiHardBop.


Quote:

On 2010-01-29 22:41, Atomic Tiki Punk wrote:

Since you reference the movie "Sin City" and refer back to Frank Miller's original comic series
Miller himself refers to it being a Hard-boiled influenced fiction along the lines of Dashiell Hammett
with graphic violence & sex.


Dashiell Hammett ?? !! In Frank Miller's dreams. I'd say it was closer to the writing of Mickey Spillane.

Frank Miller was at the top of his game in the 1980's but lately I think he's turned into a hack. He single-handedly destroyed the reputation of Will Eisner's "Spirit" character with that shitty movie.


Quote:

On 2010-01-30 08:19, TikiHardBop wrote:

....I think many people put films in the Noir genre that more properly belong in the Hard-boiled category.

....Which is why I usually put most films featuring any kind of detective or PI in the hard-boiled category rather than noir.


Interesting point. I'll bet you're more of a fan of late 1940's Noir vs. 1950's Noir. I'll wager that "Detour", "Scarlet Street", "Nightmare Alley", "Out of the Past", and "Criss Cross" are high on your list. They all feature doomed characters led astray by femme fatales (although "Nightmare Alley copped out with a semi-happy ending.)

Actually I consider Hard-boiled as more of a sub-genre of Noir rather than as a separate category. I follow your point but I can't see films based on Raymond Chandler's writings (i.e. P.I. Phillip Marlowe) falling outside of Noir.




 
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khan_tiki_mon
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Joined: Sep 15, 2006
Posts: 284
From: Syracuse, NY
Posted: 2010-01-31 6:05 pm   Permalink

John-O - you know your movies. I agree with you completely on the "Sand Pebbles". That movie gets me everytime I see it. Has to be one of the most doomed characters ever. Okay, how about this one? "Lord Jim" with Peter O'Toole - happy ending or unhappy ending. The film ends with the death of O'Toole's character.
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Atomic Tiki Punk
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Joined: Jul 19, 2009
Posts: 7048
From: Costa Misery
Posted: 2010-01-31 8:33 pm   Permalink

Here is my 2 cents,

The Hard-Boiled genre's roots are literary, also known as Detective fiction around the 1920s then on to the 40s & 50s, this predates Noir,
What would become the Film Noir style cinematically speaking, was started in the cinema in the late 30's thru 1940's with Hard-Boiled crime stories.
but it would be the end of World War Two & the many returning soldiers, unsure of bright futures, now cynical & facing the realities
of life after wartime that permeated this attitude in Hollywood, bringing morally ambiguous, cynical, darker stories & mostly unconcerned with happy endings.

Hollywood's classic film Noir period is generally regarded as stretching from the early 1940s to the late 1950s. Film Noir of this era is associated with a low-key black-and-white visual style that has roots in German Expressionist cinematography, while many of the prototypical stories and much of the attitude of classic Noir derive from the Hardboiled school of crime fiction that emerged in the United States during the Depression.

See Ftitz Lang & F. W. Murnau and a bit later Billy Wilder for heavy German influence's on the Proto-Noir beginnings.

Edgar Allan Poe's tale "The Cask of Amontillado", published in 1846. Poe created the first fictional detective (a word unknown at the time) as the central character of some of his short stories (which he called "Tales of Ratiocination")
One of the early developments started by Poe was the so-called locked room mystery in "The Murders in the Rue Morgue".

Modern Hard-Boiled/Detetive fiction started with the magazine "Black Mask". The magazine was founded in 1920 by H. L. Mencken and George Jean Nathan; in the early 1920s, Dashiell Hammett and Carroll John Daly began writing for Black Mask, and the identity of the magazine became more sharply defined when the editorship was taken over in 1926 by Captain Joseph T. Shaw. Shaw encouraged a high standard of colloquial, racy writing, favouring 'economy of expression' and 'authenticity in character and action’, all of which are important features of the hard-boiled style

Spearheaded by writers like Dashiell Hammett (1894 - 1961), Raymond Chandler (1888 - 1959), Jonathan Latimer (1906 - 1983), Mickey Spillane (1918 - 2006)

So Hard-Boiled fiction influenced film Noir.........

(Edited for spelling)


[ This Message was edited by: Atomic Tiki Punk 2014-09-01 05:20 ]


 
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Atomic Tiki Punk
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Joined: Jul 19, 2009
Posts: 7048
From: Costa Misery
Posted: 2010-02-01 03:38 am   Permalink

I guess I have a couple more cents worth...

"The Classic Film Noir period" started when the big studios needed more B-Movies to fill the movie theaters
up till the late 1960's, later in the Midwest states, when you went to the movies you got a double feature
The main movie or A-Picture was the headline & the B-Picture was the second feature

With small budgets, short shooting schedules and much less studio interference & a pool of contract actors to choose from, Directors
would figure out ways to get the job done, By using creative lighting, sparse sets, even using available light sources such as street lights
or a single lit light bulb would get rather stark & dramatic scenes, using shadow & light in place of a costly sets,would establish a mood
& save money.

while a large cast and extras were out of the question, small stories that favored small budgets were the order of the day.
Directors & Writers were encouraged to be creative, so we got more style & dialog in these B-Movies.

At this time these kind of movies did not have an actual genre name other than "Crime" movies

(Film Noir (literally 'black film or cinema') was coined by French film critics (first by Nino Frank in 1946)
The term film noir would not become commonplace in international critical circles until the publication
of the book Panorama du film Noir Americain (1955) by Raymond Borde and Étienne Chaumeton)
But it wasn't until 1973 that The New York Times first used the term that would then became common in the United States.


[ This Message was edited by: Atomic Tiki Punk 2014-09-01 05:19 ]


 
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JOHN-O
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Joined: May 16, 2008
Posts: 2720
From: Dogtown, USA
Posted: 2010-02-01 09:17 am   Permalink

Quote:

On 2010-01-31 20:33, Atomic Tiki Punk wrote:

The Hard-Boiled genre's roots are literary, also known as Detective fiction around the 1920s then on to the 40s & 50s, this predates Noir...



You're right ATP, Hard-Boiled fiction gave birth to Film Noir. I stand corrected. It's similar to how the Polynesian "Pre-Tiki" aesthetic of the original Trader Vic's and DTBC spawned classic Tiki-style. (See, I try to work in the Tiki angle whenever I can.)

I'm taking my name off this thread right now.

I will however argue that detectives, private eyes, docu-dramas, and heist plots can fall into the Film Noir genre if some noir elements are present. That doesn't always include femme fatales, doomed characters, or an unhappy ending (although that is my favorite Noir.)

[ This Message was edited by: JOHN-O 2010-02-01 09:50 ]


 
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Atomic Tiki Punk
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Joined: Jul 19, 2009
Posts: 7048
From: Costa Misery
Posted: 2010-02-01 11:46 am   Permalink

John-O, I agree with you Noir was not limited to one kind of story, crime & revenge, Hard-boiled characters
femme fatale's were just common in the genre, but as you know movies like "Sweet smell of success" & "Ace in the Hole"

fit the Noir template as well.

These were characters dramas that were not afraid to go to the darker places.

[ This Message was edited by: Atomic Tiki Punk 2010-02-01 11:47 ]


 
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JOHN-O
Tiki Socialite

Joined: May 16, 2008
Posts: 2720
From: Dogtown, USA
Posted: 2010-02-01 1:28 pm   Permalink

Actually if you think about it, Film Noir and Tiki-style have a lot in common. I'm surprised this comparison hasn't been brought up before.

Like Tiki, Film Noir was an unacknowledged Mid-century "style" which at the time didn't garner a lot of respect (as ATP, pointed out, most were low-budget B-pictures). It took a European (in this case a French film critic) to first recognize it as a specific style and to coin a term for it. Film Noir literally means dark or black film.

It really wasn't until a decade or so after the fact, that American film students and critics developed a real appreciation for these movies and Film Noir became and widely-accepted and respected film genre (although some would argue Film Noir is more a mood or style). This led to newer films being made which unabashedly referred to themselves as "Neo Noirs".

[ This Message was edited by: JOHN-O 2010-02-01 13:54 ]


 
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