The film noir and hardboiled detective/crime fiction appreciation thread

Discussion in 'TV & Media' started by Kor, Mar 20, 2017.

  1. Kor

    Kor Admiral Admiral

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    Does anyone else have a fixation on this genre?

    My tastes lean more toward the classic black and white stuff. It showed a world of grit and moral ambiguity on the underbelly of the innocent surface glitz and glamor that people often associate with old Hollywood and vintage eras through today's rose-colored glasses. Visually, the cinematography, lighting, etc. in film noir can be quite evocative.

    One movie I revisit again and again is the original DOA. Though it has a few silly or outlandish elements, and it's hard to find a DVD with decent picture as the movie is in the public domain and various distributors have sources of varying quality, I never get tired of this story.

    And of course, there are later "neo-noir" works, which many enjoy a great deal. To me, they tend to be a little too much on the grim side. But that is a matter of taste and preference.

    What are some of your favorite film noir movies or literary works of hard-boiled fiction?

    Kor
     
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  2. J.T.B.

    J.T.B. Rear Admiral Premium Member

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    I usually like the '40s-'50s black and white noirs best, too, but Chinatown and L.A. Confidential are two of my favorite movies ever.

    One I just saw recently that blew me away was He Walked By Night, 1948. I can't believe I hadn't heard more about it, its influence is huge. Jack Webb is in it as a crime lab tech, and you get the feeling that without this movie there would never have been a Dragnet. The realistic forencsic and procedural stuff is far ahead of anything else of the time. Richard Basehart plays a truly devious and clever creep. Scott Brady is the tough main cop, but it's definitely shown to be a team effort of the police department rather than one larger-than-life detective. Some great B&W photography, especially some striking light and dark contrasts in the LA storm drain system. Highly recommended!

    DOA is great. I didn't know it isn't under copyright. I think I've seen it on TCM, looked pretty good IIRC.
     
  3. Kor

    Kor Admiral Admiral

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    Hmm... I might have to buy the DVD of DOA that TCM sells on their site.

    One movie I enjoy that would probably be considered "neo-noir" is 1967's Point Blank, an adaptation of Westlake (aka Stark)'s novel The Hunter. It's several years too late to be considered "classical" noir, and of course, it's in color. It definitely has the hard-boiled feel, though. Interestingly, the character's name was changed from Parker to Walker for the movie.

    Some TV crime/detective shows of the fifties were stylistically influenced by noir/hardboiled fiction. A few that come to mind are M-Squad, Peter Gunn, and Mike Hammer. I think that television broadcast standards prevented them from hitting all the necessary moral "low" points for true film noir, though. For example, if Peter Gunn's girlfriend Edie Hart killed someone and Peter had to send her to prison, or, better yet, if he covered up for her and they both ended up going down, that would have been noir! :evil:

    Kor
     
  4. JirinPanthosa

    JirinPanthosa Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Double Indemnity is fantastic.
     
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  5. Greg Cox

    Greg Cox Admiral Premium Member

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    I love this stuff, too. Nightmare Alley, The Blue Dahlia, Touch of Evil, etc. And, yes, anybody who views the past through rose-colored lenses needs a healthy dose of noir in their viewing diet. Corruption, cynicism, crime, mean streets, shady goings-on, and multiple shades of gray are nothing new.

    Does "The Third Man" count as noir? It certainly feels like it should.
     
  6. Kor

    Kor Admiral Admiral

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    From what I've read, it seems common for film commentators/critics to regard it as film noir.

    Kor
     
  7. Gov Kodos

    Gov Kodos Admiral Admiral

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    Weird watching Fred Macmurray in that role after growing up mostly connecting him to My Three Sons. Edward G Robertson was great tearing the boss a new one on how easy the boss thought it would be to go into court to avoid paying out on the insurance.
     
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  8. Gary Mitchell

    Gary Mitchell Admiral Admiral

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    One that I saw for the first time recently was Pickup on South Street. Richard Widmark and Jean Peters were great in it. I hadn't seen anything with Jean Peters before but she sure was pretty.
     
  9. JirinPanthosa

    JirinPanthosa Vice Admiral Admiral

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    In most of the ones I've seen though the law triumphs at the end, at least in films prior to 1960.
     
  10. Kai "the spy"

    Kai "the spy" Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I'm probably not the only one who was familiarized with the clichés of the hardboiled P.I. genre through parodies on sitcoms (like the one on "Family Matters") and in comic books (here in Europe, there was a whole line of Mickey Mouse as P.I. with trench-coat and all), and obviously "Who Framed Roger Rabbit?", but even then I was really drawn to these kind of stories and characters. And now, I'm a big fan of the real stuff, as well. The novels more than the movies, though.

    I've also had this thought for a while now that the right American answer to BBC's "Sherlock" should not be an American Sherlock Holmes show (even though "Elementary" is fantastic), but a series of Netflix/Showtime/HBO/whatever-but-prone-to-quality-and-adult-content present day adaptations of the Philip Marlowe novels.
     
  11. auntiehill

    auntiehill Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Not only is The Third Man film noir, it is a masterpiece of film noir. The use of shadow and darkness is a huge part of the film, and practically defines the character of Harry Lime. Check out Ebert's review of The Third Man.
     
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  12. Push The Button

    Push The Button Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I felt the same way about MacMurray after seeing him throw his shipmates under the bus during the trial in The Caine Mutiny, after knowing him only as the dad from My Three Sons.
     
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2017
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  13. Gov Kodos

    Gov Kodos Admiral Admiral

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    A Marlowe detective series would be great. Especially, if they can get Chandler's rye and cynical humor. I thought 'True Detective' did a good job as a hard boiled series, especially the first season.
     
  14. DarKush

    DarKush Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    A year or so ago I started getting into the hard-boiled genre, reading quite a few of the books printed or re-printed by Hard Case Crime. I really got into Max Allan Collins' Quarry series. And also Lawrence Block's books. For non-Hard Case books, I read a couple of Gary Phillips's works. But the first detective series I got into years ago was Walter Mosley's Easy Rawlins series.

    Just this past weekend, I picked up two Collins/Spillane books.
     
  15. Kor

    Kor Admiral Admiral

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    Hard Case Crime is my favorite mystery publisher.

    I just remembered the HBO Philip Marlowe series with Powers Boothe, from the eighties. I have the DVDs somewhere. While the budget was low, it was pretty good. The atmosphere was spot-on, IMO.

    Kor
     
  16. J.T.B.

    J.T.B. Rear Admiral Premium Member

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    Agreed on The Third Man. Another great movie that has a noir feel but is not about crime and detectives is Billy Wilder's Ace in the Hole, 1951. One of those movies like A Face in the Crowd and Network that seem prophetic about media culture.
     
  17. Greg Cox

    Greg Cox Admiral Premium Member

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    I finally saw A FACE IN THE CROWD for the first time a few weeks ago. A fascinating movie, and, although everybody (understandably) talks about Andy Griffith's performance, Patricia Neal is just as good. She starts out so young and sunny and idealistic, but you can just see the mounting guilt and horror eating away at her soul, even as, right up to the end, she still can't help kinda loving the guy, even after he's become a monster . . . thanks to her.
     
  18. publiusr

    publiusr Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    In terms of noir crossing over into SF, we have Niven's The Meddler.

    I have a soft spot for The Maltese Falcon
     
  19. Kor

    Kor Admiral Admiral

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    I have a special place in my heart for the movie adaptation of Spillane's Kiss Me Deadly.

    ...especially the alternate ending where everyone presumably dies in an atomic explosion.

    Kor
     
  20. DrCorby

    DrCorby Commander Red Shirt

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    YES!!! I adore Double Indemnity! The dialogue crackled throughout, especially when MacMurray and Stanwick meet for the first time, and then in the scene mentioned above when Edward G Robinson was lecturing on the actuarial tables. Such great stuff. Both MacMurray and Robinson played against type, and were terrific.

    Some time after seeing the movie, I caught an episode of I Love Lucy when they "traveled" out to Hollywood and met many stars. Lucy told Fred MacMurray that she hadn't trusted him since seeing Double Indemnity... :cool:
     
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