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Author Topic: The Noir Genre (it really isn't one)  (Read 5082 times)
cigar joe
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« on: December 15, 2011, 06:55:04 PM »

If I permit myself to play God and create a “Noir Genre” these would be my standard criteria:

Cinematography - Noir Stylistics - no fill light, Dutch angles, high contrast, shadows, etc.

Time Period roughly between 1934 to 1960 + or - coinciding with aerodynamic cars, boxy square-ish cars are OUT

Time of Day - basically perpetual NIGHT less than 5% of the film should be ever in daylight

Location - at  least 95 % of the film should be filmed in The City and its industrial periphery or a small town, no farms, mountains, beaches, forests, wilderness, unless at night and only 5%.

Music mostly 95% Jazz and Blues, Dino, Sinatra, Bennett, Horne, Holliday, etc., some rock & roll but absolutely no Beatles

Storyline 95% CRIME related and its diegetic world of characters and their usually shady forms of employment.

Characters either obsessed or alienated  and adrift in a world out of their control.

Costuming fedora hats a must for men or whenever appropriate,  Women in heels, seamed stockings and garters always unless naked ;-) Smoking & Drinking mandatory

Weather overcast 50% of the film and some rain

Feel free to add any you think should be included.

« Last Edit: June 09, 2012, 02:16:49 PM by cigar joe » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: December 15, 2011, 10:00:08 PM »




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« Reply #2 on: December 16, 2011, 12:09:18 AM »

a) are neo noirs the same thing, just made in color? or are there other elements to the neo noir?

b) are you serious about the 95% night thing? I mean, yeah, an inordinate number of scenes take place at night, but few movies will ever meet your criteria if you are really expecting more than 90% of it (eg. all but ten minutes out of a 2-hour movie) to be at night.

Eg. Out of the Past is about as noir -- and as awesome -- as noir can get, and out of 97 minutes, I'd guess that about 25% of it takes place by day. Almost all the scenes that take place in Bridgeport -- the town Mitchum is currently living in -- take place by day (though you can certainly make the argument that those are the least noir-like scenes, you can also debate whether it's the night that's responsible for the noir or vice versa  Wink ).

c) are daytime scenes taking place elmost exclusively indoors an acceptable substitute for the night requirement? (eg. Detective Story is probably mostly by day, but it doesn't matter, cuz out of 103 minutes, I'd bet at last 90 take place inside the police station).

d) aren't you gona introduce the Film Soleil concept here as well? eg. I am sure that at least 100 out of the total 111 minutes of Ace in the Hole take place by day, and much of that is outdoors. Though as I have said many times, and based on my very limited knowledge of film noir, I don't see how in hell AITH qualifies.



Anyway, nice job creating this thread, cj; it's about time. (How many PM's could have been avoided?  Wink )

« Last Edit: December 16, 2011, 04:45:02 AM by drinkanddestroy » Logged

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« Reply #3 on: December 16, 2011, 04:05:47 AM »

Some noirs begin with a puzzle which is gradually explained to the audience over the duration of the movie, sometimes with flashbacks.

If OUATIA was partly an homage to the noir genre, it follows this pattern with Eve's murder.

And if, when writing 'The Hoods', Harry Grey plagiarized noir movies, his book should be ideal source material for an homage to the genre.

Thanks cj for all the good work on the noir threads.   Afro


Just noticed in this morning's newspaper, a couple of noirs being highly recommended - The Maltese Falcon and The Big Sleep.  It's a while since I saw them so I may have another look. I know some board members don't like Bogart but he's good at delivering fast understandable dialog.

Both are in IMDb's Top 20 noir movies:

1.    Sunset Boulevard (1950)
2.    Double Indemnity (1944)
3.    The Third Man (1949)
4.    The Maltese Falcon (1941)
5.    Touch of Evil (1958)
6.    Les Diaboliques (1955)
7.    Strangers on a Train (1951)
8.    Notorious (1946)
9.    Ace in the Hole (1951)
10.   Rififi (1955)
11.   The Big Sleep (1946)
12.   White Heat (1949)
13.   The Night of the Hunter (1955)
14.   The Killing (1956)
15.   Sweet Smell of Success (1957)
16.   Laura (1944)
17.   The Lost Weekend (1945)
18.   Shadow of a Doubt (1943)
19.   Out of the Past (1947)
20.   In a Lonely Place (1950)

http://www.imdb.com/chart/filmnoir




Bogie was AWESOME.

I was recently reading Roger Ebert's review of In a Lonely Place, and I'll quote a couple of passages from it that I found particularly interesting:

Reviewing the movie:

One apartment is occupied by Dixon Steele, an alcoholic screenwriter who has some success but is now in the midst of a long, dry spell. Across from him is Laurel Gray (Gloria Grahame), a would-be actress and a smart cookie. Steele is a bitter, angry man. Drinking at noon in his usual hangout, he succeeds in insulting his agent, punching a man who is cruel to an aging has-been actor and then getting in a fistfight with the son of a studio chief.

This concise opening scene, set in a bar inspired by Bogart's own hangout, Romanoff's, establishes Dixon Steele's character and summarizes some of the things we sense about Bogart, that enigmatic man. They both drink too much. They're both idealists who sympathize with underdogs. They both have a temper. Steele has, and Bogart was always able to evoke self-pity; remember his Dobbs in "Treasure of the Sierra Madre." Bogart was at his best in conflicted roles, at his weakest in straightforward macho parts. Steele's qualities make him an ideal partner for Laurel Gray, who has been around, knows the ropes and is more likely to fall for a wounded pigeon than a regular guy.



Discussing Bogie:

Bogart is so good at playing vulnerable men. It's strange he has an enduring image as a tough guy. It would be more accurate to say he was tempered by experience. A decade before this film, in "Casablanca," he was already the man drinking alone late at night, afraid of hearing an old song.

I should point out that I don't really agree with Ebert here; ie. I think Bogie was equally awesome whether playing vulnerable or macho men. But for some reason, I still find it to be an interesting passage about an actor I love.

[ One of my great pleasures in life is reading Ebert's reviews -- (just as Ebert keeps a list of the all-time greatest movies, maybe I should keep a list of Ebert's All-Time Greatest Reviews  Wink ) -- There is no doubt whatsoever that Ebert is the second-greatest critic of all-time, though significantly behind G-D) ].

Anyway, I'll note here the noirs you list that I have seen:

1) Sunset Boulevard -- Awesome movie

2) Double Indemnity -- very overrated IMO, though dj and lots of others here love it

4) The Maltese Falcon -- another classic. cj doesn't like it cuz he thinks it's "too office-bound."

9) Ace in the Hole -- My favorite noir of all-time.


An absolutely INCREDIBLE movie. Not only is it my favorite noir of all-time (though I haven't seen very many noirs), it is one of my all-time favorite movies. And if you are a fan of Billy Wilder, be sure to check out the absolutely awesome special features on Disc 2, which include a long interview with Michel Ciment


 I gotta go piss now and don't wanna risk losing this, so I'll hit post now.
I'll edit it soon and discuss the others.
And delete the part about me going to piss.
Si if you wanna save it, you better quote me now ;-)



« Last Edit: December 16, 2011, 04:36:36 AM by drinkanddestroy » Logged

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« Reply #4 on: December 16, 2011, 04:12:11 AM »

a) are neo noirs the same thing, just made in color? or are there other elements to the neo noir?

Yes color and modern even futuristic settings

Quote

b) are you serious about the 95% night thing? I mean, yeah, an inordinate number of scenes take place at night, but few movies will ever meet your criteria if you are really expecting more than 90% of it (eg. all but ten minutes out of a 2-hour movie) to be at night.


Yes either NIGHT or if day time 5% max or all interior DAYLIGHT filtered through Venetian blinds, skylights, pull shades, etc., etc.

Quote
Eg. Out of the Past is about as noir -- and as awesome -- as noir can get, and out of 97 minutes, I'd guess that about 25% of it takes place by day. Almost all the scenes that the place in Bridgeport -- the town Mitchum is currently living in -- take place by day (though you can certainly make the argument that those are the least noir-like scenes, you can also debate whether it's the night that's responsible for the noir or vice versa  Wink ).

No frigging examples, I'm not trying to include any existing films. Remember I'm God and I'm creating a Noir Genre, I'm not trying to pigeon hole any existing films into it (though some obviously will fit) , that is the problem with Film Noir right now everybody has got their own opinion of what it is. We don't have that problem with say WESTERNS almost everybody knows what a Western is the only shady areas with Westerns are their time period, some people include Frontier Films, and some will include modern day (say post 1930's) films in the genre

Quote
c) are daytime scenes taking place elmost exclusively indoors an acceptable substitute for the night requirement? (eg. Detective Story is probably mostly by day, but it doesn't matter, cuz out of 103 minutes, I'd bet at last 90 take place inside the police station).

God says yes if the sunlight is shown offset/blocked by strong shadows

Quote

d) aren't you gona introduce the Film Soleil concept here as well? eg. I am sure that at least 100 out of the total 111 minutes of Ace in the Hole take place by day, and much of that is outdoors. Though as I have said many times, and based on my very limited knowledge of film noir, I don't see how in hell AITH qualifies.

God says that is the Film Soleil Genre, which is basically Film Noir by day, and he will create a new thread for it!


Quote
Anyway, nice job creating this thread, cj; it's about time. (How many PM's could have been avoided?  Wink )

Bless you my son ;-)

« Last Edit: December 16, 2011, 05:02:57 AM by cigar joe » Logged

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« Reply #5 on: December 16, 2011, 04:23:28 AM »

Two more standard criteria:

Voice Over Narration to advance the story is always acceptable.

Flashbacks can be used to also to advance the story.

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« Reply #6 on: December 16, 2011, 04:57:15 AM »


 
No frigging examples, I'm not trying to include any existing films. Remember I'm God and I'm creating a Noir Genre, I'm not trying to pigeon hole any existing films into it (though some obviously will fit) , that is the problem with Film Noir right now everybody has got their own opinion of what it is. We don't have that problem with say WESTERNS almost everybody knows what a Western is the only shady areas with Westerns are their time period, some people include Frontier Films, and some will include modern day (say post 1930's) films in the genre



If God was honest and humble he would say, "since i obviously was not clear,  I will update my post to reflect that what I meant was if I was creating the genre from scratch...." rather than  just quietly updating the original post, and then trying to make it seem as if subsequent commenters had missed it   Tongue na he would also change the topic from "THE noir genre" to "MY noir genre."

In all seriousness, isn't it at least as more beneficial to discuss what constitutes a noir as far as in cinema history? I know that's been discussed numerous times throughout the boards when discussing a particular film, but I figured this would be a nice opportunity to put it all together in 1 post. The question of what is a noir is certainly one which there are numerous different opinions on, and hence would make for at least as interesting discussion if it also included discussion of what you think is a noir (ie. the classic definitions), in addition to what you believe should be a noir. I am not saying you shouldn't discuss your opinions of what should be a noir; I am saying that IMO that should all be part of a major thread in which we'd also be discussing what is a noir. So that way, you could pigeon-hole old movies, and say, "they don't (or do) fit the classic noir definitions," even though they may or may not fit yours.

And you could also discuss the Film Soleil in the thread; it would truly be a thread encompassing "The Noir Genre," including what we think it IS, what we think it SHOULD BE, and sub-genres (eg. "Film Soleil"). IMO that would make for a better thread an awesome thread even awesomer  Smiley

But hey, that's just my opinion. Your thread, your call  Afro

p.s. In my previous post, when I said Roger Ebert was the second best all time critic behind G-D, I was not talking about you (Sorry if this changes me from "your son" to "the devil"  Grin). I was talking about Mr. Dundee (a play on words, which no doubt fed the ego and fed those who feel like he has a huge ego to feed. [For the record, i am completely agnostic as to the question of whether I believe there is indeed a large ego).

« Last Edit: December 16, 2011, 05:05:11 AM by drinkanddestroy » Logged

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« Reply #7 on: December 16, 2011, 05:11:12 AM »

You guys are hijacking the thread ;-), I'm trying to create the Genre from scratch ;-), we have the Film Noir and DVD discussion thread for these digressions.

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« Reply #8 on: December 16, 2011, 05:31:17 AM »

You guys are hijacking the thread ;-), I'm trying to create the Genre from scratch ;-), we have the Film Noir and DVD discussion thread for these digressions.

you have said that noir is not a genre but a style. Now your own thread topic is calling it a Gnere. Not only that, but THE genre. cj's desire of what he thinks the noir should look like if he had his way, is now THE NOIR GENRE.

hey, as our buddy Richard--W learned, you can't always control where your thread goes.

Aight dad, I'll step back now and let your preach  Wink

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« Reply #9 on: December 16, 2011, 05:36:34 AM »

Your top 3 at the present time seem to be:

1. Ace in the Hole
2. Sunset Boulevard
3. Maltese Falcon

These preferences can be altered at any time in the future and I'll update the list at IMDb in due course. Obviously I'm just trying out a new idea.




NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO. I never said that  Wink

From those on your list:

My #1 favorite is Ace in the Hole
#2 is Out of the Past (remember, I didn't finish commenting on your list; I'm still pissing  Wink)
For third place, let's call it a tie between Sunset Boulevard and In a Lonely Place

« Last Edit: December 17, 2011, 05:15:49 PM by drinkanddestroy » Logged

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« Reply #10 on: December 16, 2011, 05:37:56 AM »

WTF does creating the GENRE mean to you?

Its getting ridiculous coming across all the inclusions to the Film Noir Style (its not a Genre its a concept as it stands now), that's why I'm chucking it all and say FUCK-It Lets create a Film Noir Genre give it clear diegesis and be done with it.


Back on topic I would also say that

Graphic Novel Style as used in the film Sin City is perfectly acceptable in the Noir Genre in fact it may be the least expensive way to create the Diegetic Noir World of the Genre time period.

« Last Edit: December 16, 2011, 05:45:16 AM by cigar joe » Logged

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« Reply #11 on: December 16, 2011, 05:42:36 AM »

cj: just curious, would you consider Eastern Promises a neo-noir, either by your own standards and/or by generally-accepted standards?

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« Reply #12 on: December 16, 2011, 05:49:03 AM »

cj: just curious, would you consider Eastern Promises a neo-noir, either by your own standards and/or by generally-accepted standards?

I haven't seen it, but its sounds like a crime film to me from the synopsis.  

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« Reply #13 on: December 16, 2011, 05:56:38 AM »

I haven't seen it, but its sounds like a crime film to me from the synopsis.  

o yeah, it definitely is a crime film. and i do not remember anything about the camera angles/photography style.

But as I've said before, I struggle to understand why "crime films" do not fit noir definitions (and this applies both to God's new definitions, as well as the classic definitions).

and btw, you MUST MUST MUST see Eastern Promises. Put it at the TOP of your queue. whatever genre/style you consider it in, it is simply a SPECTACULAR film  Afro Afro

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« Reply #14 on: December 16, 2011, 07:13:50 AM »

Well a Noir can be a crime gangster film but not all gangster films are Noir stylistically.  I'm not sure if you've really seen any hard core "stylistically" Noir films yet, you'll know it when you see one.

But again there are NO, at the moment, Noir Genre films, but I'm sure some of the existing Noir style films will fit.

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