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Author Topic: Film-Noir Discussion/DVD Review Thread  (Read 366658 times)
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« Reply #990 on: February 20, 2012, 11:26:06 PM »

Sounds like an interesting book, and doubtless it has some interesting things to say, but when I see this kind of B.S. I lose a lot of interest:
Film noir is and always has been escapist entertainment. People don't watch it to see "a response to an increasingly realistic and understandable anxiety." They watch it to divert themselves from the hum-drum pattern of their daily lives. If people are worried about something, they go to comedies or musicals--things that take their minds off human suffering. Noir, which features human anxiety and suffering, is entertaining only to people who are realitively free of such things.
It's only healthy to try and break the mythology of How Film Noir Was Born and that kind of psychologization over all. But unlike speaking about the general atmosphere, speaking about the "anxiety" of the film makers makes some sense: I think you can find traces of this in several noirs. But why people watch them I cannot say. I can only say that I personally want movies to have some content in addition to the dark alleys and femme fatales.

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« Reply #991 on: February 20, 2012, 11:33:37 PM »

I can only say that I personally want movies to have some content in addition to the dark alleys and femme fatales.

agreed  Afro

p.s. isn't it "femmes fatale"?  Wink

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« Reply #992 on: February 22, 2012, 08:32:22 AM »

Why aren't femme fatales/ femmes fatale "content"? They certainly were for Wagner, for Chrétien de Troyes, for Virgil. In fact, they've been some of the best content in literature ever.


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« Reply #993 on: February 22, 2012, 08:46:37 AM »

http://somecamerunning.typepad.com/some_came_running/2012/02/the-black-book-versus-reign-of-terror.html
The guy has me convinced. My order for the Sony has been placed.

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« Reply #994 on: February 22, 2012, 03:44:56 PM »

Sounds like an interesting book, and doubtless it has some interesting things to say, but when I see this kind of B.S. I lose a lot of interest:
Film noir is and always has been escapist entertainment. People don't watch it to see "a response to an increasingly realistic and understandable anxiety." They watch it to divert themselves from the hum-drum pattern of their daily lives. If people are worried about something, they go to comedies or musicals--things that take their minds off human suffering. Noir, which features human anxiety and suffering, is entertaining only to people who are realitively free of such things.

Now for sure, but...

You gotta read the book, films are escapist, but the book makes clear that during WWII, there was no escaping the WWII newsreels shown at the theaters along with the films, which were the only "Visual" news of the war and that in you face reality of violence opened the door to the weakening of the Hayes Code, and opened the door to Noir.

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« Reply #995 on: February 23, 2012, 07:53:43 AM »

Why aren't femme fatales/ femmes fatale "content"? They certainly were for Wagner, for Chrétien de Troyes, for Virgil. In fact, they've been some of the best content in literature ever.
They certainly can be. I only used them as an example of film noir's genre conventions. So basically what I wanted to say with my last sentence in the earlier post was: "I personally want movies to have some content in addition to genre conventions".

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« Reply #996 on: February 23, 2012, 09:01:13 AM »

I'll go along, provided "content" isn't limited to what is "socially relevant" at the moment of creation. When I enjoy Hamlet the first question that occurs to me is not, How does this play operate as a response to the politics of the Tudor court? I'm more likely to think about the issue of divided loyalties (whether to serve a living or a dead king), or about the ethic of revenge. Similarly, when I enjoy Double Indemnity I don't spend a moment on What did the impact of WW2 have on this picture?, Or, What does this film express about the changing role of women in 1943? Instead, I'm more likely to think about the issue of divided loyalties (whether to serve appetites or remain true to a principled friend) or on the ethics of murder-for-gain. Those are issues that are of unvarying interest and are not period-specific.

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« Reply #997 on: February 23, 2012, 06:32:44 PM »

I can only say that I personally want movies to have some content in addition to the dark alleys and femme fatales.

I am glad you wrote that, cuz that point gets to the heart of some of the discussions I have had here RE: film noir (including this point whoch I made on the recent discussion of DETOUR here http://www.fistful-of-leone.com/forums/index.php?topic=11172.msg154685#msg154685 )

You have what I'll call the "First Category" of fans, true noir fans who love noir for the sake of noir, and when a movie has the appropriate grittiness and dark alleys and shadows and femmes fatale, and low angles and the right lighting, they love the movie as a great noir, even if it's not a very interesting story. Then you have a "second category" of fan, the type of person who loves dramas, whether it's in the noir style or not. For this "Second Category"  a noir may be an intersting style of Drama, but overall they care most about it being a good drama, rather than focusing so heavily on the noir aspects of it. So for this "Second category" a movie that is not a very compelling otherwise, won't be improved by the fact that it does the noir elements spectacularly. On the flip side, the "First category" of fan loves a movie just for being a great Noir; but when there is a movie that is a great story and wonderful but doesn't do its noir elements so well, he won't like it cuz it failed at its attempt at Noir.

I am certainly from the Second Category. That's why I didn't find films like THE SET-UP, ACT OF VIOLENCE, and DETOUR all that compelling, while I'd bet that FIRST CATEGORY fans like cj loved it. On the other hand, my all-time favorite noir is Ace in the Hole, which really has no visual elements of noir and therefore First Category noir fans many not like it as much. (dj even complained that the main chartacter's actions weren't what you'd expect from a noir character!)

So while many people say they love film noir, they are often coming at it from different angles: those who love noir for noir's sake, apart from their general enjoyment of dramas; and those whose love of noir is just included in their love of all great dramas, and therefore want to see the same elements in a noir as they would of a non-noir drama.

IMO, films like DETOUR and THE SET-UP are a great way to determine if you are from the first category or the second, cuz I think those films only work well if your focus is specifically on the films' "noir-ness."

Maybe I am oversimplifying things, and of course everyone has elements of both, and may not fit perfectly/exclusively into one category or another. But I think this distinction is a useful one. For those in the Second Category, noirs are a style of the Drama genre; for those in the First Category, noirs are almost like another genre.


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« Reply #998 on: February 23, 2012, 10:45:33 PM »

Detour:

http://outofthepast.libsyn.com/webpage/episode_29_detour

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« Reply #999 on: February 24, 2012, 07:35:26 AM »

This seems the salient point:
Quote
Clute and Edwards argue that the film should be granted a far greater measure of technical mastery, that the so-called flubs purposefully call attention to the very cinematic means used to construct the narrative.In this optic, the film is not good despite its "flubs" but great because of them; they render it a self-conscious noir meta-narrative--a film about the making of noir films.

Instead of going the meta-narrative route, though, why not simply say that the "flubs" are appropriate for a film using an unreliable narrator?

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« Reply #1000 on: February 24, 2012, 03:34:26 PM »

Conflict (1945) 7/10. 2nd viewing. Bogey discovers that murdering his wife puts him in a lonely place. Obviously, given the Code, Bogart was never going to get away with it, but it is interesting to see how he gets tripped up. Sydney Greenstreet and Alexis Smith are also in the picture.

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« Reply #1001 on: February 24, 2012, 07:38:39 PM »

Interesting "musical" breakdown of D.O.A. here:

http://www.runmovies.eu/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=71:doa&catid=38:vintage-scores

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« Reply #1002 on: February 25, 2012, 06:11:33 AM »

Wow, nice find! Afro

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« Reply #1003 on: February 25, 2012, 11:37:08 AM »

Savant on Columbia Noir 3: http://www.dvdtalk.com/dvdsavant/s3737noir3.html

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« Reply #1004 on: March 03, 2012, 01:10:01 PM »

As per my order of Columbia Noir 3, TCM is now telling me to expect shipment around 20 March. What bastards!

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