Re: RARA-AVIS: sensitive detectives

Bruce Townley (
Sun, 28 Nov 1999 10:01:17 -0800 (PST)

On Sat, 27 Nov 1999 at 20:26 robert bee sent: sensitive detectives

>I'm delurking to point out that hardboiled and noir literature arouse out
>of a particular cultural period. Noir and hardboiled books and films had
>their greatest period of popularity in the 30s-50s when the US went through
>a depression and the WWII. In fact, the WWII generation was a "hardboiled"
>generation believing in stoic determination in the face of pain. I think
>the hardboiled figure was a model of manhood for that generation.

The narrative thrust of the noir film, which came into its own in the post WWII period, turns this do-it-yourself stoic determination on its head, as the lead characters (one hesitates to call such souls who have descended so deeply, yet so willingly into jeopardy, "heros") keep plodding onwards, or downwards, to their inevitable, self-inflicted fates, for the most part.
"For no good reason at all" to use the world weary line from the voice-over at the end of DETOUR. We'd just suffered through a war of global scope and unleashed the nightmarishly powerful nuclear genii at its end. The result were some unrelenting crime films that examined the seamy psychic underside of our nation's consumerist paradise.

Bruce T. =

"Sure I live bad. But at least I don't have to work at it."


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