RARA-AVIS: Re: The Singing Detective

From: Kevin Burton Smith ( kvnsmith@colba.net)
Date: 07 Aug 2000

Dick asked:

>On the British noir movie topic, putting aside the qualities of "The Singing
>Detective," I don't see how it qualifies as noir, unless there's something
>in the plot I've forgotten. Isn't it about a private eye novelist so much in
>pain from psoriasis (sp?) that he fantasizes a satiric singing and dancing
>detective yarn? I don't consider myself a purist when it comes to the
>category, but I do think there should be a crime element lurking around

Well, gee, there's so many plot elements swirling about it's hard to tell, but isn't there that bit about a long ago rape and some murder, and his wife possibly stealing his money and a few other nasties? Of course, some of it's in Marlow's head, but real or imagined, paranoid delusion or not, it seems real to him. Think of it as interior noir. And isn't paranoia itself one of the ingredients of much noir?

So, no, it's not exactly noir-noir, in that B-film cigarette smoke and rainy streets way, though it certainly makes use of many of its traditions, but I'd say anyone beyond the purest purist who's interested in noir, hard-boiled or detective fiction, or the creation of it, might get a big kick out of it.

Kevin Burton Smith The Thrilling Detective Web Site http://www.colba.net/~kvnsmith/thrillingdetective/

New fiction from Anthony Neil Smith and Jochem Vandersteen, a Reader's Survey and Talkin' 'Bout Shaft. Can you dig it?

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