Re: RARA-AVIS: upbeat endings not hard boiled?

Date: 12 Feb 2002

Re George comments below:

> Okay, I'm only about a month behind in this stream,
> but I thought I would throw in my two cents:
> In hard-boiled fiction, the world is more or less
> the
> same at the end of the story as it was in the
> beginning. Some people may be better off, some
> people
> are usually a little worse off (this often includes
> the protagonist), but in general, order is restored
> to
> the status quo ante.
> In noir, no one wins. If anyone is better off at
> all,
> and there usually isn't anyone, it's the person or
> persons least deserving of it. The world is worse
> off
> at the end of the story than at the beginning.

There are plenty of Cornell Woolrich stories in which the good guys are better off at then end, but to say that Wollrich isn't noir is clearly silly.

Upbeat endings or downbeat endings are not what define either noir or hardboiled. Neither are the two mutually exclusive.

Hardboiled is attitude.

Noir is atmosphere.

That which is tough and colloquial, whatever the ending, is hardboiled.

That which is dark and sinister, whatever the ending, is noir.

That which is tough and colloquial and dark and sinister, whatever the ending, is both hardboiled and noir.

Hope I've made it clear. It's really not that complicated.


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