RARA-AVIS: Re: RARA-AVIS Digest V5 #33

From: Marianne Macdonald ( marianne.macdonald@lineone.net)
Date: 13 Feb 2003

On Thursday, February 13, 2003, at 09:00 AM, RARA-AVIS Digest wrote:

>> I'm not really looking for an argument over the definition.
>> I like both Jim's "dark and sinister atmosphere", and Jack
>> Bludis's "screwed". I'm simply looking for some justification
>> for noir beginning in the Thirties instead of two thousand
>> years ago.

If I can help a little to illuminate some assumptions, Silver and Ward's FILM NOIR (Overlook 1979) describes it as an indigenous American form, like the Western, but lacking the Western's back-up of literary genre or historical period: "a body of films that not only presents a cohesive vision of America but that does so in a manner transcending the influences of auterism or genre." (I could point out the flaw in this statement, which opens the introduction...)
   "Rather it is a self-contained reflection of American cultural preoccupations in film form. In short, it is the unique example of a wholly American film style."

The authors list as the first examples: 1927 Underworld (Paramount-Famous Players-Lasky) 1928 The Racket (") 1929 Thunderbolt (") 1931 City Streets (Paramount) 1932 Beast of the City (MGM) I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang (Warner)
...which is the only one I've seen from this list. Does anybody know any of the others?

As you see, the attitude here is that film noir is essentially American. But Vampyr appeared in 1932; it's possible that German expressionist film-making took off from American, but I don't know that there is much in this list that would support that idea.

As for Cain and Abel -- you say that Cain and Abel are FICTION? :-0


# To unsubscribe from the regular list, say "unsubscribe rara-avis" to
# majordomo@icomm.ca.  This will not work for the digest version.
# The web pages for the list are at http://www.miskatonic.org/rara-avis/ .

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : 13 Feb 2003 EST