Re: RARA-AVIS: Noir style but not Noir Content.

Date: 18 Feb 2003

> Let's not forget that Marcel Carné ˇnd Jean Renoir in
> France, as well as Thorold Dickinson, Carol Reed and Alfred
> Hitchcock in England, used all the props that later would
> be called noir. Hitchcock's The Lodger (1926) is pure noir.
> The German expressionistic style has already been
> mentioned; its influence was very important.
> I don't see how Huston and Welles could claim credit for
> inventing a cinematic style that was two decades old. At
> least the tricks were old. The characters and situations in
> Kane and Falcon are typically American.

Perhaps the embryonic style was European (German, French and British), but Huston and Welles, to my knowledge, never claimed to be "inventors" of any style, per se, but there were things they did which had never been done before. Two examples, one from each film: When Spade gets the call from the cops that Archer is dead, the scene begins with the camera in a set shot on the alarm clock on Spade's bedside table, so we know what time it is. The phone rings, Spade answers, and the camera stays fixed on that spot, with Spade eventually moving into the scene, so we don't see his initial reaction to the news, we only hear his side of the conversation. In Kane, there is the shot of Kane standing in his office, where Welles wanted the angle to be from below, so he had the floor of the room torn up and a hole dug so he could set his camera in it. It was the final shot he filmed, and he ran it something like fifty times before he had it exactly the way he wanted it.

Pure genius, for my money!

All the Best,


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