Re: RARA-AVIS: Chandler's "Noir Feel" for LA (was Denise Hamilton)

From: Jim Beaver (
Date: 14 May 2004

Jim Doherty wrote:
> First of all, different techniques are used to set
> atmoshpere and mood in different mediums. In radio,
> it would be set by sound effects. In prose by words.
> Film, being a visual medium, sets it by images.
> That's why THE LITTLE SISTER is noir, while the fairly
> faithful 1969 film version, MARLOWE, is not. The
> former uses words to set a dark and sinister
> atmoshere. The latter (in sharp contrast to the
> Chandler adaptations done in the '40's) does not use
> visual imagery to set a dark and sinister atmosphere.

NIGHT MOVES has always been one of the films I most considered noir. Yet from your definition as I understand it above, it would not qualify. Well, the daytime scenes wouldn't.

I'm not trying to be argumentative, but a definition of noir that categorizes things by time of day or interior/exterior doesn't serve me very well. There are scenes in the 1969 MARLOWE film that are very dark and sinister, yet most of the film has a brightly-lit daytime quality. Even the oft-proclaimed "quintessential" noir film OUT OF THE PAST has plenty of bright, sunshine-y scenes. Semi-noir, perhaps?

Jim Beaver

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