Re: RARA-AVIS: Noir definition

From: Terrill Lankford (
Date: 23 Aug 2004

Man, I should have known those words would come back to haunt me. That quote got pulled from a panal I was on many years ago with Woody Haut and a bunch of crime writers, including Scott Phillips. Some wiseacre in the audience asked me to try to define the difference between HB and noir and I pulled those lines out of my you-know-where. I didn't think Phillips would be quoting it years later. Now I've got the experts burning me at the stake. I know I was over-generalizing. And I know there are tons of exceptions to that rule, but I was probably drinking a bit that day. (It sounded good at the time.)

If only I could have had the old: HB = Tough, Noir = screwed definition at hand....

Alas, that technology was not available at that time.

I won't make the same mistake in the future. I promise.

I've never been much good at this definitions thing.....


-----Original Message----- From: Michael Robison <> Sent: Aug 23, 2004 9:52 AM To: Subject: RARA-AVIS: Noir definition

Jacques Debierue wrote, noting Terrill Lankford's quote: "hard-boiled is about tough guys who win, and noir is about tough guys who lose."
  This does not suffice to cover a lot of noir classics. Willeford's Figueras was not tough: he was obsessed and he slowly went crazy. The same goes for the protagonist of Harrington's Dark Ride...

************* Huh? You didn't think the protagonist in DARK RIDE was tough? Don't you remember that scene where he's beating hell out of a punching bag? What about that scene where he steps into the drug house? The protagonist is a tough guy who loses. It fits the Lankford criteria perfectly, doesn't it?


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This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : 23 Aug 2004 EDT