Re: RARA-AVIS: Early Noir

From: William Ahearn (
Date: 20 May 2007

--- Michael Robison <> wrote:

> If you've seen the movie, I wouldn't recommend the
> book. Why do you see Little Caesar as not noir? Is
> Edgar G. just too darn tough for noir? Lack of a
> femme fatale? I'm genuinely interested, not just
> looking to argue.
I'm really glad I joined this group because I don't think I could have this conversation anywhere else and it's really helping me focus. I don't see it as noir for the same reason that I don't see Scarface as noir. Yes, the protagonist is killed ("could this be the end of Rico," in Little Caesar) and by his own devices. But if you look at the early noir -- both roman and cinema -- it's the screwing of the little guy. In Woolrich and Cain, it's always some schmo who ends up impaled on the sharp stick of life. Same is true in Detour, Gun Crazy, Out of the Past, Sunset Blvd, whatever. In hardboiled, it's the tough nobody who corrects the deviation in the world. So, your basic crime boss story whether it's The Godfather or Little Caesar or whoever just can't be fashioned to the little guy. Granted, this is a feeling more than a rule. Books and films are too fluid as they progress along a stylistic line to have some Stalinistic or orthodox interpretation but that's how I see it.


Essays and Ramblings

____________________________________________________________________________________Luggage? GPS? Comic books? Check out fitting gifts for grads at Yahoo! Search

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : 20 May 2007 EDT