Re: RARA-AVIS: Re: Everything's Noir?

From: William Ahearn (
Date: 21 May 2007

--- JIM DOHERTY <> wrote:

> "I don't think it can be credibly denied that 'noir'
> has connotations beyond 'dark and sinister' when
> applied to books."

I'll go back to my original definition and it works across books and films and that is a protagonist who is usually destroyed in a corrupt world by his own greed, stupidity, lust or whatever and usually lead there by some amoral dame. It began in books with Cornell Woolrich and then was followed by James M Cain. All of their noir work follows this outline. But it also includes Patricia Highsmith's Strangers On A Train. The book is noir, the movie is not. Why is the movie not noir? Because Hitchcock gutted the book to make another innocent man on the run movie. Sunset Blvd and Mildred Pierce are examples of the cusp of the end of noir. But classic movies in these genre are Gun Crazy, Detour, the others mentioned. The problem isn't want is noir -- we know what that is and it's of a certain time and place -- the problem is what do you call all this derivative bullshit shilled by marketers who don't have a clue.

That's my take.


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