Re: RARA-AVIS: More Thoughts on Noir?

From: Jeff Vorzimmer (
Date: 21 May 2007

I've just started a book entitled Staying Up Much Too Late: Edward Hopper's Nighthawks and the Dark Side of the American Psyche, which purports to be about how the painting Nighthawks is emblematic of the post-war sense of alienation in the U.S. that manifested itself in film noir, hardboiled crime fiction and the photos of Weegee. The author's point is that, though the U.S. returned to a certain normalacy after the war, there was a dark underbelly of despair and alienation that is still with us toward.

Not an earth-shattering premise by any means, but he does make some interesting points. He points out that the U.S. lost it's optimism and dreams. The optism of "manifest destiny" and the idea of building a utopia on a new continent had been completely obliterated by the end of the depression and the second world war.

A quote:

There's the small town of Jim Thompson's pulp novel, The Killer Inside Me, where deputy sheriff Lou Ford spouts a string of clich餠platitudes--"If we didn't have rain, we wouldn't have rainbows."--but gets his kicks from torture and killing, by, say, extinguishing a cigar in a beggar's palm.


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