RARA-AVIS: Noir Not Noir

From: Jeff Vorzimmer ( jvorzimmer@austin.rr.com)
Date: 24 Jul 2007

Just watched Sweet Smell of Success and I liked it. Great Elmer Bernstein score, dimly-lit sets, rainy streets, doomed characters. I also recently watched Clash by Night. Great noir title, right? But you know what--not noir by my definition. Directed by Fritz Lang, starring Barbara Stanwyck, Robert Ryan and Marilyn Monroe, but like Sweet Smell of Success--no crime--no noir. To me crime is an essential part of film noir. I disagree with the critics that say noir is not a genre but a style. It's a certain style within a genre. This almost seems self-evident to me but I know there will be a lot of you disagreeing with me.


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