RARA-AVIS: Types of noir (was Re: Pop. 1280)

From: Jacques Debierue ( matrxtech@yahoo.com)
Date: 28 Jul 2007

--- In rara-avis-l@yahoogroups.com, Michael Robison
<miker_zspider@...> wrote:
> *************
> I think the psycho part has been answered by those
> more knowledgeable than me. Definitely the following:
> Double Indemnity, Cain
> Killer Inside Me, Thompson
> Burnt Orange Heresy, Willeford
> What is standard and pure, I don't know. There is
> some disagreement on the list about whether the
> victorious hardboiled detective novels (like The
> Maltese Falcon) qualifies as noir fiction, even if the
> film version is noir.
> There are two simple sets of definitions for
> hardboiled and noir now rolling around the group. Jim
> Doherty says:
> noir = dark and sinister
> hardboiled = tough and colloquial
> Jack Bludis says:
> noir = screwed
> hardboiled = tough

We have never reached a consensus, or anything like it. I do think that most of us tend to agree, when talking about a particular novel or story, whether it is NOT hardboiled or NOT noir. But the word
"noir" has entered popular language and no longer serves as a technical term. With that interpretation in mind, lots of things are called "noir", The Maltese Falcon included.

With the more refined distinctions that some of us have brought up, the Falcon might not be a noir novel. I don't think it is, as I don't think anything by Chandler or Ross Macdonald is noir. One problem is that hardboiled and noir can coexist in the same novel or story. One person might see it as a hardboiled story and another as a noir story. Then there is the question of _film noir_, a category that is not very clearly defined either. It is not just a look. You can make a horror film with a very similar look to a noir film, for example. The Uninvited, for example, not noir. And you can make a noir film that looks like a Western (_The Shooting_, for example) or like a series of flashes of sixties' color with the Yardbirds in the background

Best, perhaps to be continued if the bricks don't start flying...

> miker
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