Re: RARA-AVIS: The Conversation

From: Terrill Lankford (
Date: 04 Oct 2007

-----Original Message-----
>From: William Ahearn <>
>Sent: Oct 4, 2007 7:52 PM
>Subject: Re: RARA-AVIS: The Conversation

>Here's my dilemma. When Nino Frank and the other
>French critic mentioned "noir" in their 1946 articles,
>they were making an off-hand reference -- a gesture --
>to a film form already in existence in France and
>other countries. It is that definition that I think
>defines noir. Yes, it is extremely narrow but so are
>many definitions, especially in film (Italian
>Neo-Realism comes to mind).

But since they were specifically talking about films, should the same list of standards apply to literature? (Not being argumentative, just asking.)

>Many of the people who wrote about noir later just
>seemed to lump every black and white US crime film
>into the mix. That's why some people roll "The Asphalt
>Jungle," "The Blue Dahlia" and "A Lonely Place" as
>film noir but I, for the life of me, can't see the
>commonality. So -- if you're concerned with
>consistency -- please tell me where the consistency is
>in including these three films as noir.

Right after I posted my off-the-cuff list of films and books in my last post I thought about IN A LONELY PLACE. What a movie! I just watched it again last week and it stunned me just like it did the first time I saw it. Truly a unique viewing experience. A movie that could just as easily have been from the 70s, when moral quagmire was the IN thing, as the 50s when the world at least APPEARED to be far simpler in the movies. It is adult in every way possible. I can certainly see why many would label it noir. It is a story that truly goes into a "heart of darkness." But if others want to argue it is not noir, I've got no complaint with that either. To paraphrase your statement about THE CONVERSATION, I'm not sure where to categorize IN A LONELY PLACE, but it's one hell of a movie. Anyone on this list who hasn't seen it should get to their nearest rental store asap and pick it up. Or better yet, just buy the thing. You'll want to watch it more than once.

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