Re: RARA-AVIS: The Derivation of Film Noir (French Films or French Mystery Publishers?)

From: William Ahearn (
Date: 05 Oct 2007

--- JIM DOHERTY <> wrote:

> But it has always been my understanding that, when
> they called the post-war American crime films
> "noir,"
> they were not referring to some pre-existing French
> style, but to the novels, mostly American, published
> by Gallimard under the Serie Noire label.
With all due respect all I can say is to read the original articles. They are reprinted in Film Noir Reader 2. Both critics refer to specific French films to support their reference. I can understand why you feel the way you do because when I read then original articles by the French critics -- especially Nino Frank who uses the term noir ONCE AND IN QUOTES in his article -- I was totally pissed at the sloppy research done by everyone that followed. The Gallimard imprint isn't even hinted at.

I'm not kidding at how pissed I was. The essay on my website is based on the first three articles in Film Noir Reader 2. It's a really bad joke. Please go find the book and read the original articles. It's not hair-splitting verbiage or esoteric film theory, it's quite clear. Nino Frank uses the term noir once. That's it.

My essay is here:

Go read it, Jim or anyone else and tell me I'm wrong. But don't believe me. Or anyone else. Read the original. Please. And then you'll have a clue as to why I'm so pissed about these vague definitions flying around.


Essays and Ramblings

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