RARA-AVIS: Re: The Dark Night. No, the Noir Knight. No, the Black Knight. Oh, g

From: davezeltserman (davezelt@rcn.com)
Date: 28 Jul 2008

  • Next message: Sean Shapiro: "RARA-AVIS: Italo-noir"

    --- In rara-avis-l@yahoogroups.com, "jimdohertyjr" <jimdohertyjr@...> .
    > What it sounds like you're saying is that "noir" is something that
    > has to be strived for. If it doesn't reach a certan level of
    > quality, sophistication, and subtlety, it doesn't get to enter the
    > club.

    Jim, that's not what I'm saying. Quality doesn't come into. I defined
     my idea of noir earlier, and Sin City didn't fit it. Hartigan is a heroic character--he doesn't cross any moral line to doom himself, with him it's self-sacrifice. Even though Marv ends up in the electric chair, I don't see his story as fatalistic, but more redemptive. Again, these stories felt to me as hardboiled-pulp, not noir, but populated by prototypical characters out of a noir universe. Take that as you will.

    > If it's just a cliched rehash of familiar elements, it falls short of
    > being noir.
    > That sounds rather like saying that SILVERADO, for example, falls
    > short of being an actual western because it's merely an affectionate
    > rehash of elements from western fiction with which we're all
    > familiar. Or that THE BIG RED ONE, with its tough professional non-
    > com, its callow young man who grows up in the crucible of combat, and
    > its multi-ethnic squad of soldiers from all over America, somehow
    > falls short of being an actual war story because it simply rehashes
    > the elements of dozens of examples of military fiction.

    Again, you're taking me out of context. I wouldn't argue that Silverado isn't a western, just that it's not a very good western. Btw. I also wouldn't argue that westerns can't be noir, especially with Ed Gorman and I co-editing an upcoming anthology of western noir stories. (plug ended...)

    > "Spillane isn't really hard-boiled because he's too cartoonish."
    > Spillane not hard-boiled? Come on! If you don't like him you don't
    > like him, but if he's not hard-boiled, water isn't wet.

    I've never argued (nor would I) that Spillane isn't hardboiled. I'm a fan (just as I am of Hammett, Willeford, Jim Thompson, James M. Cain, Dan Marlowe, Jonathan Latimer, etc.) --in fact Charles uses a quote of mine on his Hardcase book.

    > Discussing the actual works is, I think, what this list should be
    > about.

    Okay, let's discuss an actual work--I'm currently reading Crimini published by Bitter Lemon Press, which is a collection of Italian crime fiction, and it's quite good, several of the stories fit my idea of noir. I'll be writing more about this when I finish the book, but I'm finding myself more and more hooked with some of the newer Italian crime authors--Reasonable Doubts by Gianrico Carofiglio was one of my favorite reads from last year.


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