RE: RARA-AVIS: Re:How to write noir

From: Mark Sullivan (
Date: 04 Mar 2009

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    Steve wrote:


    "There ARE happy endings in almost every Noir film made in the 40s and 50s you can think of."


    Well, you can thank the Production Code for that. Good Catholic that he was, Jo Breen (and his minions) mandated a lot of changes, particularly in endings, to make sure morality was rewarded and immorality paid for.
    "The sense of doom and the bad karma of fate can be pushed off to the side for a while, even long enough for the protagonists to give each other a big hug and a kiss at the end, but as soon as the closing credits have played, the feeling that the world is not always on your side begins to ease its way back in."


    Which raises the question of whether anyone really bought those happy endings. I always laugh at the happy ending of Pickup on South Street. Richard Widmark is going to go straight? Sure he is. What will he do? His only skill is as a pickpocket.



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