"There ARE happy endings in almost every Noir film made in the 40s and 50s you can think of." Mark Sullivan responded: 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.
Yes, I'd agree in part. But producers and directors who wanted careers
could hardly make a steady diet of downers that the public wouldn't have
enjoyed going to see, even if they'd been allowed to make them. To say
that noir = "gloom and everyone is doomed" is far too simplistic. The
point that the world is not always a friendly place can be made, even if
the protagonists are allowed to survive, and yes, enjoy a happy
ending. This time. Maybe not next time.
As you say, "Which raises the question of whether anyone really bought
those happy endings..." We're in sync.
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