RARA-AVIS: Re:How to write noir

From: JIM DOHERTY (jimdohertyjr@yahoo.com)
Date: 07 Mar 2009

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    Re your response to Walker below:

    "I came on a little strong I think. I do see some minor connections between the two films. One being Clifton Webb's voice-over narration, which became a common staple of films noir. Also, Dana Andrews' obsession with the seemingly dead Laura's painting. But that was a fleeting moment, as soon as Laura shows up alive, that fades quickly. It's an element that could have been his undoing. Outside of that I think the 'mood, atmosphere, and general tone' more resembles a traditional 'whodunnit' mystery..."

    He remains obsessed with Laura, even after she turns up alive. And it's not quite clear to him (or to the audience) that she's innocent of the murder of the actual victim until relatively late in the film.

    But let that bide.

    The "mood, atmosphere, and general tone," are the defining elements of noir. And, because of its visual qualities, LAURA has those defining elements.

    So it's noir.

    "Changing the subject, has anyone read the book? Is the movie faithful? Would you recommend it?"

    It's quite faithful, though the murder weapon is hidden in a very different way, and Vera Caspary was quite displeased at the change.

    Also, there are several narrators in the novel, not just Lydecker. McPherson narrates a large portion. Laura a shortish portion. There's one section (the interrotion of Laura by McPherson), that purports to be a copy of the official transcription of the Q&A.

    Lydecker's physical description is very different from Clifton Webb. The actor originally cast (or at least sought after) was Laird Cregar, who was closer physically to the way the character was described in the novel.



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