First, excuse me for getting the title and date of HE WALKED BY NIGHT wrong. I didn't realize I was walking into a shredder. I'll watch my step in the future.
My point was that HWBN was a reaction to film noir, which arguably began in 1944 with PHANTOM LADY and DOUBLE INDEMNITY. Of course there's a history prior to that, in film and books. I get it.
As for the villain-humanizing touches you claim to exist in HWBN, making a villain intelligent only likens him to Lucifer, the archetypal arch-villain; giving him a pet makes him sentimental, which is cheap emotion; making him charming, especially when the charm is a mask, perfects the portrait of a sociopath. If these are humanizing touches, God save us from dehumanizing ones.
As for your remarks on real life criminals, I'll leave it alone, except to say I worked in the crime field for fifteen years, and I guess we'll just have to agree to disagree.
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