Re Kehr's suggested definition:
"a pervasive sense of urban menace . . . "
KEY LARGO and ON DANGEROUS GROUND are rural.
". . . and malign fate, . . . "
Marlowe in MURDER, MY SWEET and Hammer in I THE JURY are master of their own fate.
" . . . conveyed by a Germanic visual style full of threatening shadows and forced perspectives . . . "
In other words, "a dark and sinister atmosphere."
" . . . a fall-guy hero wrenched out of a comfortable existence by an arbitrary twist of fate or a moment of moral weakness; a femme fatale who leads the hero on with her sexuality but ultimately only wants to use him and toss him away; a downbeat ending that finds the protagonist defeated or dead - or, preferably, both."
In any number of cop noirs, private eye noirs, and other noirs, the hero (not merely a protagonist) emerges triumphant.
So, as always, he's wrong, wrong, wrong, except in the one essential, ("German visual style") and I am right.
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