I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t accept an insurance claim from this company.
Posts tagged film noir
thelamplightersserenade asked: Which Marlowe did you prefer? Bogart or Powell?
Bogart over Powell for me. But as much as I love the Bogart hero, there is little in Bogie’s portrayal of Sam Spade and Philip Marlowe to differentiate two very different characters. My favorite Marlowe on screen is Powers Boothe from HBO’s Philip Marlowe, Private Eye.
She was standing at the bus stop. Sounds like a Hollies song. But she had a wedding ring on, and I already had a moll. No romance here. But she was still standing at the bus stop. Reading a book. I was curious. I glanced over to see what it was. It was a Robert B. Parker.
She saw me looking. Glanced up. I nodded. Pulled the Mike Hammer I had in my messenger bag and held it up. She smiled and nodded back. She turned back to her book. I put mine away. Checked my watch and wondered when the goddamn bus would get there.
Nothing more was said. Nothing more to say. We were both members of the same fraternity. It has no name. Doesn’t need a name. All it needs is a dirty world—and an avenging angel. Or several: Spade, Hammer, McGee, Spenser, whoever. Someone to tame the monsters in a dirty world.
James Ellroy said the message of film noir is “You’re fucked.” It isn’t just in the movies. It was in the books before that, and it’s still there. That’s why we read. And that’s why we have our heroes: they make sure the bad guys get fucked just a bit faster.
That’s what this fraternity is about. There may not be much justice around. But there’s some “get fucked” vengeance stored away in books. So we keep that alive—we’ll take what we can get. We may not have anything else in common. We don’t need anything else in common. We just share little nods of recognition and respect. Because we know who we are.
We keep the avenging angels alive. Every time we turn a page.
Here’s an oldie but a goodie that I originally posted last year. But it’s every bit as beguiling a year later. So enjoy the yuletide double-crosses, and have a merry Christmas!
One week to Christmas, and here’s a great noirish short film. Ultimately, it’s a send-up of film noir double-crossing, but it’s a send-up with great amounts of creativity and charm.
RIP Andy Griffith, 1926-2012
I grew up laughing at the antics in Mayberry, but Andy Griffith was probably at his best in this almost-film-noir directed by Elia Kazan. Engaging, sinister and brilliantly prescient, A Face in the Crowd shows that Andy Griffith’s range as an actor was never really utilized on TV.
In 1957, a demagogic entertainer was considered remarkable. Today, Lonesome Rhodes would have his own cable news show.
thelamplightersserenade asked: What, in your opinion, elevates a great hardboiled film/novel from just a common thriller?
I’m not sure I agree with the implicit assumption that hardboiled is necessarily great, while thrillers are common. I think there are great and common works in both categories. Pulp, noir, hardboiled, thriller—these are categories which are not synonymous, but do overlap. The Silence of the Lambs is a thriller, but hardly common. Ditto for The Manchurian Candidate. The film V.I. Warshawski is based on Sara Paretsky’s hardboiled P.I., but is dreadfully common.
Ultimately, thriller refers to works that focus on suspense while hardboiled refers to the nature of the protagonist and/or the prose used. These elements may or may not intersect. Kiss Me Deadly is one case of intersection.
And I would be remiss if I discussed Blade Runner without addressing the debate. What do you say, geeky tumblchums? Is Deckard a replicant?
The most highly regarded of postwar British films noir, The Third Man strikes me as quite Chandleresque (Chandlerian?). Holly Martens (a pulp scribe not unlike Chandler several decades earlier) puts the clues together slowly, but this film isn’t about detection. Like Chandler’s novels, The Third Man delivers atmosphere (though Graham Greene’s plot is better than Chandler’s usually were). The cinematography is beguiling, unnerving—and positively gorgeous.
Is this noir? I don’t think so, though I’m not sure what isn’t neo-noir anymore. It’s a hell of a film, regardless.