Tuesday, August 03, 2004

Noir and Noir Again

Michael Blowhard offers up a primer in Film Noir, or as he calls it Film Noir 101. If you are unfamiliar with the genre or in need of a short refresher course, it is well worth your time.

I would only differ from him in his dismissal of Polanski's Chinatown, which is in a completely different league from the rest of the "neo noir" knockoffs that he mentions, such as L.A. Confidential and Body Heat. And in the category of neo noir, I will admit a soft spot for The Big Easy. But that is mainly for the fantastic soundtrack.

His acknowledgement of Cyber Punk and Graphic Novels by the likes of Frank Miller as being offshoots of Noir is a well taken point, though he glosses over the Noir influences on many of the Nouvelle Vague films of the sixties. And I must bring into question the ordering of his list of notable Noirs. Putting Kubrick's The Killing above Out of the Past, well that seems plain old contrarian to me. And I must also fault him slightly for the sin of omission. While it can be categorized as the first Neo Noir, in that it is a self conscious Noir styling, Orson Welles' Noir, A Touch of Evil is certainly worth a mention (along with Lady From Shanghai). And I might have given an honorable mention to Robert Aldrich's filming of Mickey Spillane's Kiss Me Deadly.

Warner Home Video's Film Noir Boxset can be purchased here.

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