Film Noir: From Berlin to Sin City (Short Cuts)
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Film Noir explores the murky world of a genre responsible for many of film's most enduring images. Mark Bould discusses problems of definition and the often ambiguous nature of film noir and looks at modern films that could be called neo-noir. Iconic and enduring, film noir attracted great stars (Bogart, Bacall, Mitchum, Lancaster), many of the best directors of the era (Wilder, Lang, Preminger, Hawks, Siodmak, Welles) and this book is an indispensible guide to this popular genre.
film star’s mansion. He selects ‘the day when it all started’ about six months earlier. A failing screenwriter, he was ‘grinding out original stories, two a week’ that he could not sell – ‘Maybe they weren’t original enough, maybe they were too original’. Fleeing repo men, he turns into the driveway of silent-era star Norma Desmond (Gloria Swanson). A peculiar relationship develops, and when Joe eventually tries to leave her, she shoots him. D.O.A., inspired by Siodmak’s Der Man, der Seinen
younger, wife. Marlowe returns through the rising fog to find Marriott beaten to death. Clubbed from behind, Marlowe falls to the ground and his voice-over begins. ‘I caught the blackjack right behind my ear. A black pool opened up at my feet. I dived right in. It had no bottom.’ Blackness seeps across the screen until there is just a point of light at the centre. ‘I felt pretty good. Like an amputated leg.’ The point of light grows, irises out from Marlowe’s face, which is held in a torch beam.
life of another. In our world, acts of violence are not rare, and so my excuse… Shot 3 [Medium shot of Mobley, roughly corresponding with the television camera’s viewpoint.] …I should say my reason – for giving importance to this particular story is my hope that… Shot 4 [Medium-long shot of Manners, in his pyjamas and sat backwards on a chair, facing his television, which is positioned in the bottom-left corner of the frame.] …the killer may be listening to me, for I believe, that in his
office – he clams up, lost for words. But the Coens’ clever pastiche of hard-boiled prose – like the barren, almost cartoonishly sketched-in mise-en-scène and the panoply of parodic characters – evokes an entextualised past rather than historicity, a performance rather than an identity; and their embrace of past and performance is ultimately consolatory, mostly. Several varieties of noir story seem to have been especially popular among neo-noir filmmakers. The gangster film thrived in the long
kidnapped her. Wanting no part of her plan to con Watts out of $10 million, Bardo tries to warn him, but Laure shoots them both. Black Tie and Racine appear, and throw her into the Seine. She falls, suddenly naked, into eerily clear water, and swims for the surface, only to wake up in the bath in Lily’s apartment. It has all been a dream. This time, Laure intervenes in Lily’s suicide, persuading her that she will meet a man on the aeroplane and fall in love. A truck driver (Salvatorre Ingoglia)