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Old Posted Apr 16, 2010, 2:32 PM
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GaylordWilshire GaylordWilshire is offline
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More Reflections on Noir

"Straight down the line...."

I've mentioned John Buntin's suggestion in his book L.A. Noir that the origins of noir might be in the smog attacks starting in 1943. Gsjansen posted images here of the wartime dimouts, which made me wonder if they contributed to the noir effect in films. I remembered that Richard Rayner had something to say about noir in A Bright and Guilty Place, which I went back and found:

"... the expressionless blue of the sky and the unchanging rhythm of perfect days that followed each other one after the other added to the melancholy. 'Outside the bright gardens had a haunted look, as though wild eyes were watching me from behind the bushes, as though the sunshine itself had a mysterious something in the light,' wrote Raymond Chandler.

"Cities have characters...states of mind that run through daily life.... Chandler's 'mysterious something' was a mood of disenchantment, an intense spiritual malaise that identified itself with Los Angeles at a particular time, what we call noir. On the one hand noir is a narrow film genre, born in Hollywood in the late 1930s when a European visual style, the twisted perspectives and stark chiaroscuros of German Expressionism [at a time of a vast influx of German filmmakers fleeing Europe and settling in Los Angeles], met an American literary idiom [Chandler, Cain etc].

"...L.A. is city of big dreams and cruelly inevitable's a counter-tradition, the dark lens through which the booster myths can be viewed, a disillusion that shadows even the best of times.... Noir...was born when the Roaring Twenties blew themselves out and hard times rushed in; it crystallized real-life events and the writhing collapse of the national economy before finding its interpreters in writers like Raymond Chandler."

L.A. Times
Act of Violence, 1948


John Coulthart
Can you identify this?
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