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Los Angeles Past Apr 15, 2011 5:16 AM

A definitive L.A. Noir "Top Ten"?
I'd like to make a suggestion – that the principal participants in this thread compile a definitive list of the top 10 greatest examples of L.A. film noir. (Or maybe a top 20, whatever number's appropriate.) I would find this a great help, myself, as I am somewhat of a naif when it comes to this genre, and I'd really appreciate having a best-of-the-best list to refer to for future movie-viewing enjoyment. What do you think? Is a "Best of L.A. Noir" list doable?


PS: Some possible criteria to consider:

* Critical acclaim
* Historical city views
* Great performances
* Notoriety

And I'd start off by nominating (in no particular order): "The Exiles," "L.A. Confidential," "Sunset Boulevard" and "Chinatown."

OldFontuckyHomer Apr 15, 2011 8:54 AM

Haven't seen the Exiles yet, but those other 3 are at the top of my list.
L A Confidential
Sunset Boulevard
The Prowler
Double Indemnity
The Turning Point
The Big Sleep
The Killing
Kiss Kiss Bang Bang
(and a 50 way tie for 10th)

gsjansen Apr 15, 2011 11:01 AM

as i was compiling my list of fav-o-riffic noir guilty pleasures, i was tracking down photog's to go with my selections. (after all this is the found photos forums).............anywho......

i stumbled upon these screen captures from a 1969 episode of the Darren McGavin detective television series, "The Outsider". these images are from the show titled "through a stained glass window".

i don't know how, but i will hunt and track this episode down, as i must absolutely have it to watch over and over again.

feast your peepers on this
Source: Bunker Hill Goes to the Movies

and take a gander at that
Source: Bunker Hill Goes to the Movies

while we're at it, take a peep at this
Source: Bunker Hill Goes to the Movies

we ain't done yet

stunned is all i can say..............stunned.................................(i'll get back to my noir list after i regain normal breathing)

Los Angeles Past Apr 15, 2011 11:39 AM

Whoa, holy crap! Talk about a lost gem! That's INCREDIBLE, gsj!

Actually, the more I think about it – nevermind a Top 10 or 20 – why don't we try to compile a complete list of the best of L.A. noir films? No need to be snooty or exclusive about our choices. Let's just go whole hog and try to list them all!


gsjansen Apr 15, 2011 4:34 PM

GSJ's top 12 favorite classic noir flicks with a los angeles connection (in no particular order)

i'm not including neo-noirish pictures such as chinatown, l.a. confidential, or mulholland falls, as they were made post noir times. dead ringer which was made in 1964 is in my mind, the last of the noir era films, (of course, this is just my own humble opinion)

JeffDiego Apr 15, 2011 8:09 PM

Movie Titles
Gorgeous job, Jansen! Thanks.

Los Angeles Past Apr 16, 2011 2:06 AM


Originally Posted by gsjansen (Post 5242626)
GSJ's top 12 favorite classic noir flicks with a los angeles connection (in no particular order)

Excellent! What, in your opinion, makes each of these films stand out?

Ninja55 Apr 16, 2011 2:21 AM

Here's four of my favorites that I think fit....
White Heat
The Big Sleep
The Bad and the Beautiful
War of the Worlds

sopas ej Apr 16, 2011 2:23 AM

Great list of films, gsjansen, though I haven't yet seen "Detour" or "Cry Danger."

I don't know if this film would be considered true film noir, but I like it nonetheless. It's called "The Crimson Kimono." I like that it's set in LA's Little Tokyo, one of my favorite neighborhoods, which I frequent. You see shots of Parker Center, too, back when it was brand-spanking new. It's basically a crime drama, with a bit of interracial love triangle thrown in.

It's currently on youtube in 8 parts. The opening scenes after the opening credits really grab your attention:

Video Link

Ninja55 Apr 16, 2011 2:26 AM

When it was on wilshire

Ninja55 Apr 16, 2011 2:27 AM

Now on Hollywood

Ninja55 Apr 16, 2011 2:29 AM

Joe Musso who was a partner in the original Musso and Franks. He married my grandma Emma Scaramuzzi

Ninja55 Apr 16, 2011 2:30 AM

He gave up his interest in Musso and Franks around 1927 and opened up his own place on Wilshsire. Musso's Parisian Garden It opened up around 1930

Ninja55 Apr 16, 2011 2:31 AM

He passed in 1946 and so did Musso's Parisan Garden

Ninja55 Apr 16, 2011 2:33 AM

He and Grandma are entombed at Calvary Cemetary.

gsjansen Apr 16, 2011 2:59 AM

that is always the problem with making lists..........folks like Ninja55 and S_EJ point out that you missed some gems.

The main reason for my selections, is that each of these noir classic films take place in los angeles at some point during the film. there are lots of examples of noir that i love, but they take place in joints other than the city of angeles, thus they did not make my list here.

Beaudry Apr 16, 2011 8:47 AM

Hey Ninja55, great stuff -- I lunched at Musso's today! Crab Louie and flannel cakes, natch.

Gsj, I'm with everyone else in the Holy Crap! department. Let me know when you get that copy of "The Outsider" if I don't git it first!

As for noir pictures, alla those mentioned are great (including, I'm certain, those I've not seen). I will say though I don't pay mind to critical acclaim or great acting and such, thus, sooooo, my all-timer has to be

There aren't a lot of female serial killers, and fewer movies about them, much less movies made fifty years ago...that are shot entirely on Bunker Hill. I've got a gaggle of screen grabs of this picture and intend to put them up here when I get around to it...

My second-fave LA noir, modern tho it may be, has to be Barton Fink. (Two things made me move to Los Angeles in 1993: seeing Barton Fink in '91, and watching The Riots on TV in '92.) One might argue that Lebowski (another Coen outing) is also a great uniquely LA noir picture: that's pretty correct. But if we're playing loose with genre description, I'd say Ed Wood is tangential but important to the canon.

But back to Original Noir, what we have so far is awesome, I especially dig KMD, Criss Cross, Cry Danger, and Act of Violence, but that's just me. Lots of shots of Old LA after all. I could probably tell you about each'f those shots, but precious little 'bout each film's diegetic structure.

I would add the Joseph Losey remake of M. Gsj's photo-essay on it a few pages back cemented its place in LA noir history without question.

Also Hollow Triumph, AKA The Scar. First of all, I've watched it ten times, and I can't get over how effing weird it is. Secondly, between 23:00 and 26:00 there are these amazing shots of the Barclay neon lit up, and the Hotel Belmont, and then they ride Angels Flight?! -- it's an orgasm of greatness.

Given as I abjure "craft" and "talent," what other films noir do I think should be on the LA list? TISCTSLaBMUZ, of course. (Scroll down to the tail end of this post.) And the universally reviled Ask the Dust, for whom I'll perennially pennant-wave, because it's so...awesome.

djlx2 Apr 16, 2011 9:02 AM

:previous: thanks for these links, it's nice to find new art from others who like noir, but even better to "find" them, if possible.

djlx2 Apr 16, 2011 9:18 AM


Originally Posted by djlx2 (Post 5243606)
:previous: thanks for these links, it's nice to find new art from others who like noir, but even better to "find" them, if possible.

partly because the diegetic structure, like you point out, is unreliable, because it builds from a specific narrative through some kind of suspense. You're never sure of the narrator.

gsjansen Apr 16, 2011 11:43 AM

i did track down an outsider dvd which contains the "through a stained glass window" episode.

it's available from "Thomas Film Classics".

obviously, i placed an order! has incredible Los Angeles. (particularly bunker hill), location filming, however, the story completely creeps me out, thus i did not include it as a favorite of mine. (when i do pop the disk in to view, i just skip around to the scenes of bunker hill and the bradbury building and pretty much stay away from the rest of the story)! another great los angeles noir film that i inadvertently left off my list

this undated image captures the ultimate noirish los angeles mood
Source: Corbis Images

does anyone know where strip city was?

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