One of the great neo-noirs—heck, one of the great movies of any genre—is “Chinatown” (1974) directed by Roman Polanski from a script by Robert Towne. The protagonist of “Chinatown” is J.J. (Jake) Gittes (Jack Nicholson), a private detective. The film is set in Los Angeles in...

“Kiss Me Deadly” is Noir So, “The Maltese Falcon” and “The Big Sleep.” Aren’t noir there any private investigator films that are? After all, the world-weary gumshoe is supposed to be the mainstay of film noir. Robert Aldrich’s “Kiss Me Deadly” is most definitely noir. “Kiss Me...

Why The Big Sleep is Not Noir A few weeks ago I wrote a post about why “The Maltese Falcon” is not noir. Another detective film often confused for noir is “The Big Sleep.” The Big Sleep, starring Bogart and Bacall and directed by Howard...

Noir films were popular in the Fifties and then basically disappeared in the Sixties. What happened? TV. Many of the themes and motifs of film noir were appropriated by television. Noir strongly influenced popular Sixties TV shows such as “Naked City,” “Peter Gunn,” “The Fugitive,” “The Twilight Zone,”...

German Expressionism played the major role in the look of Hollywood’s noir films of the Forties and Fifties. The look of noir--rain-slicked streets, urban landscapes, and shadowy rooms and corridors--was straight out of the German Expressionist films of the Twenties. Also, straight out of those...

The theme of The Killers is that lying just beneath normal, orderly, respectable society is another world--chaotic, evil, and corrupt. Nick Adams is introduced to this nether world and realizes how easy it would be to be sucked down into it and never be able...

The first modern noir story is Ernest Hemingway’s “The Killers.” Several of Hemingway’s short stories have noir aspects (notably “My Old Man” and “Fifty Grand”) but none so much as “The Killers.” “The Killers” is a Nick Adams story. Adams, a fictional stand in for Hemingway,...

The last post concerned the cinematic origins of noir.  So, is noir an exclusively a cinematic art form? Most definitely not.  It can be argued that noir dates back to Ancient Greece (“Oedipus Rex” “Antigone”) except that in Greek tragedy the main characters are of an...

This blog is going to be about things I like, which are many and varied, but mostly about crime fiction and, in particular, noir, both film and literary. Noir is something I feel strongly about. Why? First, like jazz and the blues, noir is an...