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Showing posts from August, 2009

Five Classics of Film Noir

> As Raymond Borde and Etienne Chaumeton point out in Towards a Definition of Film Noir , prior to World War II convention dictated a beautiful heroine and an honest hero; we expected a clear line between good and bad, as well as clear motives, and the action should develop logically. But the 1941 film adaptation of Dashiell Hammett's 1930 detective novel The Maltese Falcon set these expectations on their ears, creating a first installment in the dark and unpredictable film genre called film noir . This is no Superman with a chaste fiancee, but a flawed hero with a depraved, murderous, doped-up, or drunk heroine. The difference is clear in one of the final scenes in The Maltese Falcon . The coveted black bird has been revealed a fake, and the crooks have fled. Sam Spade has called the police to tell them the entire story, and he’s left with Brigid O'Shaughnessy. There is no talk of running to some hideaway; he bluntly asks her why she killed his business partner, Miles Arch