Saturday 31 March 2012


       There exists two portrayals of the ugly duckling of Noir who is one of my favourite femmes from the screen versions of Edward Anderson's Thieves Like Us . She is a more a doomed lover on the run than a femme fatale and unusual in a number of ways. In Nicholas Ray's 1948 They Live by Night ,which is around the fringes of my top ten Noirs from the 'classic' era, Kathy O'Donnell is my own favourite but Shelley Duvall also has her moments in Altman's 1974 version.

        The highway stretched on like a long ribbon of wet funeral cloth; the rain-drunk weeds of the right-of-way rushing behind.

Edward Anderson
Thieves Like Us

Friday 30 March 2012

Most Beautiful Woman in Town


        Cass was fluid moving fire. She was like a spirit stuck into a form that would not hold her. Her hair was black and long and silken and whirled about as did her body. Her spirit was either very high or very low. There was no in between for Cass. Some said she was crazy. The dull ones said that. The dull ones would never understand Cass.

The Most Beautiful Woman in Town
Charles Bukowski

Thursday 29 March 2012

Sterling Hayden

Asphalt Jungle
Long Goodbye
The Killing
The Godfather
Crime Wave
Johnny Guitar

Wednesday 28 March 2012

The Black Walls

         Silence closed over the car again. They raced through the headlight-tunneled night, and the black walls snapped shut behind them. Time and space were the immediate moment. Behind and beyond it there was only darkness.

The Getaway
Jim Thompson

excerpt originally shown on www.iamyouasheisme.wordpress.com

Tuesday 27 March 2012

Thru a Noir window

Odds Against Tommorow

                                                      The Ghost

                                                          The Killers

                                                        Rear Window

                                      Jean Gabin



                                                              Killers Kiss

                                                             Atlantic City

Lost Weekend

The Prowler

Sunday 25 March 2012

Mood for Noir

       Although Wong Kar Wai's 2000 In the Mood for Love shot by Christopher Doyle and David Lean's 1945 Brief Encounter by Robert Krasker cannot be described at straight Films Noir the dark visual style and trust/betrayal theme give them both a direct link.

In each case the soundtrack backs up the power of the film. Nat King Cole vocals in Spanish amidst cramped apartment spaces and Rachmaninoff's classical pieces in a bleak, almost empty train station add brilliant touches.

Friday 23 March 2012

His Own Lies

                            Did you ever see Dallas from a DC9 at night
                            Dallas is a jewel oh Dallas is a beautiful sight
                            But Dallas is a jungle and Dallas gives a beautiful light
                            Did you ever see Dallas from a DC at night

                            Well Dallas is a rich man with a death wish in his eyes
                            A steel and concrete soul and a warm heart and love disguise
                            A rich man who tends to believe in his own lies
                            Yeah Dallas is a rich man with a death wish in his eyes

Jimmie Dale Gilmore

Thursday 22 March 2012

Elevator to the Gallows

         The hypnotic performance of Jeanne Moreau is one of the best parts of Malle's 1958 French Noir classic. It's weird plot, Henri Decae cinematography and the Miles Davis Soundtrack are others. The unpredictable series of events involving that old Noir theme of mistaken identity take place over one Parisian night and the movie lasts only 88 minutes.

Wednesday 21 March 2012

Round Midnight

It begins to tell round midnight, midnight
I do pretty well till after sundown
Supper time i'm feelin sad
But it gets really bad round midnight

Round Midnight
Thelonius Monk

Tuesday 20 March 2012

Cry Hard, Cry Fast

       In the final moment before the blackness, she felt acute irritation with the formlessness, the messiness of it. This was destruction and waste, devoid of pattern and meaning. She would be helpless amongst strangers.

Cry Hard, Cry Fast
John D. MacDonald

                                This forgotten classic noticed on Cullen Gallagher's

Monday 19 March 2012

Patron Saint of Noir

Goodis (centre) with unidentified friends

            ...............no matter how much you pay for your ticket, no matter how many brass rings you snatch, it's only a matter of time before our place is taken by the next customer emerging from some womb to start the ride.

The Wounded and the Slain
David Goodis

Sunday 18 March 2012

Prince of Darkness

         When cinematographer Gordon Willis started on The Godfather he had only worked on one film although it was the excellent Klute. His distinctinctive style using dark shades and actors' faces partly in shadow would earn him the nickname 'Prince of Darkness'. It was also the case that Oranges can be spotted in several scenes as it was thought the fruit would provide a contrast to the darker hues.