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A Geek’s Month in Review: March 2012

by on 2012/03/31


It would seem that “Noirch” is becoming something of an annual tradition. Or perhaps it’s just my simple wishful thinking.

If this month gone by taught me anything, it reminded me that our work — and fun — will never really be done. Even if we were to exhaust the most well-known, highly regarded examples of film noir, it would take the two of us more than a couple of Marches.

And even then, there are myriad examples so low-budget they escape mainstream notice. There are the British interpretations, the little-seen (in America) Hammer films, the public domain examples which could fill a whole month by themselves, and the roots of noir in German Expressionism and Warner’s Gangster pics. Not to mention the neo-noirs . . . oh wait, I did just now.

Whether you consider it an era, a style, a genre, or something else, it’ll be a very long time before we fall out of love with this particular area.

Here, then, is but a modest slice of a wider world yet to be discovered: my favourite, surprise, disappointment, least-liked, and a fifth pick I’d most like to see.


Favourite
Nightmare Alley (1947) on 2012/03/26

“I’m an evangelical atheist and skeptic, but that hasn’t stopped me from learning everything about there is to know about palmistry, Tarot cards, Runes, astrology, Chinese fortune-telling sticks, you name it. I have it all. I’m absolutely fascinated by this stuff.

“People want to believe strange things. That’s what Nightmare Alley is all about.”


Surprise
Criss Cross (1949) on 2012/03/06

Criss Cross is quite exceptional . . . it just seems a shame to list out its film noir credentials when I could more easily say, ‘Let’s not waste a lot of our time. You should really stop reading and see it.'”

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Disappointment
The Woman in the Window (1944) on 2012/03/13

“Fritz Lang’s The Woman in the Window is an early noir with a terrible finale. It pains me truly to say, just walk on by. And if that assessment seems hurtful or harsh, then I’ve simply been apropos of this promising disappointment.”

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Least-Liked
Chinatown (1974) on 2012/03/18

“By the end, I suspected there’s as much of a conspiracy to defend Chinatown as there is in its tale to cover up water rerouting. I’m open to being convinced I’m wrong, as with The Godfather and Unforgiven, but only if it means I don’t actually have to re-watch this piece again.”

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Show Me
The Great Flamarion (1945) on 2012/03/26

“Being around people all the time completely exhausts me. I need to sneak away at frequent intervals to recuperate.

“It is for this reason that I believe I was pre-destined to adore the black-and-white noir classic, The Great Flamarion. Directed by Anthony Mann, this movie is all about a solitary man who just wants to do his job and be left alone.”


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