Sunday, January 16, 2011

"mainstream" noir

It has become increasingly apparent to me that all the best noir films were made by directors who, for the majority of their career, could be called "mainstream." The list should speak for itself:

Double Indemnity and Sunset Blvd. by Billy Wilder
Kiss Me Deadly by Robert Aldrich
Touch of Evil by Orson Welles
Possessed by Curtis Bernhardt
Act of Violence by Fred Zinnemann
The Asphalt Jungle by John Huston
The Strange Love of Martha Ivers by Lewis Milestone

I think it worth noting that Van Heflin stars in three of these (Possessed, Act of Violence, and The Strange Love of Martha Ivers). Interesting....

There are more, of course, but these make a good representative sample. I think it worked out this way simply because these were not per se "B-picture" directors; they were A-picture directors who, for whatever reason(s), employed -- even if only for one film -- an idiom, icononography, and style more common among B-pictures. It still all kind of goes back to my own view that Citizen Kane is really the first film noir ever made.

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