26 February 2009

Bogart That Blog: Noir of the Week

For anyone who ever took a college film course there is Noir of the Week, a blog dedicated entirely to films noirs, those dark and sometimes brutal films that date roughly from the 1930s to the 1950s. The blog is a great read and a great resource, obviously a labor of love.

It's a particular irony that noir, a largely American phenomenon, was not recognized by Americans as a trend or movement. It took a pair of Frenchmen to recognize and give a name to the violent, dark-themed films that were being churned out by the hundreds. The experts on Noir of the Week and its related forum Back Alley Noir will break it all down for you: the European origins, the periods (proto, classic, neo), but if I might offer a bit of amateur advice, just watch Double Indemnity first. If you don't like that flick, then most of the rest of it will probably not appeal.

There are also strong feelings about one of my favorite small films of recent years, the neo-noir Brick. Some of the Back Alley regulars think it is too schtickey to have high schoolers talking like characters from a 1930s gangster film, but I'm not a purist about too many things. Especially pop culture. Brick is clever, fast-paced, smart and just a lot of fun.

So, for a cool, slow Saturday, watch these two flicks back-to-back and get your inner Robert Mitchum (or Veronica Lake) on. You may need to take up cigarette smoking and bourbon drinking to fully engage.


  1. "Detour" is a swell, super low-budget Noir, that you can see for free at archive.org.


    Hats (Fedora style, of course) off to Ann Savage who plays the bad dame with great gusto. Reminds me, now that I think about it, a little bit of Tura Satana's performance in Faster, Pussycat. Not that Savage snaps any spines or anything, but she's barking mad all the way through the film.

  2. Here's a better link for Detour:


    (The other one has soundtrack issues.)

  3. Thanks, C--still awaiting your first contribution!