20 Comments

  1. Hi! Tony,

    I agree with you,I think this film is “only one” of “many films” that is considered a film noir that “ushered” in the transition from “film noir” to “neo-noir.”

    Personally, I think Hitchcock’s 1960 film “Psycho” is the film that “stabbed” film noir in the “back” and brought down the “proverbial” curtain on or rather ushered in the transition from film noir to neo-noir.

    (I feel (or think) that I don’t even have to explain “why” I feel or think this way anymore…about Hitch’s 1960 film Psycho especially, to those of us in the “very” small film noir world that we live in… Because I have repeated my reason so often that my reason is almost “trite.”)

    Btw, I don’t even have to mention the author’s name whom I agree with or whom opinion, I share when it comes to why I think this film really did bring down the curtain on Film Noir.

    And once the “bloody” murderer, proclaimed, that he wouldn’t “hurt a fly” film noir re-emerged in the form of neo-noir “a bit more self conscious,” but of course and yet with the same elements presence as in film noir.

    Tks,
    Deedee ;)

  2. Tony said, Thanks Deedee. The view that Psycho is a noir is a minority one and I would like to hear your reasoning.

    Hi! Tony, I agree with you, it’s not look upon as a film that is considered a film noir, in the “small” world of film noir that “we reside in,” but after I purchased Eddie Muller’s book Dark City: The Lost World of Film Noir and after reading (pages 190-191) the last chapter in his book.

    My entire opinion changed about what film that I feel “ushered” in the transition from film noir to neo noir. As you know the debate about what film is the film that ended that cycle is infinite among some film noir novice(s) and aficionados.
    For instance, some fans of film noir think noir ended in 1958-1959, and/or made the transition from film noir to neo-noir. (You of course, listed some of the films in your review) On the other hand, some fans of film noir don’t think that period called film noir ended at all, and feel there was no transition … Some fans of film noir don’t even think that it began…now that is going too far!

    Below is an excerpt from author Eddie Muller’s book…and “my reason” for reaching the conclusion that I have reached about why I think that director Alfred Hitchcock’s 1960 film Psycho is the film that “ushered” in the transition from film noir to neo-noir.

    Cont…

  3. Cont…
    According to author Eddie Muller,
    “For many years the authorities have tried to nail down the facts “surrounding” the death of “classic film noir.”
    Some reports indicated that it died in 1957, on the edge of a polluted creek in Los Robles. (I use to think that director Orson Welles’ film Touch of Evil was the film that ended that period too, but after reading author Eddie Muller’s explanation about Hitch’s 1960 film Psycho my opinion changed about what film I thought “ushered” in the transition.)
    Others claimed it was blown to Kingdom come in a refinery explosion outside the upstate New York town of Melton.”

    (Deedee said, with the late actress Maxine Cooper holding onto actor Ralph Meeker on the beach.)

    “Our sources indicate that Noir–the original, the one bred from the crafts and politics of the Hollywood studio system-—actually perished in a lonely motel room in California’s central valley.

    Noir had registered under an assumed name—Marie Samuels—after stealing twenty-five grand from the real estate office in Phoenix where she worked. Typical of Noir–an impetuous crime, committed in the throes of passion.
    We’d been down this road before: the volatile sexuality leading to criminal behavior, the moral ambivalence, the desperate flight.”

    All the “icons” and “imagery” were firmly in place.

    Then Noir had a nice long talk with a lonely young man name Norman, the proprietor of the motel, and she decided that crime didn’t pay after all. She realized it was a hopeless blind alley.

    Like Danny Hawkins in Moonrise, she decided to turn herself in and face the music. A nice hot shower would cleanse her of her sins.

    That was the night Noir died…”
    Eddie Muller~Dark City: The Lost World of Film Noir

    Of course author Eddie Muller, goes into more details on the following page, about why he think director Alfred Hitchcock’s 1960 film Psycho and other reasons, but of course!… were “great influences” on the ending or transitioning of this cycle or period called “Film Noir” to “neo-noir.”

    Tks,
    Deedee ;)

  4. Thanks Dee dee for that extensive response. Muller states his case well, but the scenario seems to me simply an ironic and contrived pretext for the horrific shower screen. For me, Hitchcock is all about cold manipulation of his characters and his audience – not any real empathy with personal angst.

  5. Tony said, For me, Hitchcock is all about cold manipulation of his characters and his audience…

    Once again, I agree with you, Hitchcock was the Master of “suspense” and the Master of “manipulation,” but of course!…

    …”not any real empathy with personal angst.”
    Now this is were we “part” company…I feel in the 1958 film Vertigo
    actor Jimmy Stewart, character John “Scotty” Ferguson
    did suffer through personal angst…

    …as well as, Henry Fonda, character Manny Balestrero in the 1957 film The Wrong man.
    And of course…and

    …actor Montogomery Clift, as Father Micheal Logan, in the 1953 film I Confess to a certain extent suffered with personal angst.

    Cont…
    Deedee ;)

  6. Cont…
    Hi! Tony,

    Personally, I think author Eddie Muller, was using the “characters” in Hitchcock’s 1960 film Psycho in a symbolic, metaphoric, and representational manner…in order to “point out” the end of the film noir period, as it transitioned to the neo noir period.

    For instance, when he states…
    …”Then “Noir” had a nice long talk with a lonely young man name Norman” and…
    “Noir” had registered under an assumed name” and finally,”That was the night Noir died…”
    To me, that certainly spells out…“symbolism,” but of course!…I maybe wrong” :?

    Tks,
    Deedee ;)

  7. Cont…
    …To me, that certainly spells out…“symbolism,” but of course!…I maybe wrong.”

    Oh! no, I’am not wrong!…because author Eddie Muller,
    said to me in an email…and I quote…
    “Psysho is also the perfect film to “symbolize” the end of the era
    bcause it starts out as a bona film noir only to become a “horror” film halfway through–to me that captures perfectly the shift from the 1940
    “loss of innocence” to the 1960s “onslaught of craziness.”
    “author Eddie Muller”

    Btw, In all “fairness” to author Eddie Muller,
    in his book,Dark City: The Lost World of Film Noir Eddie Muller, do address in “great detail(s)”director Alfred Hitchcock, role as a “master manipulator.” (Therefore, I guess we all “three” are in agreement that Hitch, was the “Master of Manipulation” too!)

    Tony, contrary to “popular” belief I’am not on Eddie(The Czar of Film noir) Muller’s “payroll” :) …I just happen to be interested in this thing coined by the French called… “Film Noir.”

    Thanks,
    Deedee ;)

  8. Tony said, Deedee, a symbol does not an event make. Classic noir ended before the 60s began.

    Tony, what do the mean?… :?
    Can you please explain that to me?
    Thanks,
    Deedee ;)

  9. Tony, as you know the “debate” about what film is the film that ended that (The film noir) cycle is infinite among some film noir novice(s) and aficionados… Therefore, I guess the debate continues… symbolism or no symbolism…
    Because, I agree with author Eddie Muller, assessment that the 1960 film Psycho is the film that “ushered” in the neo noir cycle.

    I’ am “truly adamant” about “sticking to my guns” and author Eddie Muller’s explanation.
    I ‘am “unwavering” when it comes to me believing that Hitchcock’s 1960 film Psycho (Hitch’s 1960 film “Psycho” which was actually filmed in 1959, but released in August of 1960) is the film that “ushered” in the neo-noir period.

    That what makes his (Eddie Muller,) explanation so acceptable to me….because Psycho was being “shot” during the period as film noir was in the “throes” of making the transition from film noir to neo noir.

    Therefore, as far as I’am concerned film noir made the transition on August 25, of 1960 to neo noir… with the mere bringing down of a knife, shower curtain, a woman’s torso across a tub, and her dilated pupil staring at the viewers, as chocolate imitating blood swirled down the drain…

    Tks,
    Deedee ;)

  10. Tony said, Deedee, we were talking about the end of noir not the beginning of neo-noir…”

    Tony, you have to remember that I don’t think of film noir as ending, but making the “transition”
    from one level to another level…Therefore, I would have to do more research in order to determine which film that I consider the first…neo-noir.
    Btw, if you read my previous comments, I never use the words…“end of noir…”

    Tks,
    Deedee (Over to you,… ;) )

  11. Deedee, I am jumping off the merry-go-round. I am getting dizzy. In my post I said: “Jacques Tourneur’s Nightfall signals the coming end of the classic noir cycle.”

  12. What a thread here! I haven’t seen it until now! Well, I have seen NIGHTFALL, and it’s rather sub-standard methinks, although I have the utmost respect for Tourneur, who around that time directed CURSE OF THE DEMON, one of the most intellectual of horror films. Yes the craftsmanship is here, and yes, it’s well written and performed, but the fact that it’s length shows (and its a short film) speaks volumes. Still, I know it has it’s fans, and I appreciated the Eddie Muller quotes from Dee Dee there.

  13. Tony,
    Excellent review of Nightfall. I can see that the movie veers from the story in the book.
    As to the issue f the transition from noir to neo-noir, I’m going to have to study that a little. Coincidentally, I’m reading an article right now about that by Lee Horsley.
    More on all this later.
    Mike L.
    Noir Journal

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