I have a vice…..
No, not the metal kind….this vice is one which I enjoy a lot!
There’s nothing better than sitting back, on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon, scanning through the TV channels and coming to an old film noir flick. I know it’s not really productive…I mean the average flick lasts around an hour, sometimes more….so in that time, you could do something constructive, make money, anything….but as myself and Marina have been discussing today, money, progress, success, is not everything, whatever they may have you believe!
There’s a lot to say for chilling out once in a while, doing absolutely zilch….it’s kinda therapeutic, healing even…
Anyway, whenever I do get a chance to catch up on my film noir addiction, which is usually the weekend, I insist upon complete silence….my door is closed, my landline and cellphone are off, all the food or drink I may require for the duration of the film is usually by my side….and strict instructions are given to my household members not to disturb me, unless it’s an absolute emergency!
So, what is this film noir I’m battering your brains with? What makes film noir film noir?
This is what….the bare bones of film noir:
A film that at not time makes you think there will be a happy ending!
A film in which love and death, usually both, are a cert
A film that is always black and white, or looks like it
A film that has ladies wearing floppy hats, low necklines, vivid mascaras, dark lipsticks, dressing rooms with myriads of light bulbs, high heels (ahem, ahem..that’s another of my weaknesses..!), red dresses, black dresses, elbow-length white gloves, gangsters or alcoholic private investigators as boyfriends, and of course, sprawling dead on the ground, with every limb and every hair meticulously arranged!
A film that has men wearing natty suits and ties, fedoras, always in a shabby hotel with huge neon sign flashing on and off, cars with running boards, all-night diners, being on first name terms with homicide cops, knowing a lot of guys whose names end with “ies”, like bookies, newsies, junkies, jockies, alkies, or cabbies
A film that’s filled with doom, fate, fear and betrayal
A film that is shot in locations that reek of darkness, of night, shadows, alleys, the back doors of fancy places, of apartment buildings with those metal fire escapes going all the way down, taxi drivers and bartenders who all know each other
A film in which everyone who is someone is always seen smoking…the flick with the most smoking in it is probably Out of the Past, in which Kirk Douglas and Robert Mitchum both smoke all the way through the film!
And last but not least, a film in which the women might just as soon kill you as love you, or vice-versa!
all photos courtesy flickr.com