OK, it’s been a while since I have posted anything, but I’ve been taking something of a break from blogging and gearing up for the next project. After talking to folks here and seeing comments on the various propositions, I’m going to go ahead with plans for a 100-film countdown of noirs. I suppose you could call it a Top 100, but it’s essentially going to be my personal taste in countdown my favorites in the genre. I haven’t seen everything, as many noir aficionados on the ‘net have, but I’ve seen quite a bit and think that I can do some interesting things with. At the very least, I’ll highlight some overlooked favorites of mine that others may not have seen.
The major issue that comes up in beginning a countdown for film noir is how it is being defined. Is it the strict time frame of 1941-1958 as is often cited? Does it run all the way to the present and include all variety of neo-noirs? How do you handle Hitchcock – noir or not noir? Things like this are what I have been trying to work out in my mind over the last week or two. As was discussed in the last post, I’ve decided that I am for the most part not going to include neo-noirs, because there are many lesser-known classic noirs that I would rather make sure are included. I would rather like to look at the neo-noirs separately afterwards. At the same time, I don’t intend to force myself to stick to the traditional 1941-1958 time frame, and freely admit that movies like Sam Fuller’s Underworld U.S.A. are going to be included, despite falling outside of that period. Still, I don’t want to make so inclusive that many well-known classic films begin clogging things up. What I am leaning toward doing is if it is borderline whether or not a movie is “noir,” the way I can figure to get a resolute answer is to check if it is included in something like Alain Silver and Elizabeth Ward’s Film Noir Encyclopedia. I know it sounds like an arbitrary selection as the final authority, but it would at least be consistent and make decisions on things like which Hitchcock should be included (Notorious, Strangers on a Train) and which should not (Vertigo). Would this system be perfect? Of course not, as I’m not so sure that Vertigo is not a noir in my opinion. But it at least sets a framework and ensures that something other than the usual suspects are in the Top 100. Any thoughts on this are definitely wanted.
As I also said in previous posts, I think the intention with these pieces will be that they are slightly shorter in length than some of the essays from the Year’s Best. In all honesty, my goal would be to try and do one single-spaced page for each film – enough to whet the appetite for those that haven’t seen it and to put in my two cents on why I am a fan. The shorter length in no way implies less quality, as is evidence by the outstanding work done by somebody like Allan at WitD or even Shubhajit with his insightful capsule reviews. The one-page goal would also allow me to attempt to try an everyday pace. Whether or not that is doable remains to be seen, but I think it’s certainly realistic. The ideal start time for me would be the New Year, as it allows the chaotic holidays to have run their course and to start everything fresh.
Thoughts, questions, concerns, issues… post ‘em all and we will proceed!