The full moon out-shined all the lights of Los Angeles, turning the palm trees silver. It was a cool night in January, and the brunette was home alone. Looking through a box of old postcards, an irresistible urge rose up inside her; It was something she should have done a long time ago. A Postcard Post devoted to Noir.
“You know, this’ll be the first time I’ve ever killed anyone I knew so little and liked so well.”
–Helen Grayle (Claire Trevor), Murder, My Sweet (film adaptation of Farewell, My Lovely)
“All she did was take her hand out of her bag, with a gun in it. All she did was point it at me and smile. All I did was nothing.”
–Philip Marlowe, Farewell, My Lovely by Raymond Chandler
The project teamed with Esotouric (“Bus Adventures into the secret heart of Los Angeles”) to visit 1947 L.A. in person.
“She’d been lulled because Los Angeles was prosperous and peaceful and didn’t look dangerous.”
—The Last Embrace, Denise Hamilton
“Forget it, Jake. It’s Chinatown.”
–Walsh (Joe Mantell), Chinatown
“Where Bush Street roofed Stockton before slipping downhill to Chinatown, Spade paid his fare and left the taxicab. San Francisco’s night-fog, thin, clammy, and penetrant, blurred the street.”
—The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett
The 1941 film adaptation celebrates its 75th anniversary this year!
Check out this 30-second film shot by the poster’s grandfather while driving across the Bay Bridge in 1940.
Carrefour Sèvres-Babylone, Paris 1948 by Willy Ronis
It was French film critic Nino Frank (Italian-born) who recognized this current in American film as something separate from crime drama, typified by the gangster films of the 1930s. In 1946, Frank wrote a serious article about the then-seemingly unserious Hollywood flicks The Maltese Falcon, Laura, Murder, My Sweet, and Double Indemnity. He identified them as representative of a new genre he called film noir.
“…these “noir” films no longer have anything in common with the usual kind of police reel. They are essentially psychological narratives with the action – however violent or fast-paced – less significant than faces, gestures, words…”
–Nino Frank, “Un nouveau genre “policier”: L’aventure criminelle”, L’Ecran français 1946
Cora Smith: I want to make something of this place. I want to make it into an honest-to-goodness…
Frank Chambers: Well, aren’t we ambitious.
–Lana Turner and John Garfield in The Postman Always Rings Twice based on the novel by James M. Cain
Moe Williams: …I was brought up to report any injustice to the police authority. I call that being a solid citizen.
Candy: But you get paid for it.
Moe Williams: You gonna knock it?
–Thelma Ritter and Jean Peters in Pickup on South Street
“New York City: an architectural jungle where fabulous wealth and the deepest squalor live side by side. New York is the busiest, the loneliest, the kindest, and the cruelest of cities – a murder a day, every day of the year and each murder will wind up on my desk.”
–Capt. Walter Anderson (Paul Kelly), Sidestreet
“Don’t be so gloomy. After all it’s not that awful. Like the fella says, in Italy for 30 years under the Borgias they had warfare, terror, murder, and bloodshed, but they produced Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, and the Renaissance. In Switzerland they had brotherly love – they had 500 years of democracy and peace, and what did that produce? The cuckoo clock. So long Holly.”
–Harry Lime (Orson Welles), The Third Man