Tuesday, January 26, 2010 Inherently Corrupt
The French critics Raymond Borde and Etienne Chaumeton coined the term in their 1955 book Panorama du film noir amιricain 19411953 (A Panorama of American Film Noir). Film Noir was the black-and-white crime films, with the low-key lighting and unbalanced compositions, and lots of deep shadows falling on everything shadows from the Venetian blinds or the banister or whatever. There was the wise-cracking burnt-out private detective with his own moral code, the murky plot with all the intense sexual undertones (lots of bad girls, and only bad girls) and someone trapped in an unwanted situation they didn't cause it but they were making it worse and random, uncaring fate that had them doomed. The world was inherently corrupt, you see, and the city streets were always wet. The classic is The Big Sleep (1946) from the 1939 Raymond Chandler novel, set right here in a wet and morally ambiguous Hollywood.
And some days out here are just like the old movies. The scene today in and around Raymond Chandler Square, at the corner of Hollywood and Cahuenga Boulevards, the site of Philip Marlowe's office in Chandler's novels