And, as has become my refrain during the course, context matters. The Week 7 discussion begins to zero in on something I frankly hadn’t really considered previously: what prompted the end of the film noir as we know it. The easiest assumption, when any craze comes to an end, is box office — which certainly became a more measurable quantity for “B” pictures after the Supreme Court’s Paramount decision, which also helped hasten their demise as a studio tool. But as Edwards points out, elemental shifts in both the cinematic (hello, television!) and cultural landscape would soon bring the film noir cycle to its conclusion — to send it, to paraphrase Too Late for Tears, off the edge. “The creativity and constraints that fueled the rise of noir had seemingly run their course,” Edwards says. “The opportunity window for making films noir seemed to be closing.” But these filmmakers weren’t going down without a fight: “If it was closing, it made the most of the opportunity it had turning out a decade’s worth of classic films noir in the 1950s.”
OK, now to you. Tell me what you’ve learned so far that’s been particularly eye-opening. Hit me with a recommendation for one of the “Summer of Noir” movies that I might’ve skipped — or that isn’t on the schedule at all. And who’s your favorite tough guy and/or femme fatale?