The Explanation
(for those who require one)

And, of course, that is what all of this is -- all of this: the one song, ever changing, ever reincarnated, that speaks somehow from and to and for that which is ineffable within us and without us, that is both prayer and deliverance, folly and wisdom, that inspires us to dance or smile or simply to go on, senselessly, incomprehensibly, beatifically, in the face of mortality and the truth that our lives are more ill-writ, ill-rhymed and fleeting than any song, except perhaps those songs -- that song, endlesly reincarnated -- born of that truth, be it the moon and June of that truth, or the wordless blue moan, or the rotgut or the elegant poetry of it. That nameless black-hulled ship of Ulysses, that long black train, that Terraplane, that mystery train, that Rocket '88', that Buick 6 -- same journey, same miracle, same end and endlessness."
-- Nick Tosches, Where Dead Voices Gather

Seminal Image Friday #4: The Last Days of Film noir

In its final hours, that mode of cinema we call Film noir became the most forbidding tapestry of human life memorialized by cameras, projected onto screens and set before moviegoing eyes; a ruthless fun house mirror where every notion of fun was a shuck. These images hail from those final days, many of them from works not normally thought of in this context.


Scum of the Earth
(Herschell Gordon Lewis; 1963)


Mister Buddwing
(Delbert Mann; 1965)


The Love Merchant
(Joseph W. Sarno; 1966)


The Sin Syndicate
(Michael Findlay; 1965)


Cape Fear
(J. Lee Thompson; 1962)


Date Bait
(O'Dale Ireland; 1960)


Strangers in the City
(Rick Carrier; 1962)


The Days of Wine and Roses
(Blake Edwards; 1963)


Strange Compulsion
(Irvin Berwick; 1964)


Brainstorm
(William Conrad; 1965)


The Wild and the Naked
(Stan Roberts; 1962)


Aroused
(Anton Holden; 1966)


The Strangler
(Burt Topper; 1964)


Good Time With a Bad Girl
(Barry Mahon; 1966)


Blast of Silence
(Allen Baron; 1961)


Who Killed Teddy Bear
(Joseph Cates; 1965)


Kitten With a Whip
(Douglas Heyes; 1963)


Sin in the Suburbs
(Joseph W. Sarno; 1964)


Common Law Wife
(Eric Sayers, Larry Buchanan; 1963)


The Naked Kiss
(Samuel Fuller; 1964)

11 comments :

Christopher said...

Lord,take me outta this film noir and put me in a comedy..
some really great images there...I don't much like film noir since I seem to live it.. :o(

Vanwall said...

Damn! A primer on the sharp edge of the final thrusts - what a great list, and effing great images!

Tom Sutpen said...

Thankye, Rob!

H. P. L. said...

Truly great stuff in this series!

Maureen said...

Fantastic selection and presentation. Now I have to see if any of them are on Netflix.

swac said...

I really need to get Brainstorm. Too bad those Warner Archive discs are so hard to get/so darned pricey for us Canucks.

Operator_99 said...

Nicely done. More to find and view and wallow in.

Fred said...

It is interesting that many films you feature (such as those by Sarno, Findlay and HG Lewis) would be more likely classified as "roughies." Still, it is interesting to see film noir lead to roughies and then to out and out porn. Very interesting.

allen mez said...

Complete genius. Damn. Thanks for this Tom. Even out of context, every one of these stills is an amazing composition on its own.

Bhob said...

At the time, BLAST OF SILENCE was supposedly the only film shot during a real hurricane. Hurricane Donna traveled up the East Coast September 1960 and arrived on Long Island the same day the big fistfight scene was scheduled.

Bhob @ Potrzebie

Elisson said...

An amazing series. Put aside the dark stories; you still have these remarkable chiaroscuro images.