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Out of the Past: Investigating Film Noir
Each film noir weaves its own yarn of longing, corruption, and fateful decisions. On the first of every month, Clute and Edwards investigate one noir or neo-noir in detail. Following various threads of inquiry, they attempt to unravel the vast canvas of noir.
Recent Episodes for Out of the Past: Investigat...
DATE: Tue, 24 Nov 2009
SIZE: 12.5 MB
Response to Episode 50: The Blue Dahlia (Eric Harvey)
Eric Harvey, a Junior at Reed College, responds to Episode 50: The Blue Dahlia with a thoughtful commentary on the scholarship on this film. Harvey focuses on how director Marshall weakens the potential power of Chandler's screenplay by comparing the finished film with Chandler's actual screenplay directions. Harvey addresses stories about Chandler's drinking during the writing of the screenplay, with a special focus on James Naremore's recent scholarship on Chandler's "lack of an ending" for The Blue Dahlia. Harvey concludes by addressing the role of the Breen Office and the Navy and pointing out how censorship forced key changes to the final film, all contrary to Chandler's original vision for the story.
DATE: Sun, 08 Nov 2009
SIZE: 48.7 MB
Episode 50: The Blue Dahlia
A script by Raymond Chandler. Veronica Lake, Alan Ladd, and William Bendix in leading roles. Costumes by the great Edith Head, and cinematography by Lionel Lindon, who had been nominated for best cinematography just the year before for the Oscar sensation GOING MY WAY. In short, THE BLUE DAHLIA seems to have everything going it’s way. Why, then, does the film fail to deliver the emotional impact of near contemporary titles like THE KILLERS or THE BIG SLEEP? To frame an answer to this question, we must first displace the many frames through which we have become accustomed to viewing the film—most notably Producer John Houseman’s apocryphal account of how Chandler’s alcoholism impacted the screenplay. If we divest ourselves of these frames and really focus on the film, we see that Chandler’s script rescues, rather than compromises, this movie. THE BLUE DAHLIA is more a victim of an identity crisis, a film unable for reasons of censorship and limited artistic vision to commit fully to the noir worldview that came home full force in 1946. And thus, as a marginal success, it’s a film that can teach us a great deal about how noir came to be both a dominant Hollywood style and a philosophical stance.
DATE: Mon, 24 Aug 2009
SIZE: 50.2 MB
Episode 49: Bande à part (with Dr. Jeffrey Peters)
In this episode, guest investigator Jeffrey Peters (Associate Professor of Modern and Classical Languages at the University of Kentucky), leads a panel of five undergraduate students from his Honors Program course "French Film Noir" in a discussion of Jean-Luc Godard's 1964 BAND OF OUTSIDERS (Bande à part), starring Anna Karina, Sami Frey, and Claude Brasseur. Jeff is a specialist in early modern French literature and culture, poetics and rhetoric, and film studies, and former chair of the Division of French and Italian at UK. He is joined by Honor students Bethany Futrell, Jesseca Johnson, Ryan Palmer, Nick Purol, and Daniel Robbins. To leave a comment on this episode, or make a donation to the podcast, please visit Out of the Past: Investigating Film Noir at http://outofthepast.libsyn.com.
DATE: Sat, 27 Dec 2008
SIZE: 46.6 MB
Episode 48: In a Lonely Place (with Megan Abbott)
Clute and Edwards welcome guest investigator Megan Abbott , the reigning Dark Dame of Noir. Megan is the author of a superb nonfiction study of hardboiled and noir protagonists entitled THE STREET WAS MINE, and three gut-wrenching throwback crime novels: DIE A LITTLE, THE SONG IS YOU, and QUEENPIN. The first title is scheduled to be released as a United Artists feature film in 2010, with Jessica Biel in the lead role. Megan's choice for this episode is the 1950 Nicholas Ray film IN A LONELY PLACE, starring Humphrey Bogart and Gloria Grahame. To learn more about Megan's work, visit www.meganabbott.com. This podcast is brought to you by Clute and Edwards, of www.noircast.net. To leave a comment on this episode, or make a donation to the podcast, please visit Out of the Past: Investigating Film Noir at http://outofthepast.libsyn.com.
DATE: Tue, 12 Aug 2008
SIZE: 53.5 MB
Episode 47: Bob Le Flambeur (with Howard Rodman and Mike White)
Howard Rodman and Mike White are this episode’s guest investigators. Rodman and White discuss Jean-Pierre Melville’s great 1956 film, Bob Le Flambeur. Howard Rodman is a screenwriter, novelist and USC film professor. His most recent screen credits include Savage Grace and August. Mike White is the publisher and editors of Cahiers du Cinemart, an obscure and obtuse film magazine from Detroit. Visit Mike’s website at impossiblefunky.com. This podcast is brought to you by Clute and Edwards, of www.noircast.net. To leave a comment on this episode, or make a donation to the podcast, please visit Out of the Past: Investigating Film Noir at http://outofthepast.libsyn.com.
DATE: Wed, 18 Jun 2008
SIZE: 48.1 MB
Episode 46: Thieves Highway (with Eddie Muller)
Thanks to listener support, Out of the Past: Investigating Film Noiris a featured podcast at iTunes, has generated nearly 200,000 downloads worldwide, and has a per-episode audience of over 4,000. With such a record of success, Clute and Edwards are now able to reach out to a wide range of noir scholars, to use the program as a forum to broaden public discourse on the enduring importance of this distinctively American film style. May's guest is the Czar of Noir, Eddie Muller. Eddie is the Founder and President of the Film Noir Foundation, and the man who organizes the Noir City Film Festival in San Francisco. He is also the author of three superlative studies of film noir (Dark City, Dark City Dames, and The Art of Noir) and two supernal throwback hard-boiled novels (The Distance and Shadow Boxer). Eddie's selection is the 1949 Jules Dassin Film THIEVES' HIGHWAY.
DATE: Mon, 28 Apr 2008
SIZE: 21.4 MB
Noircon 2008: The Official Podcast Day 3: Cybernoir Panel
Shannon Clute, Seth Harwood, and Richard Edwards presented this Cybernoir panel on April 5th, 2008, as part of the Noircon Conference in Philadelphia. Clute and Edwards kick things off with a discussion of how noir style and pulp publishing models seem to provide the fundamental structuring logics of emerging digital media—from blogs to podcasts, mashups to video games. Seth Harwood then relates his own experience of podcasting his first novel, JACK WAKES UP—from producing the initial audio, to embracing various new media in order to cultivate an audience and tap their enthusiasm and skills to promote his work. Finally, all three panelists consider how pulp-logic productions in these various media are likely to change the ways books are published and marketed. This special edition podcast includes all Power Point slides from the panel, synchronized with the audio, for your viewing pleasure. Moreover, there are embedded links at the bottom of the images, which allow you to surf related links while listening. The podcast is optimized for iTunes, and will run on any machine that has iTunes installed. It is brought to you by Clute and Edwards of www.noircast.net, and Seth Harwood of www.sethharwood.com.
DATE: Mon, 14 Apr 2008
SIZE: 41.2 MB
Noircon 2008: The Official Podcast Day 3: Wise Guys and Femmes Fatale
Wise guys and femmes fatale form the central focus of these next panel discussions from Noircon 2008. In the first half of the podcast, Clute and Edwards talk with authors George Anastasia and Anthony Bruno. Anastasia and Bruno are two seasoned mob-watchers who uncover life on the mean streets-Philly style. Based on their Noircon panel, Wise Guy Noir, they give us an inside look into the Godfathers and Goodfellas of Philadelphia. In the second half, Clute and Edwards lead a lively roundtable discussion on the femme fatale with four authors who have strong female characters at the center of their novels: Megan Abbott, Christa Faust, Vicki Hendricks, and Jonathan Santlofer. The discussion touches on many different aspects of the femme fatale and the homme fatale (fatal man). For more information about Noircon, visit the official conference website at www.noircon.com. For more information about the hard-boiled podcasts of Clute and Edwards, visit www.noircast.net
DATE: Sun, 13 Apr 2008
SIZE: 16.1 MB
Noircon 2008: The Official Podcast Day 2: Editors and Publishers Tackle Noir
Clute and Edwards discuss the editing and publishing of noir fiction with three members of this Day 2 Noircon panel: Charles Ardai, Stacia Decker, and Michael Langnas. Charles Ardai is the editor and publisher of the Hard Case Crime series. Stacia Decker is an editor who has worked with such writers as Ray Banks, Declan Burke, Allan Guthrie and John McFetridge. Michael Langnas is the editor-in-chief of Murdaland Magazine, a crime-fiction journal put out by Baltimore-based publisher Cortwright McMeel. The three guests offer us a behind-the-scenes look into the world of noir publishing. The panelists address violence in noir fiction, the complex appeal of noir, and the challenges and pleasures of editing and publishing noir writing. For more information about Noircon, visit the official conference website at www.noircon.com. For more information about the hard-boiled podcasts of Clute and Edwards, visit www.noircast.net
DATE: Sat, 12 Apr 2008
SIZE: 38.7 MB
Noircon 2008: The Official Podcast Day 2: George Lippard and Philly Noir
Philadelphia noir is the focus of two panels at Noircon 2008. The first panel presents the historical moment, cultural milieu and writings of the 19th century Philly writer George Lippard. Ed Petit and Robert Polito make a compelling case to consider Lippard an important proto-noir author, an author whose writings look back towards 1798's gothic novel WIELAND and forward towards 20th century hardboiled. The second panel addresses the issue of Philly noir through a discussion among noir and crime writers currently living and working in Philadelphia. Clute and Edwards talk more with Philly authors William Lashner and Jon McGoran (D.H. Dublin) about what is Philadelphia noir and how does Philadelphia figure as one of the great American noir cities. For more information about Noircon, visit the official conference website at www.noircon.com. For more information about the hard-boiled podcasts of Clute and Edwards, visit www.noircast.net
DATE: Fri, 04 Apr 2008
SIZE: 19.6 MB
Noircon 2008: The Official Podcast Day One
Day One: Opening Night. Noircon 2008 opens at the Society Hill Playhouse in Philadelphia, PA. Clute and Edwards kick off this special podcast mini-series coverage with short interviews from the opening night reception. They talk with film critic Irv Slifkin, authors Gary Phillips, Seth Harwood, Ken Bruen, “The Czar of Noir? Eddie Muller, publisher Dennis McMillan, conference organizer Lou Boxer, and author Duane Swierczynski. We finish with an interview of the first presenter of Noircon, Professor David Schmid, who gave a talk entitled “Noir and Its Heretics.?
DATE: Tue, 11 Mar 2008
SIZE: 44.1 MB
Episode 45: Force of Evil
FORCE OF EVIL shows us that small-time graft is less dangerous than big-time rackets that have the law, the trust of the public, and the appearance of respectability on their side. Ultimately, the crime is the system itself, and the very philosophical underpinnings of capitalism are liable. And while Abraham Polonsky's courage in addressing these themes is remarkable, the degree of craft he exhibits as a rookie director is nothing short of astonishing. With Ira Wolfert, he co-authors a script so rich in its ability to expose the poverty of our dreams, and so stylized and impossibly catchy in its dialogue, that it can't help but feel more real than the real. With this script, and uncommon directing talent, Polonsky coaxes career-best performance from John Garfield, Thomas Gomez, and Marie Windsor. And with Director of Photography George Barnes, Polonsky frames some of the most beautiful and narratively rich shots in film history. FORCE OF EVIL may be the noir that most perfectly captures the ambivalent and fearful relationship Americans had to the great cities and great institutions that were the sclerotic backbone of the country after WWII. This podcast is brought to you by Clute and Edwards, of www.noircast.net. To leave a comment on this episode, or make a donation to the podcast, please visit "Out of the Past: Investigating Film Noir" at http://outofthepast.libsyn.com.
DATE: Tue, 05 Feb 2008
SIZE: 36.3 MB
Episode 44: Brick
Rian Johnson's superlative 2005 debut film BRICK is neither a nostalgic tribute nor a modern reaction to noir style. But due to the conditions surrounding its production, it has more in common with classic noir than most films that play overtly with noir tradition: stiletto-tongued hard-boiled dialogue, razor-sharp editing, on-location shooting, the creative use of ambient sound, and narratively-rich canted angle shots and high-contrast lighting allow BRICK to overcome the pitfalls of a small budget and limited crew–just as these same techniques allowed classic films such as DETOUR or THE HITCH-HIKER to do. In fact, financial constraints lend BRICK an artistic coherency it might otherwise lack, for Johnson was forced to write, direct, and edit the entire picture, and to use family to finance and score it. The resulting work is as disarmingly familiar as classic noir and as surprisingly fresh and inventive as its creator, who clearly understands how to borrow from the past where appropriate and innovate whenever possible. Like the work of all great artists, BRICK demonstrates that aesthetic leaps forward find their surest footing in the past.This podcast is brought to you by Clute and Edwards, of www.noircast.net. To leave a comment on this episode, or make a donation to the podcast, please visit "Out of the Past: Investigating Film Noir" at outofthepast.libsyn.com.
DATE: Fri, 04 Jan 2008
SIZE: 31.6 MB
Episode 43: They Live By Night
THEY LIVE BY NIGHT is film noir at its best. Edward Anderson's little-known hard-boiled rural bandit novel is made into a screenplay as lean as the post-war dreams of its players. The shifty camera frames every sucker that comes its way, making them false promises then plunging each into a darkness more than night. Rookie director Nicholas Ray mercilessly rolls rising stars Farley Granger and Cathy O'Donnell in the existential muck, but manages nonetheless to show us the ethereal gold that lines their hearts and dreams. Beyond the sublime writing, acting, and directing, what truly sets the film apart is its ruthless humanity, its unwavering determination to show the full spectrum of good and bad in everyone—the shades of gray that haunt the war-battered world of black and white. It is as poignant now as it was upon its release sixty years ago. This podcast is brought to you by Clute and Edwards, of www.noircast.net. To leave a comment on this episode, or make a donation to the podcast, please visit "Out of the Past: Investigating Film Noir" at outofthepast.libsyn.com.
DATE: Wed, 05 Dec 2007
SIZE: 60.6 MB
Episode 42: The Ice Harvest
This special episode of OUT OF THE PAST is full of holiday surprises. Clute and Edwards investigate the 2005 neo-noir Christmas comedy THE ICE HARVEST, then speak with Scott Phillips, author of the 2000 hardboiled novel on which the film is based. While the book contains its share of dark humor, it is largely a tale of the moral tipping point in the life of Witchita Mob lawyer Charlie Arglist (played by John Cusack), who discovers his capacity for ruthlessness when backed into a corner. The movie plays down the moral crisis and plays up the comedy, but director Harold Ramis manages to recreate some of the brooding atmosphere of the original story by staging a series of noir tribute shots. Phillips, and Clute and Edwards, all weigh in how successfully the film adapts the book in this double-feature holiday special. This podcast is brought to you by Clute and Edwards, of www.noircast.net. To leave a comment on this episode, or make a donation to the podcast, please visit "Out of the Past: Investigating Film Noir" at outofthepast.libsyn.com.
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Recent Comments for Out of the Past: Investigat...
These podcasts have a permanent archival place on my iPod because of the quality insights of Clute and Edwards!
Submitted By: jedi1021@... (on 1-2009)
Just listened to the first episode today and found it to be fasinating.
Submitted By: dmaylman@... (on 6-2006)