1. Of or relating to the film noir genre.
2. Of or relating to a genre of crime literature featuring tough, cynical characters and bleak settings.
3. Suggestive of danger or violence.
The Maltese Falcon and Double Indemnity are two classic movies that fit the genre. The more recent Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid is a Steve Martin comedy-mystery that is both a parody of, and homage to, film noir and pulp detective movies of the forties.
I always love the part where the narrator tells us of the dame who walks into the gumshoe’s office. She has a tale to tell. There are cigarettes and alcohol involved. We see it in black and white, and the music sets the tone.
Pulp fiction magazines of the thirties and forties also fit the bill. Those writers sure knew how to turn a phrase, and some of them are classic (although many are now politically incorrect). I’ve recently read several of Robert Leslie Bellem’s stories. He was a master at using slang and impact words. Typical fare for him would be – “I spooned him a helping of knuckle tonic.” “She slapped me a stinger across the chops.” “Moon’s kisser sagged open and his optics bulged like oysters being squeezed.”
Isn’t that last line so much better than my standard, “Her mouth hung open, and her eyes went wide.”
Ahh, the joys of the genre.
So, all this is a lead up to that guy. You remember him. Adam Sendek. By losing a baseball bet, I must talk about him on my blog every day this week. And I’m happy to do so!
What you might not know is that Adam blogs interesting topics and humor, but he also writes stories. One of my favorites is one he wrote that fit the noir genre well. Here’s the beginning:
“…so I’m sitting in this cafe, slumped over a (bleep*)-warm cup of dark roast coffee, casually tossing ashes into the tray at the end of the table. The lighting is inadequate where I’m seated, making it difficult to study the entrees on the menu.
I pick up on a one-sided conversation coming from the booth adjacent to me, involving a pig-headed suit and tie, yammering into a phone about a stock deal gone sour. The woman seated in front of the man appears emotionally detached, which is indicated by her body language. She ignores the man and blankly stares off at a young female clearing the surrounding tables.
I’m overcome with remorse for the woman and her situation, finding myself privately analyzing the dysfunctional correlation between the two. Clearly, she’s numb inside; another wandering soul, financially bound to some corporate meat head.
The murmur throughout the diner adds to the endless chatter taking place in my head, but the humming is abruptly halted when, without warning …” GO HERE to read the rest of the story. It’s short, and the comments are fun, too. Add yours to the list!
What about you? Do you like the noir genre, whether it be movies or books? What about pulp fiction? Did you ever read any? Tell me what you think!
(*bleep – It’s a Maddie bleep. My blog is rated PG-13, and even though I probably could have allowed the word to stand, I opted to apply the bleep. Hop on over to Adam’s blog for the more colorful phrasing.)