Saturday, December 13, 2008

Out of the Past--Investigating Film Noir: Asphalt Jungle

Episode 8: The Asphalt Jungle
Out of the Past: Investigating Film Noir

Shannon and Richard argue that John Huston's directorial evolution from "The Maltese Falcon" to the prototype heist film "The Asphalt Jungle" provides a blueprint of the evolution of film noir from the early 40's to the early 50's. With "The Asphalt Jungle" noir enters an even darker phase in it's history: an ensemble of tragic criminals (all brilliantly cast) displaces the strong leading man; the certainty of contained criminality cedes to the anxiety of widespread malfeasance; the city is a wasteland of corruption; time is an inexorable force that marches characters toward their doom. It is a vision so dark, so fatalistic, that it seems to owe as much to Italian Neorealism as to the noir tradition.

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