Mike, how many of these films (and, for that matter, for 1965 as well...) are in color and not B&W? That point of departure is certainly one component of the shift from classic noir to neo-noir.
Notice how prominent France and Japan remain in these lists.
Thanks so much--keep going, please!!
Posted by ChiBob on 10/14/2015, 2:32 pm, in reply to "Re: Noir in 1966"
Yes, the b/w demarcation point is significant, since after the mid 60s, most domestic films are in color, except for the roughies. For me, the neo noirs are of less interest than the b/w films.
Posted by Wisconsin Mark on 10/14/2015, 2:51 pm, in reply to "Re: Noir in 1966"
I have written before of a comparison that is interesting to me. It is my impression that 1965 would seem to be about the last year that an American studio could release a black-and-white film un-self-consciously - such as Brainstorm or The Money Trap. By contrast, the use of black-and-white in In Cold Blood in 1967 seems to me to be VERY self-conscious and "arty," which is another way (besides moving to color) of crossing the line from classic noir to neo-noir.
I haven't seen Arthur Penn's Mickey One (1965), but descriptions I have read suggest that it is on the self-conscious side of the line. Seconds in 1966 also seems to me to be self-conscious in its use of b-and-w.
It is entirely possible, even likely, that the death of classic noir and the first birthings of neo-noir would overlap slightly in the mid-Sixties. One of the things that I absolutely love about The Money Trap is that it seems not to realize that it is virtually the last of its kind, and I can't help weaving that valedictory sense into my experience of watching the film. Although correctly dated as a 1965 film, it actually did not go into general U.S. release until February 2, 1966. So late.
Posted by Solomon on 10/14/2015, 3:38 pm, in reply to "Re: Noir in 1966"
The revival of noir or re-birth of noir is a NEW birth, and in my mind color/b/w/ is not the driving signal of it or the "baby". I agree that the use of b/w in the films "Seconds," "Mickey One" and "In Cold Blood" are like conscious efforts to say "Look, we're doing noir again," but the claim is that it's NEW noir -- in some clear ways. And the question is this: What ways? What's new about it?
I think we can identify the films that sought to create new story lines and themes within the NEW noir sensibility. These would have to be reflected in new character types or old types doing things or saying things or revealing things about society, family, etc that had been kept submerged in the earlier cycle, even though that cycle opened up a lot. That's where I think film scholars should direct their attention: story, theme, character and revelations that had been more or less muted or only hinted at in earlier films.
You take "Seconds" and you ask, what is it really about? Well, dissatisfaction for one thing, and an attempt to escape it. And you have to ask if its treatment is deeper or more open than what we may have seen before. And what is "In Cold Blood" really about? What makes its treatment of killers different than past ones? What did Capote really want to tell us?
Or the NEW aspect might additionally be something at a different level, which is simply a new-found capacity to tell any kind of a story one wants to with fewer restraints, a new-found freedom.
Posted by Wisconsin Mark on 10/14/2015, 4:08 pm, in reply to "Re: Noir in 1966"
I get what you are saying, but those films were not claiming to be neo-noir - that is a later interpretation of them. I don't even think that they were signalling that they were doing noir again, because there was NO awareness of noir as a tradition in the United States at that time. When that awareness came, it would affect academics first, and wouldn't percolate down to film-makers until maybe the 1980s.
What I mean by self-consciousness has less to do with any intended neo-noirishness, I think, and more to do with two other factors, one artistic and one commercial.
The artistic factor was the influence of European art films, which had been building since the mid-1950s. Seconds, In Cold Blood, and (I take it) Mickey One demonstrate an awareness on the part of their film-makers with those European models. That awareness pops up in some outre places - Leslie Stevens' 1966 Esperanto-language horror film Incubus - shot by Conrad Hall, who would shortly thereafter shoot In Cold Blood - is, as I've noted before, as close as you'll find to an American version of Ingmar Bergman's medieval films. Steve Cochran's Tell Me in the Sunlight (1965) has a European sensibility and some Antonioni in its DNA - and of course, Cochran had spent time in Europe and actually acted for Antonioni.
The commercial factor was the fading of black-and-white as a viable commercial format. Once a film cannot be released in b-and-w without the fact being noted, then black-and-white has become a retro and self-conscious format. This happened right around 1965-1967. Interesting fact: Between 1940 and 1966, there were separate Academy Awards for art direction for black-and-white and color films; in 1966, the Academy decided to eliminate the separate b-and-w award because the pool of eligible films was getting too small.
The Money Trap shows no particular awareness of European models and is just another black-and-white crime film - except that there were immediately about to be no black-and-white crime films of its type, not ever again. Deciding to release a film in black-and-white became an artistic decision that in and of itself defined a movie as an art film.
What makes for neo-noir is not necessarily any conscious decision to be neo-noir, but a "You can't go home again" factor. After The Money Trap is released, that door is locked.
Posted by Solomon on 10/14/2015, 4:28 pm, in reply to "Re: Noir in 1966"
Right, producing something new doesn't mean you're necessarily consciously thinking "neo-noir", not at all. I agree, and I do not think they were doing that. I think exactly what you are saying. There are two influences, commercial and artistic. A NEW thing that sells is what they wanted because these movies didn't come cheap.
The artistic influences on them -- they have to be demonstrated. I know nothing about that, so I have to be shown. There has to be some evidence of it, or some accounts, or interviews, or whatever.
But what we have before us that's the richest source is the films themselves. I think we may start to see new kinds of stories, themes that distinguish the mid-60s from the late 50s or early 60s, and these may also provide seeds for yet other stories and themes in the late 60s and 70s. That's the place where I'd suggest critics should focus, but that's my intuition and feeling. I have not done the work of arguing that in an article. That is not my game!