All definitional issues in film noir are muddled by ongoing American-centric distortion. Ben Kenigsberg comes nowhere near that aspect of the problem in the linked essay, but he makes a strong stand for the "non-genre" interpretation of film noir:
To rehash an old, inevitably circular set of arguments: Noir can’t simply be a genre because it transcends genre. There are noir mysteries, noir melodramas, noir costume pictures, even noir-tinged westerns and science fiction. If noir is a style, its hallmarks might include terse dialogue, an interest in seamy aspects of human behavior and black-and-white cinematography. But a cataloging would have to embrace exceptions. (“Leave Her to Heaven,” the ne plus ultra of femme fatale movies, is in Technicolor.)
To my mind, it's the first step in a process that weans folks away form hard-boiled stereotypes and "reader-response analyses" that continue to obscure an understanding of how the violence (physical and/or emotional) embedded in noir dramatics collides with well-established patterns/forms in the history of theater to provide a hybrid form that can be appropriated across "genres."
Kenigsberg falls victim to the usual journalistic practice of trying to put all his eggs in one basket (might be due to his editor insisting that he not try to "do too much" in an essay that is already more than a bit outside the box for a mainstream media outlet) with IN A LONELY PLACE as somehow "representative" of noir, but it does lead to an idea of how to categorize the films in the canon:
--How many noirs have police activity in the foreground of the action?
--How many, like IN A LONELY PLACE, have it sandwiched into the action without operating as the prime movers of the action?
--How many have it on the periphery?
--And how many have no police function present at all?
You'd have to decide if "periphery" includes a film like OOTP, where there is a private eye relating a tale (initially in flashback) of how he had to exile himself, and that cops appear only twice, after a murder of a dupe (Eels) and at the end, when he decides to take whatever happens by betraying Kathie to the cops...
This is a job for Dan Hodges, if he's up for it. You might have these figures developed already, Dan, albeit in a different structure. It gets back to a point ChiO was making some time ago about a sizable "sub-type" of noir building itself out of "domestic melodrama." How many of those are there, and how many of them don't involve cops?
I think capturing some of that data is more useful than jockeying for position over RAW DEAL, which is one of the most tautly balanced noirs between "hard-boiled" and "melodrama" elements--reflected in its top ten "noir-o-meter" raw score. To my mind, Konigsberg should use it for an example of how noir appropriates so much from previous forms and adds strangeness, dread, and low-rent expressionism to tales that all too often got a glossier treatment than was appropriate for the subject matter. But then that's the difference between Dennis O'Keefe and Humphrey Bogart...