Tag Archives: Top 10 Noirs

John Carpenter’s Top 10 Noirs…

Are you like me and like John Carpenter’s films? Are you also a fan of the film noir genre?

Then how about taking a look at…

John Carpenter’s Top 10 Film Noirs

Have to say, he likes many of the ones I really like.

Mild Spoilers:

Of the ones he’s pointed out, Double Indemnity, The Third Man, The Killers, Kiss Me Deadly, and Blow Up are some of my favorites.

He doesn’t note it in his comments, but the screenplay to Double Indemnity is an adaptation of the John M. Cain novel by Raymond Chandler. Chandler is probably my all time favorite author. His Philip Marlowe novels (The Big Sleep, The Long Goodbye, etc.) are superb.

I love the original Burt Lancaster starring The Killers (yes, the movie is based on a short story by Ernest Hemingway!) but don’t go totally to sleep on the 1964 Lee Marvin starring remake. It features Ronald Reagan in his last acting role as a pretty slimy character…

Then there’s Kiss Me Deadly. If you haven’t seen that film, do yourself a favor and check it out. Incredible work that was light years ahead of its time! Also the source of the “glowing suitcase contents” which Quentin Tarantino used in Pulp Fiction

Finally, Blow Up is one wild work and Carpenter puts it best: It’s a meditation on what is real and what isn’t and the ending… it’s haunting…

There are, of course, other films very much worth checking out that Carpenter doesn’t mention.

Among them, I would recommend the following:

Out of the Past (1947): Easily one of the all time best film noirs ever made. Robert Mitchum gives career defining acting as the doomed protagonist and Kirk Douglas, also in a very early role, is appropriately slimy. And Jane Greer is perfection as the… oh… I’m not going to spoil it!

The Maltese Falcon (1941): Humphrey Bogart knocks the ball out of the park as Dashiel Hammet’s detective Sam Spade. Mary Astor is right up there as are the incredible co-stars he has to stay one step ahead of. All of them are searching for the titular falcon, a statue that’s “the stuff dreams are made of”.

Memento (2000): The film that first brought audiences to director Christopher Nolan… and which may still be his very best film. Guy Pearce is Leonard, a man who suffers from extreme memory loss. He can’t recall things beyond a few minutes at a time. The movie plays out in reverse, giving audiences the same disoriented feel Leonard goes through and yet, if you pay attention, the story unfolds logically and, in the end, devastatingly. A wonderful work of modern noir!

I could go on and on but I’ll leave it at that for now!