No human alive (or otherwise) has spent more time chronicling celluloid’s various underbellies than the venerable Joe Bob Briggs. His appreciation of exploitation, horror, and all other drive-in delights has made him the foremost authority on countless genres. Now in collaboration with The Press Room we are celebrating one of Hollywood’s greatest eras, the classic criminal cinema of Film Noir.
“The women were just as tough as the men in the melodramas called ‘film noir’ by the French, and the name stuck even though this genre is as distinctly American as the western.
Between 1946 and 1964, these low-budget black-and-white journeys into the tenements, back alleys, and fleabag hotels of the desperate and the dispossessed taught us that passion is a snare, cynicism is strength, and sacrifice is for fools — until one transforming moment, usually in the final scene, when the American weakness for the underdog and the downtrodden leads to redemption — Jackie Gleason giving all his money to Anthony Quinn so the punch-drunk boxer won’t know he was a patsy, or Paul Newman turning his back on George C. Scott in the last big-time pool hall he’ll ever play in.
Film noir is known as a ‘dark’ and pessimistic genre, but it’s in fact the opposite — outwardly weak characters with inner strength defeating strong men who are corrupt to the bone. These are 90-minute masterpieces about the ability of a single person, however flawed, to change the world.” - Joe Bob Briggs
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