Saturday, June 07, 2008

British Noir

Forgive the somewhat inaccurate term of British noir, but in some respects it's apt for what it evokes: films that Britain made postwar combining crime and an exaggerated visual style. Thom Ryan, in his Film of the Year project, arrives at 1947, and for that year dissects Carol Reed's Odd Man Out, a film I've often thought unfairly overshadowed by the more illustrious Third Man. It's a terrific post that opens up the film to its detail and underlying crosscurrents.

As for my 1947 project, I do want to look into the impact of the British features on the American market. At this point they did have a prominence on US screens. What I need to discover is how much: how much they were relegated to "art house" contexts and how much downtown, neighborhood, or community cinemas showed them.

2 comments:

Thom said...

Your 1947 project is an inspiration to those of us exploring past films, Chris. Thanks for the pat on the back for my own post about a film from that year. It means more than you know.

Roy Stafford said...

I think that here in the UK the use of a term like film noir to refer to British films of the late 1940s is fairly common. It applies to melodramas as well as crime films and since some of these were made by Ealing I expect that they made it into US distribution, but possibly only in arthouses. My own favourites from 1947 are They Made Me a Fugitive (not released in the US until 1948) and Mine Own Executioner (US release 1949?). If your project only covers 1947 US releases, I guess that you will miss most 'Brit noirs'?