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This Gun For Hire

dfordoom in noirfilms

why did film noir die?

Most reference books on the subject tell us that film noir ended with A Touch of Evil in 1958. One can of course argue that perhaps there were one or two noirs after that date but on the whole most people would probably agree.

But why did film noir die?

Of course some of the causes are pretty obvious. Television pretty much killed the B-movie. And once black-and-white fell out of favour the noir visual style was pretty much finished. But was there more to it than that?

Did audiences grow tired of the cynicism and pessimism? Is that why noir suddenly became popular again in the 70s, the decade of cynicism and pessimism?

Or did film noir just get displaced by other styles? I wonder if the rise of the spy movie had something to do with it. Not the Bond movies, but the anti-Bond movies of the mid-60s. Movies like The Spy Who Came in from the Cold and The Ipcress File were certainly not film noir but they were at least partly drawing from the same well - cynicism, corruption, betrayal, pessimism, moral relativism. The dark spy movies of the 60s had all these things but to movie audiences they also probably seemed more modern and perhaps more relevant.

Anyway, just some random thoughts.