100 best noirs seems like an ambitious undertaking, especially since it has nothing to do with Eddie Muller, the self proclaimed ‘Czar of Noir.” However, a Facebook friend (who shall remain nameless) recently sent me a link to an online magazine article in which the attempt to catalogue the 100 best noir films is done by several writers. Here’s that list and some further thoughts on my own.
It’s a thoughtful, fairly well-written piece but as my friend pointed out, it seems to lean heavily on more recent films and less so on more classic noir. It seem to me, that if you’re going to proclaim the 100 best noirs then some of the choices that made the list are either incorrect or just plain bogus. Sorry but Angels with Dirty Faces (1938), the film that made me a huge James Cagney fan is NOT noir. If you put that on the list then all the great 1930s Warner gangster pix should also be included.
And why Gaslight (1944), Key Largo (1948) or Miller’s Crossing (1990)? Sorry, all great films but hardly noir.
More importantly are the films absent from the list. These are my choices both classic and modern:
Act of Violence (1948), On Dangerous Ground (1951) & Odds Against Tomorrow (1959), all three starring the criminally underrated Robert Ryan!
Brute Force (1947)
Panic in the Streets (1950)
The Hustler (1961)
Modern noir? How about these:
Mean Streets (1973)
Who’ll Stop the Rain (1978)
Cutter & Bone, aka Cutter’s Way (1981)
And since this blog is dedicated to Lee Marvin and as the author of Lee Marvin Point Blank, allow me to ask, where’s this cult favorite remake?
Not to brag but I did get to interview many of the costars, including Clu Gulager, Angie Dickinson, Norman Fell and Bob Phillips, all of whom told me great tales concerning this classic noir!
Now I ask you, did they miss the boat in the article, or what?! Any of your favorites missing as well? Feel free to comment.
– Dwayne Epstein