Day Six of Noirvember: Noir of the Year(s)

Today’s Noirvember post looks at my favorite noirs through the years. My original plan was to pick one favorite for each year of the classic noir era. And it was fun at first – until I got to 1944, and I realized that this little exercise wouldn’t be as easy as I’d envisioned. It was so hard to decide, in fact, that for many of the years, I decided on one favorite and several Honorable Mentions. And surprisingly, despite the hype about 1947 being the greatest year for noir, I found that 1950 was the year that was practically overflowing with first-rate features.

So here are my picks for Noir of the Year, from 1940 through 1959. What are some of yours?

1940

The Letter

The Maltese Falcon: I appreciate it more for its parts than the whole, but it’s such a classic, I had to make it my number one for the year.

1941

The Maltese Falcon

Honorable mention: Johnny Eager

1942

The Glass Key

1943

Shadow of a Doubt

1944

Double Indemnity (of course).

Honorable mentions: Laura and Murder My Sweet

1945

Mildred Pierce

Honorable mentions: Detour, The Great Flamarion, Leave Her to Heaven, and Scarlet Street

The Postman Always Rings Twice: One of the first noirs I ever saw, and always a sentimental favorite.

1946

The Postman Always Rings Twice

Honorable mentions: Decoy, Gilda, The Locket, and The Strange Love of Martha Ivers

1947

Out of the Past.

Honorable mentions: Born to Kill, Desperate, Nora Prentiss, and They Won’t Believe Me

1948

They Live By Night.

Honorable mentions: Cry of the City, Kiss the Blood Off My Hands, and Pitfall

Criss Cross: For my money, a near-perfect noir.

1949

Criss Cross

Honorable mentions: House of Strangers, The Set-Up, Tension, Too Late for Tears, and White Heat

1950

Gun Crazy

Honorable mentions: Armored Car Robbery, Asphalt Jungle, The Damned Don’t Cry, Night and the City, Quicksand, Shakedown, Sunset Boulevard

1951

Strangers on a Train

Honorable mentions: Ace in the Hole, Cry Danger, Detective Story, and The Prowler

Sudden Fear: One of several Joan Crawford noirs that I love.

1952

Sudden Fear

Honorable mentions: The Narrow Margin and Clash By Night.

1953

The Big Heat

Honorable mention: Pick-Up on South Street and Wicked Woman

1954

Shield for Murder

Honorable mentions: Drive a Crooked Road and Private Hell 36

1955

The Big Combo. Honorable mention: New York Confidential

1956

The Killing

Sweet Smell of Success: It’s a cookie full of arsenic.

1957

The Sweet Smell of Success

Honorable mention: Plunder Road

1958

Touch of Evil

1959

Odds Against Tomorrow

Join me tomorrow for Day Seven of Noirvember!

~ by shadowsandsatin on November 6, 2017.

17 Responses to “Day Six of Noirvember: Noir of the Year(s)”

  1. Ooh, Shakedown. Will we ever see a decent copy for home viewing? One of the last remaining excellent noirs that deserves a lot more love.

    Nice list.

  2. Great selection. Got me thinking again of how we define Noir – I don’t see GILDA or Clash By Night, or The Letter as Noir.

    I’d add a few to your Honorable mentions – PHANTOM LADY (1944),
    THE DARK CORNER and NOCTURNE (1946):
    JOHNNY O’CLOCK, LADY IN THE LAKE , DARK PASSAGE (1947):
    ROAD HOUSE , KEY LARGO, CALL NORTHSIDE 777 (1948):
    I’d give the statuette to WOMAN ON THE RUN in 1950, with honorary mentions to DARK CITY, PANIC IN THE STREETS and IN A LONELY PLACE.
    1951: THE ENFORCER, THE RACKET
    1952: LOAN SHARK, MACAO, ON DANGEROUS GROUND,NARROW MARGIN
    1953: HITCH-HIKER, 99 RIVER STREET, CITY THAT NEVER SLEEPS
    Winner for 1955: KISS ME DEADLY.

  3. In the dead of the night I will go through those years choosing one, no HMs. As I an anticipating insomnia, I thank you for the challenge. I must say reading your choices just reminded me how many wonderful movies are out there.

  4. I’m back. No surprises really with these titles. But they have their place.

    1940, Stranger on the Third Floor
    1941, Blues in the Night
    1942, Moontide
    1943, Shadow of a Doubt
    1944, Murder, My Sweet
    1945, Mildred Pierce
    1946, Black Angel
    1947, Born to Kill
    1948, Cry of the City
    1949, The Set-Up
    1950, The Breaking Point
    1951, On Dangerous Ground
    1952, The Narrow Margin
    1953, The Big Heat
    1954, Black Tuesday
    1955, The Big Combo
    1956, The Killing
    1957, Sweet Smell of Success
    1958, Touch of Evil
    1959, Odds Against Tomorrow

    Not until I see these movies lined up in a row does it strike me that I’ve written about 10 of them on my blog.

    • Love these! And so cool that you included Moontide and Black Angel, which are so rarely talked about — not to mention two that I’ve never seen: Blues in the Night and Black Tuesday. Since they made your list, I am now determined to check them out!

  5. Those post war noirs were goodies !!!!!!!!!!!

  6. Great choices. Here is my list.

    1940 Stranger On The Third Floor
    1941 The Maltese Falcon
    1942 This Gun For Hire
    1943 The Fallen Sparrow
    1944 A tie between Murder My Sweet and Double Indemnity
    1945 Cornered
    1946 The Dark Corner
    1947 T-Men
    1948 A tie between The Naked City and Key Largo
    1949 The Reckless Moment
    1950 Gun Crazy
    1951 Roadblock
    1952 The Narrow Margin
    1953 A tie between The Big Heat and Pickup On South Street
    1954 Private Hell 36
    1955 Kiss Me Deadly
    1956 While The City Sleeps
    1957 Time Without Pity

  7. They were! SO many good ones! I wonder what that means…

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