Day 14 of Noirvember: Color Noir?

Some people say that in order to be film noir, a movie has to be in black and white.

I don’t buy it.

For me, it’s the feeling that truly makes a noir – the tone, the mood, that sensation of impending, inevitable doom. And that feeling can come over you whether it’s in black and white or in color.

Today’s Noirvember post takes a look at one such color noir – Slightly Scarlet (1956) – not to be confused with the 1930 film of the same title starring Clive Brook and Evelyn Brent.

Based on a James M. Cain novel, this feature stars two noir veterans, Ted de Corsia as crime boss Solly Caspar, and John Payne as the merciless Ben Grace, Solly’s underling. Described by one character as a “low-grade moron with delusions of grandeur” (whoa!), Solly finds that his carefully crafted empire is in jeopardy after he humiliates Grace in front of the rest of the gang. In retaliation, Grace exposes Solly’s role in a high-profile murder, Solly flees the country, and Grace takes over the enterprise. The cast is rounded out by Rhonda Fleming as June Lyons, whose younger sister, Dorothy, played by Arlene Dahl, is a sex-starved kleptomaniac who has recently been released from prison.

Although famously acerbic New York Times critic Bosley Crowther dismissed the film as “an exhausting lot of twaddle,” Slightly Scarlet is definitely worth your time, and it has a shootout in the climax that will knock your socks off. Check it out on YouTube and see what I mean:


Trivia tidbit: As of this writing, the film’s femmes are still with us – Rhonda Fleming turned 96 on August 10, 2019, and Arlene Dahl turned 94 the following day!

Join me tomorrow for Day 15 of Noirvember (where is the month going, y’all?!?!).

~ by shadowsandsatin on November 14, 2019.

8 Responses to “Day 14 of Noirvember: Color Noir?”

  1. I’d like to see it myself !

  2. Noir means black or noir.Ergo color noir is like jumbo shrimp.An oxymoron.The original Greek meaning is pointedly foolish.Which the concept color noir is.

  3. I agree that noir is a style or mood. If it gives me a “kick in the gut” then they can splash all the colour around they want.

  4. Yesss, color noir all the way! To me noir refers to the dark tone as well. I think it can even add to the eerieness because we see our world in vibrant color, and we associate that with ourselves more than the stylized black and white noirs.

  5. What? Bosley Crowther didn’t care for this film? I’m shocked – SHOCKED.

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