straight down the line

Noir in different writing styles

This week i decided to read The Postman Always Rings Twice, The Killers, The Shadow and Debris, they all had different themes and styles of noir presented in them all.


The Postman Always Rings Twice by James Cain

This story was most definitely an example of noir readings. The writing style of this story made it difficult to understand at times, which could have been from the time period or just the way the author wrote it. This story had a lot of themes that went along with the noir aspect like murder, romance, blackmail, alcohol, and racism not to mention the flawed judicial system.

The story is about a guy named Frank who becomes employed from a Greek, who has a beautiful wife named Cora. Frank falls for Cora and from the beginning knows he wants and will get her, the only problem is the Greek. The love triangle causes many problems from the start because Cora can not just leave the Greek, so that is when it is planned between her and Frank that they will kill him but make it look like an accident. When it all goes wrong and he does not die and he is rushed to the hospital Cora and Frank realized they made a mistake and get scared when the cops start asking questions. Frank wants to run away with Cora but she will not go so Frank leaves and goes a few towns over.

The Greek runs into Frank and wants him to come back to work for him and go on their vacation with them, he agrees to go and when he gets back Cora is so upset and tired of being in the marriage. They plan to kill him in the car then crash it to make it seem like an accident. That plan yet again does not work and it lands them both in questioning and Frank is forced to turn on Cora making it seem like she was trying to kill them both. She is let go and before they leave they are stopped and told she inherited 10,000 dollars from his death. With this later comes the blackmail aspect. Once they finally get through all of that Cora and Frank get married, thinking they are able to get away and start their family and life it is quickly changed when they get in a car accident killing Cora and landing Frank in jail.


The Shadow 

This script has the concept of alcohol and murder/ crime. This story is about 4 guys, Martan, Evans, Corvet, and Durbille who were in prison together on Devil’s Island. They all escaped together but on boat they left on got turned all around when they hit a storm so they were out in sea for days without water and food. Corvet thought they were trying to kill him even though he was the only one that could navigate. He told them he wouldn’t die until he killed each one of them himself, so when they finally got to land after about 17 days they all separated and went their own ways.

This starts with Evans giving a false statement about doing work on the one called The Shadow just so he could get the actual Shadow to contact him. Once he gets a call from the Shadow he explains to him that he falsely reported that so he would contact him to tell him about the death threats received by Martan, Dubrille and himself who they all believed were from Corvet. When The Shadow asked him why he thought it was from Corvet he explained that Dubrille received a coffin shaped music box that played the same tune they all us to whistle as a warning sign in prison, The Shadow accepted to help them and Evans told him they would all be at Dubrille’s house that night to protect each other.

Once they all get to the house The Shadow is there to help figure everything out and he makes them tell the whole story of why they believe it to be Corvet, with Dubrille getting upset and freaked out after he pours himself a drink and it makes the same noise as the music box he locks himself in his room. While in his room Corvet comes out and he has a knife and Dubrille has a gun. They start talking about how they would be on the boat and get really good at throwing knives and rarely miss then they talked about what happened and how Dubrille turned him in to the police and also Martan when he tried to escape prison himself. Dubrille talks to Corvet about how they can work together to kill Martan and Evans since they both hate them and also The Shadow since he is trying to help them, but The Shadow is also in the room and he portrays his voice to go to the corner so Corvet will throw his knife. Once he throws it Dubrille turns on him calling him dumb for throwing his only weapon and then shoots Corvet but at the same time Corvet throws another knife.  When Evans comes running in the room it turns out that Corvet is really Martan and the real Corvet was already dead and his body was found. Martan wanted to kill Evans because he was successful and did what he always wanted to do.

Through all of this there was little to no action for the Shadow which kind of upset me because I expected him to have more action or part of the story.

The Killers by Ernest Hemingway

This short story has some signs of noir writings. Unlike in the Postman story there is no female presence in this to make it have that love triangle of female seduction part. This story’s title is misleading and I was disappointed when I read and found out that no one actually died. There is still that aspect of racism and crime/ violence and they have that trench coat and derby hat look known in the noir times. I liked the way this was written because the usage of photos throughout the story helped me imagine the setting and what was going on.

This story is about two guys Max and Al that show up at a restaurant, George, Sam(the cook) and Nick(pretty boy) all work there. They are there to wait for a guy named Ole Anderson so they can kill him for an obliged friend but they have to wait for dinner time when he normally comes in at 6:00pm. Al gets Sam and Nick to go back in the kitchen and he ties them up, while George is in the eating area with Max. People come in wanting food and George has to tell them that Sam is sick or left and will be back later so they will leave, when it gets close to 7 and Ole still has not come in Max and Al tell them that it is their lucky day and they leave. Once George unties them in the back he tells Nick to go to Ole’s house and warn him of what just happened and let him know that two guys are looking for him. When Nick talks to Ole he sees that Ole does not seem concerned that they were looking for him and kind of expected them to be looking for him because he knew he got in the wrong. Nick heads back to the restaurant and tells him what Ole said and that he was concerned for his life but George just told him that there was nothing they could do for him and to just forget about it.

Debris by Kevin Hardcastle

This story has that mysterious type of feeling when you read this story and kind of creeps you out a little bit. It starts out just being a couple Emily and Bob who find a dead squirrel in their pool and she gets her husband to come and bury it. You find out that it is not the first animal that they bury but any dead animal they get in their pool she has her husband bury them or she can not sleep. One day when she is out where all the animals are buried she can tell it is about to storm and bad, she gets to her house just before it fully starts. The next day when she goes out to the pool she notices that it is dark and murky but that there is also a female in the pool. She goes in the water to get her and they call the cops because she is dead, she is puzzled because she doesn’t understand how she got over their fence and into the water. When the cops get there they are questioned and then he left. Emily goes for a walk and finds a cabin in the woods somewhat down the road, she could tell that someone was living in the cabin, she did not go near it but went home and when she got there her husband told her that he was informed that the girl  was intoxicated and she had Benzodiazepine in her system. Once he said that Emily knew right away what happened to that girl. A few days later she saw their garage door swinging open and she told her husband to do an inventory and they found some of their items missing. Two weeks later another girl was found and at this point Emily is convinced that it is the Campbell boy whose father was a murder, the cops become suspect and go out to inspect the area by the house. Emily wants to go to the mass and when they get back they find their front door swung open and mud tracked inside the house, they get in their truck call the cops and go to the fork where they would be able to see them coming. As they are sitting there waiting they see him run across the road further down, he disappeared after that and for months they found nothing so they moved on.This story was just left kind of open with it ending the way it started, Emily finding a dead squirrel in the pool.


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