Noir Readings

Among many noir readings, I read The Postman Always Rings Twice, The Shadow, (script for the Death Triangle episode) and The Killers by Ernest Hemingway. As we discussed from last week, noir means “black” in French, which indicates that it show dark side of the human that can be crime, especially murder, or temptation (mostly immoral relationship). These literatures share common plots: murder investigations, heists, and cigarette smoking are mandatory.

The main motif of The Postman Always Rings Twice was a case in litigation of Ruth Snyder and Judd Gray which held in Long Island in 1927. Also, in my opinion, the title of the book came from this case. Ruth Snyder and her boyfriend Judd Gray killed her husband to get insurance. Right before Ruth Snyder and Judd Gray murder her husband, Ruth Snyder insured husband secretly. The insurance had special contract that when her husband die, she will receive about twice as much of compensation. And she asked postman to bring the insurance policy to her, not anyone else. The sign for this was ringing bell twice. As the motif of this novel is related to the murder caused by the love that is immortality, the novel The Postman Always Rings Twice is also about immoral relationship between Frank Chambers and Cora, and the victim of this love is her husband Nick Papadakis. Some of tropes are beginning to emerge: everybody (mostly men) smokes, whenever the crime or the important situations are occurs, it is always night, and the minor crime reveals major plot. When Cora and Frank tried to kill her husband first time, it was at the night. The main point is that when Cora was tried to hit her husband with the blackjack that Frank had made for her, all the lights were out and it was really dark and nobody could not see anything. At that time, cops were passing by Nick’ restaurant and saw the stepladder and they felt awkward and when the crime was occurred, they doubted these two, Cora and Frank. The major trope of this novel is the minor crime reveals major plot. When Cora and Frank killed her husband by making Nick drunk and put him in the car then, rolling the car from cliff. It was successful for killing him but they had to go to court. During the trial, they were almost got busted by local prosecutor Sackett. But Cora and Frank escaped avoid with help from lawyer Katz, who is enemy of local prosecutor Sackett. But the problem was when Cora went to her mother’s funeral, Frank had affair with a lady named Madge. Cora figured it out and leave the memo about the crimes that they did including first plan of killing Nick. Frank begged for Cora’s forgiveness and she forgave him. They noticed that Cora is pregnant and got married and went to honeymoon to the beach. But Cora felt stomachache so they were driving to the hospital. While driving to hospital, he did not see the culvert wall, and there was a crash. Cora was dead. They forgot to get rid of the memo that Cora wrote, which became most important evidences of what have he done. The local prosecutor Sackett had it all figured out. Cora and Frank murdered her husband Nick to get the money and the restaurant that he owned, and then Frank married her, and murdered her so he could have it all himself. The result of the greasy murder was a sentence of death. In this novel that the minor crime was Frank had affair with another lady which reveals to his death. In this novel, there are some characters that are associated with Film Noir. The Dirty Cop, in this novel, it can be dirty lawyer Katz. He knew Cora and Frank were culprits, but he defended them for money that they gave him and made judge to presume their innocence. Femme Fatale is referring to Cora in this novel. But the in the beginning she was just normal lady who got married without love. As she fell in to love, she slowly became femme fatale and made Frank fell into love with her and made his mind to murder her husband.

I also read The Shadow, (script for the Death Triangle episode) and The Killers. Both of the novel consist of mystery. The Shadow, as it mention in the title, the known character Shadow is involved in the script. In the story of The Killers, the men, Al and Max tried to kill Ole Andreson for a friend. Just to oblige a friend. Even though these two stories were really short, but these have strong impact. Frist, The Killers, when Nick Adam went to the Hirsch’s rooming-house where Ole Andreson were living, Ole Andreson knew what it’s all about but he was just waiting in the room and knowing he is going to be killed. When I finished this story, I got little depressed, because you know you will be died but you cannot do anything to change. The only thing youkan do is just sit there and waiting to be killed. The Shadow has really interesting trope, sympathy for the devil. In my opinion, the devil can be Covert, Martan, and Dubrille. Even though Covert was the actual murderer of the crime 20 years ago, one of men (Dr. Evans, Raymond Dubrille, and Pierre Martan who were escaped from a political prisoner on Devil’s Island together) betrayed him to the police, one of them told the police where to find Covert. Covert got caught by police and went back to Devil’s Island. After about 20 years later, a skeleton of Covert was found on a deserted beach. Martan, who was pretending he is Covert, was gunned by Dubrille was tried to revenge for betrayal of Dubrille. His plan was almost perfect and he tricked Dr. Evans and Dubrille but he trust his friend Dubrille and throw the knife to where he heard voice of the shadow and made chance for Dubrille to shoot at him. Lastly, Dubrille, he is the one who is self-centeredness. He is the one who create this bad situation. If he did not betray Martan, Martan would not have to declare death threat to Dubrille and Dr. Evan. When all three men and shadow were met at Dubrille’s Long Island estate, he went to his room (Dr. Evan and the shadow asked him to not go alone) and ended up with death.

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