Blast of Silence (Allen Baron, 1961)

the kind of movies you can make just by putting a camera in car and tracking your character walking down the street. or filming during a hurricane. stellar hitman moodpiece, with the most expressive, hard-boiled 2nd-person narration. “you could have been an engineer…“you could have been an architect…”

How can these starkly contrasting performances all be “essentially” noir? Like jazz, film noir could be hot or cool, and often it managed to be both at once. The complex formula evolved over time. In the forties, the hard-boiled style valorized masculine reserve—Bogart’s dry, parrying skepticism; the haunted stoicism of Dana Andrews; the nonchalant underplaying of rough-hewn men like Mitchum and Sterling Hayden, who suspected acting was phony and effeminate. These defenses walled off psychological horrors that erupted in surreal nightmares or surging melodramas. In the later fifties, darkly romantic dreamscapes gave way to fractured portraits of a dehumanized, explosively violent world (Touch of Evil, Blast of Silence). Instead of a lacquered surface that hides corrosive anxiety or aching loss, there is a frenetic burlesque of action concealing a freeze-dried hollowness.

Dark Passages: Tough and Not-So-Tough Guys

which one are you?

the dingy asteroid belt diner is nearly empty. you watch a pair of comets collide through the ice coated window as you eat your waffles and bacon. the leather seats squeak with every movement and the jukebox plays the same eight songs on repeat

the capitol building burns as you and your band of insurgent rebels watch. the planet’s fascist government has been toppled and history has been rewritten. this bumping soundtrack blasts through the ringing silence

you’re sitting in a 1950’s pink cobwebbed gas station bathroom, smoking weed and sipping lemonade with your newly eloped lover. soft music crackles through the speakers and thunder rumbles outside

this far deep underground, no natural light filters through. neon reflects in your eyes and everything feels blurry. vengeance thrums in your veins. maybe you are happy maybe you are sad, you don’t know. for now, you lose yourself in the wild current

(other version)