Sunday, May 29, 2011

How Do They Know About Noir?

Video gamers are taking to recent release "L.A. Noire," a game based on films noir crime stories. The game is set in 1947 Los Angeles, and its story includes the stuff that makes up hard-boiled detective fiction that inspired several decades of crime films released after World War II.
Most video gamers are younger folks -- at least that's the impression I get whenever there's a new release. The store across the street from me in L.A. has a line of teens going out the door whenever a hot new item goes on the market. So, I wonder, how does this young demographic know about, and it would seem, identify with something buried so deeply in Hollywood's past? Hell, the original films noir haven't been in theaters since their grandparents' day. Would they know Barbara Stanwyck from Lady Gaga?
Maybe that's why the Web is offering primers on film noir, such as this (click here), and this. Here's a list of noirs from IMDB. Kids will need to catch up on actors such as Robert Mitchum, Bogie, Edward G. Robinson, Paul Muni and Ralph Meeker (in photo above in a scene from "Gun Crazy"), to name a few.
Somehow in the arena of video games, films noir seem to communicate with a younger generation, and translate into a medium different from the celluloid fabric from which they came. Maybe that speaks to the power of the original films. They were well designed and executed. And great architecture is eternal.

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