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Arts & Culture

It Was A Dark Night In The City. Death Hung In The Air Like...

A hard-boiled private eye, a glamorous blond, and a hapless drifter all sit at a bar on the seamy side of town. It's night, the streets are wet, the shadows are long. They each nurse a drink to the notes of a mournful saxophone and a lonely piano.  Smoke from the cigarettes swirls in the darkness. 

We all know classic noir when we see it and hear it and read it; yet, we don't really know how to define the dark plots that expose humanity in all its moral ambiguity and loneliness. 

Noir arrived in America with German emigres escaping the Nazis and fit well with the bleakness of Americans reeling from a depression, two world wars and later, the threat of nuclear annihilation. It continues to resonate and has transposed its style across genres. ?

Today, a deeper look at noir -- then and now. 


  • Amy Bloom - Author of adult fiction, a children’s book and collections of short stories and essays. She is the editor of the anthology New Haven Noir; her latest novel, White Houses, is due out on February 13
  • Colin Harrison - Editor-in-Chief at Scribner Publishing and author of many books, most recently, You Belong To Me
  • Sheri Chinen Biesen - Professor of Film History at Rowan University and the author of Blackout: World War II and the Origins of Film Noir and Music in the Shadows: Noir Musical Films

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Colin McEnroe and Chion Wolf contributed to this show.

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