By David Cochran

B-movies, crime novels, technological know-how fiction- all of those types of mass media got here into their very own within the Fifties. pushed aside by way of critics as dehumanizing to either writer and viewers, those genres unflinchingly uncovered the depths of yank existence at a time whilst it was once no longer politically right to take action. David Cochran information how, on the peak of the chilly warfare, ten writers and filmmakers challenged such social pieties because the superiority of American democracy, the benevolence of unfastened firm, and the sanctity of the suburban kin. Rod Serling's The Twilight region comparable tales of sufferers of gigantic, faceless bureaucratic powers. Jim Thompson's The Grifters portrayed the ravages of capitalism on these on the backside of the social ladder. Patricia Highsmith's The proficient Mr. Ripley featured an amoral con guy who infiltrated the privileged category and wreaked havoc as soon as there. All of those artists helped to set the level for the Sixties counterculture's problem to the status quo. In doing so, they blurred the strains among "high" and "low" artwork.

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Additional resources for America Noir: Underground Writers and Filmmakers of the Postwar Era

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As Farber indicated, some of them were far darker and more critical than the period's dominant cultural tendencies. In the view of elite critics, popular culture aimed to simply divert audiences, to allow them briefly to forget the tedium of their everyday lives. Thus, it could not raise troubling questions about the nature of existing political, economic, social, or cultural institutions. But such a view represented a vast oversimplification of the nature and content of popular culture in the Cold War period.

Tell of a dark world below the placid surface, a world whose inhabitants tend to be grasping, dissatisfied, emotionally twisted creatures.  . Worse yet, at the heart of it all, there is an implied lack of meaning. Unlike the settling of the West or the Second World War, the events transcribed by hardboiled fiction serve no particular purpose; they just happen. " 61 At a time when modernist art had been largely canonized and integrated into the dominant consensus, the underground culture kept alive the critical impetus of modernism.

Worse yet, at the heart of it all, there is an implied lack of meaning. Unlike the settling of the West or the Second World War, the events transcribed by hardboiled fiction serve no particular purpose; they just happen. " 61 At a time when modernist art had been largely canonized and integrated into the dominant consensus, the underground culture kept alive the critical impetus of modernism. 62 But the worlds of Jim Thompson, Charles Willeford, Chester Himes, Patricia Highsmith, Samuel Fuller, and Richard Condon were filled with grotesque characters, products of a social order that twisted and perverted people physically and psychologically.

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