By Gerald Peary
The results of a Facebook contest for the Best of American Film Noir, 1940-1959
Eight Arts Fuse contributors were among 145 voters in 14 countries — including film critics, cinema historians, filmmakers, academics, and knowledgeable fans — participating in a Facebook contest for the Best of American Film Noir, 1940-1959.
The winner on 94 ballots was Billy Wilder’s masterful Double Indemnity, beating out two atmospheric cult classics, Jacques Tourneur’s Out of the Past (87 ballots) and Orson Welles’s Touch of Evil (81). All power to the “B” movie: Detour 5th and Gun Crazy 9th. What happened to Hitchcock, with Shadow of a Doubt buried at 19th, Strangers on a Train at 21st?
The top 20: 1. Double Indemnity (94 votes) 2. Out of the Past (87) 3. Touch of Evil (81) 4. Kiss Me Deadly (61) 5. Detour (59) 6. In a Lonely Place (57) 7. The Big Heat (52) 8. The Big Sleep (50) 9. Gun Crazy (41) 10. The Killing (40) 11. The Maltese Falcon (39) 12. The Asphalt Jungle (34) 13. Pickup on South Street (33) 14. Scarlet Street and The Killers (26) 16. Force of Evil (25), 17. Sunset Boulevard (24) 18. Criss Cross (22) 19. Shadow of a Doubt and Lady from Shanghai (21).
Here are the Arts Fuse writer ballots:
Gerald Peary–Double Indemnity, The Maltese Falcon, The Big Sleep, Shadow of a Doubt, The Asphalt Jungle, The Big Heat, Strangers on a Train, Pitfall, Detour, In a Lonely Place
Evelyn Rosenthal–The Postman Always Rings Twice, The Big Sleep, Laura, Body and Soul, Gaslight, Sunset Boulevard, High Sierra, The Maltese Falcon, Double Indemnity, Strangers on a Train
Tim Jackson–The Killing, Gun Crazy, Out of the Past, Kiss Me Deadly, Sunset Boulevard, Strangers on a Train, Touch of Evil, Nightmare Alley, Sudden Fear, White Heat
Jay Atkinson–Laura, Where the Sidewalk Ends, The Blue Dahlia, Out of the Past, The Set-Up, In a Lonely Place, The Big Sleep, On Dangerous Ground, The Glass Key, Crossfire
Matt Hanson–Double Indemnity, Detour, Blast of Silence, Night of the Hunter, Pickup on South Street, The Big Sleep, Sunset Boulevard, Touch of Evil, Gun Crazy, The Hitch-Hiker
Peg Aloi–Mildred Pierce, Touch of Evil, Key Largo, Sorry, Wrong Number, Sunset Boulevard, In a Lonely Place, Dark Passage, Night of the Hunter, To Have and Have Not, The Maltese Falcon
Ezra Haber Glenn–Double Indemnity, The Postman Always Rings Twice, The Naked City, Mildred Pierce, The Killing, The Big Sleep, Night of the Hunter, Pickup on South Street, Sunset Boulevard, The Sweet Smell of Success
Betsy Sherman–Detour, Out of the Past, Kiss Me Deadly, The Big Sleep, Double Indemnity, Touch of Evil, In a Lonely Place, The Big Combo, Criss Cross, Born to Kill
Editor’s Note: Where in the hell is Hitchcock’s Notorious? My other addition — a personal favorite — would be Michael Curtiz’s The Unsuspected (1947), which stars Claude Rains as one of cinema’s suavest sociopaths, a popular “true crime” radio host who plots to do in Joan Caulfield. — Bill Marx
What films would you choose? Add to the list. Please comment below.