The Big Nowhere: The best film noir you have never heard of

Martha 1As regular Pulp Curry readers will be aware, one of my great cinema loves in film noir. Everyone can name their favourite films noirs, usually the big name, famous ones, like Double Indemnity (1944), the 1946 version of The Killers or Orson Welles’ Touch of Evil (1958). But one of the things I love about the canon of cinema known as film noir is how broad and deep it is. So many fantastic films noirs were made that are relatively unknown to many people.

For a while now, I’ve been thinking it would be great to do a series of posts on the best unknown noirs and what they tell us about what film noir. I was going to do this for Pulp Curry, but a meeting during the recent Melbourne International Film Festival with Conor Bateman, who runs the great Sydney-based film site, 4:3, made me think they might be a better location for the posts.

So over the next few months, I’m am going to be doing a series of columns on 4:3, each one focusing on a different film noir that I think is particularly good and unknown, and posting links to them on this site.

The criteria are simple. That the film be little known, good, American and released during 1945 – 1960. You may disagree about whether or not my choices fit into the definition of a little known film noir. Fair enough, but remember, if you are one of my regular readers, you are also likely to know more about noir than the average film viewer. A lot more.

Anyway, here’s the first in the series of columns, which the folks at 4:3 have called ‘The Big Nowhere’. It’s on Lewis Milestone’s wonderful but little known 1946 ‘bad town’ film noir, The Strange Love of Martha IversEnjoy.



2 Responses

  1. I never thought this movie was unknown. I have seen it twice. it is available on DVD. I recall somewhere that it was rated one of the top 100 noirs of all time. Any movie with Barbara Stanwyck is tough to keep under the radar. On another post, you should ask for post 1960 noir that are hidden gems. There are many.

    • Dennis,
      Yes, not everyone will agree with my selection. Film noir fans, in particular, will be familiar with most, if not all of the films, out there. I only saw THE STRANGE LOVE OF MARTHA IVERS in the last couple of years and I have been watching noir for a while now. I think you’d be surprised by how many people are not familiar with it. I agree there are a lot of great noir films of the 1960s. Another subject that would make a good series of posts would be UK film noir of the 1950s & 1960s.

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