Winter’s a noir time of the year, is it not?
Well, maybe not for those old hard-boiled writers, Cain, Hammett, and Chandler. Especially that California boy, James M. Cain. Think of the sultry, sticky heat in The Postman Always Rings Twice or Double Indemnity (two terrific books by Cain, and adapted into two of the best film noir of that genre’s heyday). That’s Glendale, CA. That’s Cain’s territory. It’s a place where (’cause it’s often in the Depressed ’30s) words are as harsh and merciless as the economy. And heated: flaring up and fading out fast (like the protagonists themselves). It’s a place of oranges. Of chicken-and-waffle diners. Which often fail in the end.
A chicken-and-waffle fastfood joint opened up on the east end of Montreal. Didn’t last. People didn’t get it, perhaps. That’s Montreal, which knows a lot about noirish things (see here and here and here), excluding waffles. It does better with crêpes. And it’s real good at winter. Perhaps too good. Try -22 C (with the “wind chill”). That’s a temperature for short sentences. Brief narration. Frost in the air (at least this time of the year), from words that freeze on the way out. Here’s what winter-noir Montreal looks like to me (in this experimental photography for a film noir where not much happens—at least yet):