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Maybe that’s what makes a list like this so problematic—Raging Bull has strong noir elements, as do Hardcore, Klute, To Live and Die in L. The first Sin City is a terrific pastiche, as is Carl Reiner’s more sincere homage, Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid.

The world was a cruel and perilous place, be it the crowded streets or open road, the inner city or a rural outpost. In fact, perhaps the only clear-cut element of noir was the razor-sharp, imminently quotable dialogue, and its venomous sense of humor.And so noir cast its misfits—gun-toting, hard-drinking, lipstick and stiletto-wearing human chimneys of neuroses—into a seductive, violent postwar labyrinth, in which the terror was internal and external.(Had Will Hays, Joseph Breen, and their censoring kind not been around, noir would’ve been an even more nihilistic realm.) In any case, the M. was linear: Talk it out, trace the clues, tell us about it with a voiceover. Like the ink on those yellow hard-boiled pages, film noir was a smeared affair from the start—hard to define and harder to reconcile.Its characters were dirty, displaced, disillusioned, distrustful, just plain dumb.You just know that there's something about these individuals that's mesmerizing, both in their chosen careers and in their interests outside of their work.

From pop stars flexing their talents on the silver screen, to athletes stepping into the professional spotlight for the first time, all these folks are just killing it right now.

Doug Sibor contributes to Complex Sports and Pop Culture, resides in Boston MA, and can often be found shuttling between Fenway Park, Gillette Stadium and TD Garden.

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Extrapolated to the off-screen world, the logic was, solve the crime, solve the problem. It’s not overreaching to read all of this from the 300 or so titles generally considered the classic noir canon.

Put the femme fatale in her place, show the girl—the world—who’s boss. Remember: The folks at the Hollywood Production Code couldn’t handle it either, mandating changes in service of propriety, i.e., social conformity.

Noir was nothing if not a reaction, a reflection of a nation reeling from despicable evil overseas and revolutionary upheaval on the domestic front. The men—including the screenwriters—had gone off to fight, and as the women stepped up, into the public sector and newfound independence, studio chiefs turned to the fast-and-cheap pulp mysteries of Raymond Chandler, Dashiell Hammett, and James M. International directors like Fritz Lang, Michael Curtiz, and Robert Siodmak, who’d honed the dramatic visuals of German Expressionism, fled their war-torn homes for the plentiful opportunities in Tinseltown. Some define noir as or by a tone, and it’s very much a mood, a sensibility.