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So where did noir go after 1959? There was a definite decline in Crime Genre films (of which Film Noir was, in great part a sub-genre though it did infiltrate other Genres also) if you check the year by year Genre lists, so that explains at lot, along with Hollywood closing down "B" productions. A good portion of it migrated over to TV, but there it was still sanitized by the Television Code and its "Seal of Good Practice" which functions much like the Hayes Code. Interestingly though, there were some independent productions that combined Film Noir with looser restraints in the industry that brought along the sexploitation films.
"FILM NOIR HAD AN INEVITABLE TRAJECTORY THE ECCENTRIC & OFTEN GUTSY STYLE OF FILM NOIR HAD NO WHERE ELSE TO GO BUT TO REACH FOR EVEN MORE OFF-BEAT, DEVIANT ENDLESSLY RISKY & TABOO ORIENTED SET OF NARRATIVES FOUND IN THE SUBVERSIVE AND EXPLOITATIVE CULT FILMS OF THE MID TO LATE 50s through the 60s and into the early 70s!" The Last Drive In
Aroused (1966) is one of those directions, and it's a real gem. Directed by Anton Holden written by Holden and Ray Jenkins and Robert Shull and stars nobodies, Janine Lenon, Steve Hollister, Joanna Mills, Fleurette Carter, Ted Gelanza, and Tony Palladino. Janine Lenon is great as hardboiled Hooker/Femme Fatale, Ginny Neff. It takes two homicide detectives to wrestle a switchblade out of her hand while she does her best to stomp their feet with her stilettos, before she realizes they are cops and not killers. She swears to a cop that she will castrate whoever killed her lover Pat. Watch for her touching monologue about her lesbian relationship with Pat , it's very well done and a nice contrast to her hard as nails hooker persona.
The story is simple, a peeping tom psycho with a mother-who-was-a- prostitute fetish follows hookers around, kills them and then violates them. Detective Johnny of NYPD is assigned to the low publicity case (who cares about hookers) The latest dead prostitutes bi/hooker girlfriend teams up with well meaning but screw-up Detective Johnny to track down the psycho.
This is the second Neo Noir in the vein of "Noir meets sexploitation flick" that I've seen (there are probably more out there to be discovered and resurrected) the first being Satan In High Heels (1962), but the sex isn't anything you don't see nowadays and the film is artistically done with beautiful chiaroscuro Noir stylistics, a shout out to Gideon Zumbach director of photography (as Anibal Paz, I wonder if Argentinian cinematographer Aníbal González Paz was visiting NYC in 1965-66). This film is exponentially better, it's highly stylized, with a wonderfully Noir aesthetic. It's on the cheap but has good direction and a descent plot both furnished by Director Anton Holden.
The way the street shots are shot suggests that possibly it was shot guerrilla style with no permits but they look great and bring back memories of that time period. I noticed a street location from The Incident (1967) that I just recently watched which used the Bronx Biograph Studios so some of it may be shot also in that borough. I'll give it a 8/10 for accomplishing so much with so little has a jazzy score to boot. It could be on a triple bill with Blast Of Silence and The Incident ;-)
Available on DVD from Something Weird Video.
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