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Usamljeni detektiv u svijetu pohlepe i lazi/Lonely detective in a world of greed and lies: Jedan pogled na  dugovječnu tradiciju tvrdo kuhanog trilera u literaturi i na filmu/One look at the long-lived tradition of hard-boiled thriller in literature and film.
University West, Department of Economics and IT, Division of Media and Design.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-7111-9661
2016 (Croatian)In: Hrvatski filmski ljetopis/Croatian Film Chronicle, ISSN ISSN 1330-7665, Vol. 22, no 85, 163-196 p.Article in journal (Other academic) Published
Abstract [en]

This essay is centred on the phenomenon of the specific socially critical so-called hard-boiled thriller that distinguished itself as a separate film genre in the USA already during 1920s. The reason for this should be looked for in the everyday life that provide versatile stimuli and inspiration, but first of all in hard-boiled literature that rose to stardom in this period. Another typical American genre, western, deals with the, not only geographically, but also strictly time-limited vision of American history in the years of expansion and settlement (the beginning of western coincides with the emergence of the Colt revolver and its end with the time when cars replaces horses) and in principle represents a glorification of American history and system. However, crime film has a tendency to adjust its framework to the changing historical circumstances, different and new media and is integrated in other cultures, most frequently as an eminent critique of capitalist society. Dashiell Hammett, author and screenwriter, played the most prominent role in the process of genre defining. He basically created the American-type thriller and made it an independent literary genre. Although he authored only a small number of literary works and although he has been more or less completely unrecognized by the academic and literary establishment, with is prose Hammett stimulated the development of the hard-boiled thriller and the aesthetic model on which it was based which transferred from literature to feature film and from there to other media as well, such as comic book and videogames. The model was successfully adapted to non-American environments as well in the form of original hybrids such as Scandinavian thriller for example. What Hammett inserted into crime literature, and indirectly into film and other media as well, is the perception of reality embodied through the modelling of protagonists and a complete relativisation of the line between good and evil. As a man who was all but apolitical, he contemplated society from the inside, from its darker and unembellished, but artwise much more stimulating side, formulating the hard-boiled thriller as a specific socially critical discourse.  On the one hand, this essay is constructed as an analytical overview of the development of genre, its characteristic and significance, and on the other hand as an attempt to provide arguments for the thesis on the stableness of the model, and its vitality, durability as well as pronounced presence in other media and non-American cultures. Regardless of time periods, different characteristics related to theme and style, and subgenres (crime film, gangster film, film noir, police drama, etc.), hard-boiled thriller is, just like Aristotle’s three-act structure, demonstrated as a magic formula on which a highly critical vision of the dominant modern civilisation system related to state, values and culture was based for almost an entire century.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Zagreb, 2016. Vol. 22, no 85, 163-196 p.
Keyword [en]
: hard-boiled thriller, crime film, gangster film, detective, film noir, fatal lady, mafia, America, capitalism.
National Category
Studies on Film
Research subject
HUMANITIES, Cinematography
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hv:diva-9425ISI: 000384040000020OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hv-9425DiVA: diva2:940521
Available from: 2016-06-21 Created: 2016-06-21 Last updated: 2016-12-16Bibliographically approved

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Ajanović, Midhat
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