***Salome Wilde of BNoirDetour is consistently amongst the very most interesting film noir commentators, and her latest essay is no exception. I disagree with her about the merits of The Big Sleep, but that’s a tiny quibble . . . and anyway I’m (I know) in the minority on this issue.
My thanks to her for letting me do this reblog.
Students of Hollywood know the origin of the Academy Awards was in part to allow a small group of Eastern European Jewish immigrants to give each other accolades at a gala affair within (or at the edges of) a culture that had excluded them from many facets of WASP privilege. Instead, these driven men had worked in the tawdry world of business, going from peddlers to salesmen to Nickelodeon owners and then, when it became clear that Edison owned the east coast, out west to found Hollywood, an alternate American dreamland where Jews could play at every country club, own posh estates in Beverly Hills, and make movies, mass entertainment that was deemed a trite, lesser art. It wouldn’t be until the Miracle Decision of 1952 that Hollywood saw both the end of the iron grip of the self-imposed but rigidly Catholic (e.g. anti-sex and antisemitic) Motion Picture Code and the…
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