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This has been a big year for Golden Age genres. Westerns? “The Harder They Fall” is streaming on Netflix. “The Power of the Dog” opens at the Coolidge Nov. 19 and starts streaming on Netflix Dec. 1.

Musicals? In June, “In the Heights” got great reviews. Last month, “Diana” didn’t. “Tick, Tick . . . Boom!” opens in theaters Nov. 12 and starts streaming on Netflix Nov. 19. Then comes the big one: Steven Spielberg’s remake of “West Side Story” opens Dec. 22. As for film noir . . .

Clifton Webb, Gene Tierney, Dorothy Adams, and Dana Andrews in "Laura."
Clifton Webb, Gene Tierney, Dorothy Adams, and Dana Andrews in "Laura."FilmPublicityArchive/United Archives via Getty Images

Yes, Guillermo del Toro’s remake of “Nightmare Alley” opens Dec. 3 and it has a jaw-dropping cast. But it’s a bit beside the point to cite any specific title, since noir is the one classic Hollywood genre that’s never needed reviving. It feels as fresh and contemporary as it did almost 75 years ago when Robert Mitchum was telling Jane Greer, “Baby, I don’t care” in “Out of the Past” (1947).

Gloria Grahame and Humphrey Bogart in "In a Lonely Place."
Gloria Grahame and Humphrey Bogart in "In a Lonely Place."Columbia TriStar/Getty Images

Adjective no less than noun, noir is darkness visible on a screen: not a formula or set of rules, but a style, a tone, an attitude, a sensibility, a certain look, or looks. At a time when American movies were morally four square, noir was the closest Hollywood let itself get to behavioral slipperiness. The genre added together German Expressionist camera angles, Universal horror movie lighting schemes, B-movie nerve, and a serious helping of postwar anxiety to arrive at something pretty irresistible.


This month it’s being celebrated in not one but two series — at the Coolidge and at the Brattle — and they have similar names. Noirvember runs at the Coolidge, Nov. 2-30; and Noirvember: Give Thanks for Noir at the Brattle, Nov. 19-25.

Ralph Meeker in "Kiss Me Deadly."
Ralph Meeker in "Kiss Me Deadly."FilmPublicityArchive/United Archives via Getty Images

The Coolidge series began with “Touch of Evil” (1958), Orson Welles’s tour de force of on-the-border bad business. All right, every film Welles made was a tour de force, but “Touch of Evil” is even more so, opening with that legendary tracking shot. The rest of the series mixes more recent titles with classics of the genre.


The former all have midnight screenings (speaking of darkness): Abel Ferrara’s “King of New York” (1990), Nov. 6; Tony Scott’s “The Last Boy Scout” (1991), Nov. 13; Alex Proyas’s “Dark City” (1998), Nov. 20; Kathryn Bigelow’s “Blue Steel” (1990), Nov. 20. Strict constructionists might question the noir credentials of several of these — though “Dark City” definitely takes its noirishness neat (and make that a double) — but part of the beauty of the genre is how elastic it is.

Cecil Kellaway, John Garfield, and Lana Turner in "The Postman Always Rings Twice."
Cecil Kellaway, John Garfield, and Lana Turner in "The Postman Always Rings Twice."MGM

No one would question the bona fides of the remaining titles: Nicholas Ray’s “In a Lonely Place” (1950), with Humphrey Bogart in his most unsettling role, Nov. 9; Otto Preminger’s “Laura” (1944), which did so much to help define the genre, Nov. 16; Robert Aldrich’s “Kiss Me Deadly” (1955), with the bang-up ending to end all, well, all everything, actually, Nov. 23; Robert Siodmak’s “The Killers” (1946), Nov. 30. With all due respect to Mitchum, the guy Burt Lancaster plays really doesn’t care.

Ingrid Bergman, Cary Grant, and Claude Rains in "Notorious."
Ingrid Bergman, Cary Grant, and Claude Rains in "Notorious."John Springer Collection/Corbis via Getty Images

The Brattle series restricts itself to films released in 1946, but it isn’t much of a restriction when the list includes Hitchcock’s “Notorious” (Nov. 20), Howard Hawks’s “The Big Sleep” (Nov. 25), Welles’s “The Stranger” (Nov. 21), Tay Garnett’s “The Postman Always Rings Twice” (Nov. 24), and Charles Vidor’s “Gilda” (Nov. 19).


The first two are slam-dunk classics. (You haven’t seen them? Go. Now.) “The Stranger” is a lesser Wellesian tour de force, but, yes, it is a tour de force. As a mixing of California sunshine and noir shadows “Postman” would remain unsurpassed until “Chinatown” (1974). As for “Gilda,” where to begin: Rita Hayworth’s “Am I decent?” entrance? Her “Put the Blame on Mame” number? George Macready at his most archly George Macready-ish?

Glenn Ford and Rita Hayworth in "Gilda."
Glenn Ford and Rita Hayworth in "Gilda."Columbia Pictures/Getty Images

George Marshall’s “The Blue Dahlia,” the best-known of the other titles, has a script by Raymond Chandler. Peter Lorre, bless him, appears twice: in Roy William Neill’s “Black Angel,” Nov. 22, and Don Siegel’s feature debut, “The Verdict,” Nov. 23. The latter reunites Lorre with Sydney Greenstreet. They are the Laurel and Hardy of lugubriousness — which is meant as high praise for all parties concerned.

Lauren Bacall and Humphrey Bogart in "The Big Sleep."
Lauren Bacall and Humphrey Bogart in "The Big Sleep."Warner Bros./Getty Images

John Brahm’s “The Locket,” Nov. 22, has a third-billed Mitchum playing an artist (really) and a flashback within a flashback within a flashback (double really). Sidney Gilliat’s “Green for Danger” is more Agatha Christie than film noir, but who can resist a youngish Trevor Howard? Finally, as a noir title, it’s hard to top Joseph H. Lewis’s “So Dark the Night.” Darkness visible meets darkness nocturnal.

Mark Feeney can be reached at mark.feeney@globe.com.