Britain's The Guardian has a list of all-time great noir films just published: http://www.theguardian.com/film/filmblog/2013/nov/29/top-10-film-noir
And here's my reaction. (What's yours?)
10. They Live by Night (Haven't seen it, have heard good things.)
9. Kiss Me Deadly (Haven't seen it, but Mickey Spillane? Really?)
8. Blood Simple. (Yep, enjoyed this one a lot. Haven't seen it in a dozen years now.)
7. Lift to the Scaffold (Never even heard of it. But then I'm not European.)
6. The Third Man (Unequivocally in my own top ten too.)
5. Out of the Past (Ditto.)
4. Double Indemnity (Agreed. Raymond Chandler helped Billy Wilder with the script.)
3. Touch of Evil. (A good film, but not in my personal top ten.)
2. Chinatown (Yeah, agreed, it belongs here.)
1. The Big Sleep (Definitely one of the best ever.)
But what about The Maltese Falcon (Bogart/Huston version of course)? Or The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (which I think qualifies as Noir)? Or Detour (which may have been the first film noir too)? Or The Asphalt Jungle? (Yes, I'm a John Huston fan.) Or Sunset Boulevard? (And I'm big on Billy Wilder too.) Another little known noir I've always loved: In a Lonely Place. (Big Bogart fan too, as my avatar suggests.)
What other films deserve consideration?
Surely film noirs would be the likes of Casablanca, The Bid Sleep, and Maltese Falcon?
That's a good guess, that Night of the Hunter was too dark for its time.
My late father-in-law, Robert Wade, writing as Whit Masterson, penned the book Touch of Evil was based on. He never liked the film much.
As a side note, I dedicated my latest crime novel, Empty Places, to Bob, who gave me a lot of advice on it.
Love the background story, Mart. Thanks.