Trump’s election has sharpened one of the great American divides – between the small town and the big city. Adam Smith explores this divide by going back to its modern origins in postwar America – as anatomised in classic film noir. Some noir movies show the innocent small town invaded by the big bad city. But others raise a more disturbing, subversive question. What if the corruption lurks in the ‘heart’ of ‘real America’ – in the small town itself? With their evocations of old-time community spirit – but also of hostility to outsiders, even violent bigotry – these films shed a revealing spotlight on values being stirred again today.
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