Birth of Noir Tour Description

Southern California 1931: Amongst the burgeoning urban sprawl built atop bulldozed orange groves and the bitter realization that you can’t eat the sunshine, recent emigre James M. Cain found a kernel of truth and his voice, which would eventually distill through his Los Angeles novels, The Postman Always Rings Twice, Mildred Pierce and Double Indemnity and subsequent film adaptations into the unique American genre: Film Noir.

How did this East Coast sophisticate go from managing editor of The New Yorker to populist novelist accused of writing dirty books? The tour explores Cain’s Los Angeles from Hollywood to Glendale and along old Route 66, and includes illuminating visits to Forest Lawn Memorial Park (site of the funeral of Mildred Pierce’s “other” daughter, Ray), the Glendale Train Station where the Double Indemnity murder plot played out, and the punch line to a Billy Wilder joke so subtle, it took six decades for anyone to get. The tour includes cameo appearances by the artisans who transformed Cain’s fictions into Film Noir classics, including Billy Wilder, Raymond Chandler, Joan Crawford and Lana Turner.