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L.A. noir: movies and books to check out before your trip

The 1997 film "L.A. Confidential," starring Russell Crowe

The 1997 film "L.A. Confidential," starring Russell Crowe as detective Bud White and Guy Pearce as detective Ed Exley. Credit: AP

Before your L.A. noir-inspired trip, get in the mood with these classic films and novels.

Five noir movies

1. "Double Indemnity" (1944). Fred MacMurray and Barbara Stanwyck's characters conspire to bump off her inconvenient husband. From the James M. Cain novel.

2. "The Big Sleep" (1946). Humphrey Bogart's Philip Marlowe deals with two flashy dames, one of whom is played by Lauren Bacall, and a blackmail plot. From the Raymond Chandler novel.

3. "Sunset Boulevard" (1950). William Holden as a screenwriter gone to seed meets a horrible fate after hooking up with movie dowager Norma Desmond (Gloria Swanson).

4. "Chinatown" (1974). Jack Nicholson plays a private eye who gets embroiled in politics, water rights and family secrets alongside characters played by Faye Dunaway and John Huston.

5. "L.A. Confidential" (1997). A paean to Hollywood's noir age, the plot revolves around drugs, homicide and prostitution -- the usual suspects. From the James Ellroy novel.

Five noir novels

1. "The Long Goodbye," by Raymond Chandler

2. "The Day of the Locust," by Nathanael West

3. "The Black Dahlia," by James Ellroy

4. "The Postman Always Rings Twice," by James M. Cain

5. "Hollywood," by Charles Bukowski

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