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Encyclopedia > Crime film

A crime film, in its most general sense, is a film that deals with crime, criminal justice and the darker side of human nature. Stylistically, it can fall under many different genres, most commonly drama, thriller, mystery and film noir. Films focused on the Mafia are a typical example of crime films. Film is a term that encompasses motion pictures as individual projects, as well as the field in general. ... Sherlock Holmes, pipe-puffing hero of crime fiction, confers with his colleague Dr. Watson; together these characters popularized the genre. ... This does not cite its references or sources. ... The thriller is a broad genre of literature, film, and television that includes numerous, often-overlapping sub-genres. ... Mystery fiction is a distinct subgenre of detective fiction that entails the occurrence of an unknown event which requires the protagonist to make known (or solve). ... This still from The Big Combo (1955) demonstrates the visual style of film noir at its most extreme. ... Organized crime is crime carried out systematically by formal criminal organizations. ...


Adaptation

Crime films have been generally adapted from other forms of literature rather than written directly for the screen. What's seen as the bleak nature of some of these source materials often led some in the film industry to attempt to "lighten" the story when it was translated into film. Goodfellas is an example.


Gangster films typically focus on the power struggles within gangs rather than on the policemen who try to stop them (although there are exceptions, such as The Untouchables). The most common storyline depicts an individual's rise to power within the organization, followed by his betrayal and murder by the gang or being killed by police. This story offers a moral message against crime, while also permitting the audience to vicariously enjoy the gangster's exploits. The Untouchables is a 1987 film, directed by Brian De Palma, based on the 1959 ABC television series, which, in turn, was based on Eliot Nesss autobiographical account of his efforts to bring Al Capone to justice. ...


Several famous examples of changing with the plot exist. One of them is Alfred Hitchcock's (1899 - 1980) film Suspicion (U.S., 1941), which is based on Francis Iles's novel Before the Fact (1932). Alterations of the plot are often due to external factors such as a particular actor's previous roles. While director Howard Hawks was filming The Big Sleep (1946), a classic example of film noir, Humphrey Bogart and his leading lady, Lauren Bacall, got married, which resulted in the studio exploiting -- and cashing in on -- their off-screen relationship by adding several scenes featuring the couple which are not based on Chandler's novel. Sir Alfred Joseph Hitchcock, KBE (August 13, 1899 – April 29, 1980) was a highly influential film director and producer who pioneered many techniques in the suspense and thriller genres. ... 1899 (MDCCCXCIX) was a common year starting on Sunday (see link for calendar). ... 1980 (MCMLXXX) was a leap year starting on Tuesday. ... Suspicion DVD cover Suspicion (1941) is a film noir directed by Alfred Hitchcock starring Cary Grant and Joan Fontaine as a married couple. ... For the movie, see 1941 (film). ... Anthony Berkeley Cox (July 5, 1893 - 1971) was a British crime fiction author, born in Watford, England. ... Before the Fact is a 1932 novel by Anthony Berkeley writing as Francis Iles. ... 1932 (MCMXXXII) was a leap year starting on Friday (the link will take you to a full 1932 calendar). ... Howard Hawks Howard Hawks (May 30, 1896 – December 26, 1977) was an American film director, producer and writer of the classic Hollywood era. ... The Big Sleep (1946) is the first film version of Raymond Chandlers 1939 novel of the same name. ... Year 1946 (MCMXLVI) was a common year starting on Tuesday. ... This still from The Big Combo (1955) demonstrates the visual style of film noir at its most extreme. ... Humphrey DeForest Bogart (December 25, 1899 – January 14, 1957) was an iconic American actor of legendary fame who retained his legacy after death. ... Lauren Bacall (born Betty Joan Perske on September 16, 1924) is an American film and stage actress. ... Raymond Chandler Raymond Thornton Chandler (July 23, 1888 – March 26, 1959) was an author of crime stories and novels. ...


When the best-selling novel The Godfather was adapted for film, much of the dark elements were kept intact, while lighter subplots (about an alcoholic singer and a Las Vegas doctor who performs a vaginal reconstruction) are left out. The Godfather is a 1972 crime film directed and co-written by Francis Ford Coppola based on the the novel of the same name authored by the screenplays co-writer Mario Puzo. ... A vaginoplasty is any surgical operation with the aim of correcting structural defects in the vagina or even to construct or reconstruct it. ...


There are also straightforward adaptations of crime and mystery novels. Sir Peter Ustinov is seen by many as the definitive Hercule Poirot in several films based on Agatha Christie's novels such as Death on the Nile, Evil Under the Sun, and Dead Man's Folly. Ustinov at Large (book cover) Sir Peter Alexander Ustinov, CBE (16 April 1921 – 28 March 2004), born Peter Alexander von Ustinov, was an Academy Award-winning British-born actor, writer, dramatist and raconteur of French, Italian, German, Russian and Ethiopian ancestry. ... David Suchet as Hercule Poirot in The Dream Hercule Poirot (pronounced ) is a fictional Belgian detective who featured in the novels of Agatha Christie. ... Agatha Mary Clarissa, Lady Mallowan, DBE (15 September 1890 – 12 January 1976), also known as Dame Agatha Christie, was an English crime fiction writer. ... Death on the Nile is a 1978 film based on an Agatha Christie mystery novel of the same title, directed by John Guillermin. ... Maggie Smith Evil Under the Sun (published in 1941) is a mystery novel by Agatha Christie, and a 1982 film based upon the novel. ... Dead Mans Folly is a 1956 detective novel by Agatha Christie. ...


Crime fiction in television

The ever-increasing popularity of TV brought about the emergence of lots and lots of TV series featuring all sorts of detectives, investigators, special agents, lawyers, and, of course, the police. In Britain, The Avengers (1960s) about the adventures of gentleman agent John Steed and his partner, Emma Peel, achieved cult status. U.S. TV stations produced series such as 77 Sunset Strip (1958-1963); The Streets of San Francisco (1972-1977), starring Karl Malden and a young Michael Douglas; Kojak (1973-1978), with Telly Savalas playing the lolly-addicted police lieutenant; Charlie's Angels (1976-1981); Murder, She Wrote (starting in 1984), about the adventures of Cabot Cove-based mystery writer Jessica Fletcher, played by Angela Lansbury. In Germany, Derrick became a household word. The Avengers is a British 1960s television series featuring secret agents in a fantasy 1960s Britain. ... The 1960s decade refers to the years from January 1, 1960 to December 31, 1969, inclusive. ... 1959 Soundtrack - (L to R): Roger Smith, Kookie Byrnes, Efrem Zimbalist, Jr. ... Year 1958 (MCMLVIII) was a common year starting on Wednesday of the Gregorian calendar. ... 1963 (MCMLXIII) was a common year starting on Tuesday (the link is to a full 1963 calendar). ... The Streets of San Francisco was a 1970s television police drama filmed on location in San Francisco, California, and produced by Quinn Martin Productions. ... 1972 (MCMLXXII) was a leap year starting on Saturday. ... For the album by Ash, see 1977 (album). ... Karl Malden portraying Gen. ... Douglas at the Cinedom Movie Theater in Cologne, Germany, January, 1997 For other people bearing this name, see Michael Douglas (disambiguation). ... This article or section is not written in the formal tone expected of an encyclopedia article. ... 1973 (MCMLXXIII) was a common year starting on Monday. ... 1978 (MCMLXXVIII) was a common year starting on Sunday. ... Telly Savalas (January 21, 1922 – January 22, 1994) was an Emmy Award-winning American film and television actor whose career spanned four decades. ... It has been suggested that List of Charlies Angels episodes be merged into this article or section. ... 1976 (MCMLXXVI) was a leap year starting on Thursday. ... 1981 (MCMLXXXI) was a common year starting on Thursday of the Gregorian calendar. ... Murder, She Wrote is a long-running television mystery series starring Angela Lansbury as mystery writer and amateur detective Jessica Fletcher. ... 1984 (MCMLXXXIV) was a leap year starting on Sunday of the Gregorian calendar. ... Angela Lansbury (right) with Bea Arthur at the 1989 Emmy Awards. ... Derrick is a German TV series produced by ZDF, ORF and SRG between 1974 and 1998 about Chief Inspector (Oberinspektor) Stephan Derrick (Horst Tappert) and his loyal assistant Inspector Harry Klein (Fritz Wepper), who solve murder cases in Munich and surroundings (with only three unsolved cases). ...


Crime plays and films

Generally, lots of films dealing with crime and its detection are based on plays rather than novels. Agatha Christie's stage play Witness For the Prosecution (1953; based on her own short story, published in 1933) was adapted for the big screen by director Billy Wilder in 1957. The film starred Marlene Dietrich and Charles Laughton and is a classic example of a "courtroom drama". In a courtroom drama, a charge is brought against one of the main characters, who says that they are innocent. Another major part is played by the lawyer (in Britain a barrister) representing the defendant in court and battling with the public prosecutor. He or she may enlist the services of a private investigator to find out what really happened and who the real perpetrator is. But in most cases it is not clear at all whether the accused is guilty of the crime or not -- this is how suspense is created. Very often, the private investigator storms into the courtroom at the very last minute in order to bring a new and crucial piece of information to the attention of the court. For obvious reasons, this type of literature lends itself to the literary genre of drama: There is a lot of dialogue (the opening and closing statements, the witnesses' testimonies, etc.) and little or no necessity for a shift in scenery: The auditorium of the theatre becomes an extension of the courtroom. When a courtroom drama is filmed, the traditional device employed by screenwriters and directors is the frequent use of flashbacks, in which the crime and everything that led up to it is narrated and reconstructed from different angles. A stage play is a dramatic work intended for performance before a live audience, or a performance of such a work. ... Witness for the Prosecution is a play by Agatha Christie, which has been twice made into a film. ... 1953 (MCMLIII) was a common year starting on Thursday. ... Year 1933 (MCMXXXIII) was a common year starting on Sunday. ... Billy Wilder (June 22, 1906 – March 27, 2002) was an Austrian-American journalist, screenwriter, film director, and producer whose career spanned more than 50 years and 60 films. ... Year 1957 (MCMLVII) was a common year starting on Tuesday of the Gregorian calendar. ... Marlene Dietrich in the 1930s Marlene Dietrich (December 27, 1901 – May 6, 1992) was a German-born actress, entertainer and singer. ... Charles Laughton (1 July 1899 – 15 December 1962) was an English stage and film actor. ... A legal drama is a work of dramatic fiction about law, crime, punishment or the legal profession. ... English barrister A barrister is a lawyer found in many common law jurisdictions who employ a split profession (as opposed to a fused profession) in relation to legal representation. ... A defendant or defender is any party who is required to answer the complaint of a plaintiff or pursuer in a civil lawsuit before a court, or any party who has been formally charged or accused of violating a criminal statute. ... In literature and film, a flashback (also called analepsis) takes the narrative back in time from the point the story has reached, to recount events that happened before and give the back-story. ...


In Witness for the Prosecution, Leonard Vole, a young American living in England, is accused of murdering a middle-aged lady he met in the street while shopping. His wife (played by Marlene Dietrich) hires the best lawyer available (Charles Laughton) because she is convinced, or rather she knows, that her husband is innocent. Another classic courtroom drama is U.S. playwright Reginald Rose's Twelve Angry Men (1955), which is set in the jury deliberation room of a New York Court of Law. Eleven members of the jury, aiming at a unanimous verdict of "guilty", try to get it over with as quickly as possible. And they would really succeed in achieving their common aim if it were not for the twelfth juror (played by Henry Fonda in the 1957 movie adaptation), who, on second thoughts, considers it his duty to convince his colleagues that the defendant may be innocent after all, and who, by doing so, triggers a lot of discussion, confusion, and anger. This article or section is missing needed references or citation of sources. ... 12 Angry Men is a 1957 film which tells the story of one lone juror who holds out against the other eleven members of the jury because he is not convinced that the defendant is guilty. ... 1955 (MCMLV) was a common year starting on Saturday of the Gregorian calendar. ... Midtown Manhattan, looking north from the Empire State Building, 2005 New York City (officially named the City of New York) is the most populous city in the state of New York and the entire United States. ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... In law, a verdict indicates the judgment of a case before a court of law. ... Henry Fonda in the classic 1957 film 12 Angry Men. ... Year 1957 (MCMLVII) was a common year starting on Tuesday of the Gregorian calendar. ...


  Results from FactBites:
 
Crime film - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (778 words)
Films focused on the Mafia are a typical example of crime films.
The film starred Marlene Dietrich and Charles Laughton and is a classic example of a "courtroom drama".
When a courtroom drama is filmed, the traditional device employed by screenwriters and directors is the frequent use of flashbacks, in which the crime and everything that led up to it is narrated and reconstructed from different angles.
Crime fiction - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (2536 words)
Crime fiction is the genre of fiction that deals with crimes, their detection, criminals, and their motives.
When film director Michael Curtiz adapted Mildred Pierce for the big screen in 1945, he lived up to the cinemagoers' and the producers' expectations by adding a murder which is absent from the novel.
Some of the crime novels generally regarded as the finest, including those which are regularly chosen by experts as belonging to the best 100 crime novels ever written (see bibliography), have been out of print ever since their first publication, which often dates back to the 1920s or 30s.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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