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Encyclopedia > Film noir
Two silhouetted figures in The Big Combo (1955). The film's cinematographer was John Alton, the creator of many of film noir's iconic images.
Two silhouetted figures in The Big Combo (1955). The film's cinematographer was John Alton, the creator of many of film noir's iconic images.

Film noir is a cinematic term used primarily to describe stylish Hollywood crime dramas, particularly those that emphasize moral ambiguity and sexual motivation. Hollywood's classic film noir period is generally regarded as stretching from the early 1940s to the late 1950s. Film noir of this era is associated with a low-key black-and-white visual style that has roots in German Expressionist cinematography, while many of the prototypical stories and much of the attitude of classic noir derive from the hardboiled school of crime fiction that emerged in the United States during the Depression. The Big Combo (1955) The Big Combo (1955)is director Joseph H. Lewis black-and-white film noir. ... ‹ The template below is being considered for deletion. ... Johann Altmann (October 5, 1901 – June 2, 1996), photographed some of the most famous films noir of the classic period. ... This article is about motion pictures. ... American cinema has had a profound effect on cinema across the world since the early 20th century. ... A crime film, in its most general sense, is a film that deals with crime, criminal justice and the darker side of human nature. ... A Black and White low-key portrait. ... Black-and-white or black and white) can refer to a general term used in photography, film, and other media (see black-and-white). ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... ‹ The template below is being considered for deletion. ... Hardboiled crime fiction is a uniquely American style pioneered by Dashiell Hammett, refined by Raymond Chandler, and endlessly imitated since by writers such as Mickey Spillane. ... It has been suggested that this article or section be merged with mystery_fiction. ... For other uses, see The Great Depression (disambiguation). ...


The term film noir (French for "black film"), first applied to Hollywood movies by French critic Nino Frank in 1946, was unknown to most American film industry professionals of the era. Cinema historians and critics defined the canon of film noir in retrospect; many of those involved in the making of the classic noirs later professed to be unaware of having created a distinctive type of film. Nino Frank (born 1904) is a French film critic and writer who was most active in the 1930s and 1940s. ...

Contents

Problems of definition

The New York Times described how the "moods and tensions" in the British private-eye parody Pulp came "out of the collective depths of the film noir"—the phrase's first appearance in the paper. It was February 1973.
The New York Times described how the "moods and tensions" in the British private-eye parody Pulp came "out of the collective depths of the film noir"—the phrase's first appearance in the paper. It was February 1973.[1]

"We'd be oversimplifying things in calling film noir oneiric, strange, erotic, ambivalent, and cruel...."[2] This is the first of many attempts to define film noir made by the French critics Raymond Borde and Etienne Chaumeton in their 1955 book Panorama du film noir américain 1941–1953 (A Panorama of American Film Noir), the original and seminal extended treatment of the subject. They take pains to point out that not every film noir embodies all five attributes in equal measure—this one is more dreamlike, while this other is particularly brutal. The authors' caveats and repeated efforts at alternative definition have proved telling about noir's reliability as a label: in the five decades since, no definition has achieved anything close to general acceptance. The authors of most substantial considerations of film noir still find it necessary to add on to what are now innumerable attempts at definition. As Borde and Chaumeton suggest, however, the field of noir is very diverse and any generalization about it risks veering into oversimplification. Image File history File linksMetadata Download high-resolution version (323x833, 91 KB) low-res image of U.S. poster for UK film noir–comedy Pulp (1972), starring Michael Caine This image is of a film poster, and the copyright for it is most likely owned by either the publisher of... Image File history File linksMetadata Download high-resolution version (323x833, 91 KB) low-res image of U.S. poster for UK film noir–comedy Pulp (1972), starring Michael Caine This image is of a film poster, and the copyright for it is most likely owned by either the publisher of... The New York Times is an internationally known daily newspaper published in New York City and distributed in the United States and many other nations worldwide. ... DVD-release cover. ... In a film theory context, the term oneiric (which means pertaining to dream) is used to refer the depiction of dream-like states in films, or to the use of the metaphor of a dream or the dream-state to analyze a film. ...


Film noirs embrace a variety of genres, from the gangster film to the police procedural to the so-called social problem picture, and evidence a variety of visual approaches, from meat-and-potatoes Hollywood mainstream to outré. While many critics refer to film noir as a genre itself, others argue that it can be no such thing. Though noir is often associated with an urban setting, for example, many classic noirs take place mainly in small towns, suburbia, rural areas, or on the open road, so setting can not be its genre determinant, as with the Western. Similarly, while the private eye and the femme fatale are character types conventionally identified with noir, the majority of film noirs feature neither, so there is no character basis for genre designation as with the gangster film. Nor does it rely on anything as evident as the monstrous or supernatural elements of the horror film, the speculative leaps of the science fiction film, or the song-and-dance routines of the musical. For the gay mens lifestyle magazine, see Genre (magazine). ... The police procedural is a sub-genre of the mystery story which attempts to accurately depict the activities of a police force as they investigate crimes. ... A social problem film is a narrative film that integrates a larger social conflict into the individual conflict between its characters. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... A private investigator, private detective, PI, or private eye, is a person who undertakes investigations, usually for a private citizen or some other entity not involved with a government or police organization. ... Convicted spy Mata Hari made her name synonymous with femme fatale during WWI. A femme fatale (plural: femmes fatales) is an alluring and seductive woman whose charms ensnare her lovers in bonds of irresistible desire, often leading them into compromising, dangerous, and deadly situations. ... “Horror Movie” redirects here. ... Science fiction film is a film genre that uses speculative, science-based depictions of imaginary phenomena such as extra-terrestrial lifeforms, alien worlds, and time travel, often along with technological elements such as futuristic spacecraft, robots, or other technologies. ... The musical film is a film genre in which several songs sung by the characters are interwoven into the narrative. ...


A more analogous case is that of the screwball comedy, widely accepted by film historians as constituting a "genre"—the screwball is defined not by a fundamental attribute, but by a general disposition and a group of elements, some (but rarely and perhaps never all) of which are found in each of the genre's films.[3] However, because of the diversity of noir (much greater than that of the screwball comedy), certain scholars in the field, such as film historian Thomas Schatz, treat it as not a genre but a "style." Alain Silver, the most widely published American critic specializing in film noir studies, refers to it as a "cycle" and a "phenomenon," even as he argues that it has—like certain genres—a consistent set of visual and thematic codes. Other critics treat film noir as a "mood," a "movement," or a "series," or simply address a chosen set of movies from the "period." There is no consensus on the matter. The screwball comedy is a subgenre of the comedy film genre. ... Alain Silver is a US film producer, music producer, film reviewer, film historian, and writer on film topics, especially film noir and horror films. ...


The prehistory of noir

Film noir has sources not only in cinema but other artistic media as well. The low-key lighting schemes commonly linked with the classic mode are in the tradition of chiaroscuro and tenebrism, techniques using high contrasts of light and dark developed by 15th- and 16th-century painters associated with Mannerism and the Baroque. Film noir's aesthetics are deeply influenced by German Expressionism, a cinematic movement of the 1910s and 1920s closely related to contemporaneous developments in theater, photography, painting, sculpture, and architecture. The opportunities offered by the booming Hollywood film industry and, later, the threat of growing Nazi power led to the emigration of many important film artists working in Germany who had either been directly involved in the Expressionist movement or studied with its practitioners. Directors such as Fritz Lang, Robert Siodmak, and Michael Curtiz brought dramatic lighting techniques and a psychologically expressive approach to mise-en-scène with them to Hollywood, where they would make some of the most famous of classic noirs. Lang's 1931 masterwork, the German M, is among the first major crime films of the sound era to join a characteristically noirish visual style with a noir-type plot, one in which the protagonist is a criminal (as are his most successful pursuers). M was also the occasion for the first star performance by Peter Lorre, who would go on to act in several formative American noirs of the classic era. A Black and White low-key portrait. ... For other use of the term, see Chiaroscuro (disambiguation). ... From the Italian tenebroso (murky), tenebrism is a style of painting using violent contrasts of light and dark, as in the work of Caravaggio. ... In Parmigianinos Madonna with the Long Neck (1534-40), Mannerism makes itself known by elongated proportions, affected poses, and unclear perspective. ... For other uses, see Baroque (disambiguation). ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... Nazism in history Nazi ideology Nazism and race Outside Germany Related subjects Lists Politics Portal         Nazism or National Socialism (German: Nationalsozialismus), refers primarily to the ideology and practices of the Nazi Party (National Socialist German Workers Party, German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei or NSDAP) under Adolf Hitler. ... The film director, on the right, gives last minute direction to the cast and crew, whilst filming a costume drama on location in London. ... Friedrich Christian Anton Fritz Lang (December 5, 1890 – August 2, 1976) was an Austrian-German-American film director, screenwriter and occasional film producer, one of the best known émigrés from Germanys school of Expressionism. ... Robert Siodmak (August 8, 1900 - March 10, 1973) was a film director born in Memphis, Tennessee (sometimes his birthplace is stated as Dresden, Germany). ... Michael Curtiz (December 24, 1886 - April 10, 1962) was an Academy Award-winning Hungarian-American film director. ... Mise en scène [mizɑ̃sÉ›n] has been called film criticisms grand undefined term, but that is not because of a lack of definitions. ... M (original German title: M - Eine Stadt sucht einen Mörder, M - a city in search of a murderer) is a 1931 German film noir directed by Fritz Lang and written by Thea von Harbou. ... 1902 poster advertising Gaumonts sound films, depicting an optimistically vast auditorium A sound film is a motion picture with synchronized sound, or sound technologically coupled to image, as opposed to a silent film. ... A protagonist is the main figure of a piece of literature or drama and has the main part or role. ... Peter Lorre (June 26, 1904 – March 23, 1964), born László Löwenstein, was an Hungarian[1] - Austrian - American actor frequently typecast as a sinister foreigner. ...

The "original" femme fatale, Marlene Dietrich, complete with noir-regulation cigarette, in a publicity shot for Josef von Sternberg's mordant melodrama Der blaue Engel (The Blue Angel; 1930).
The "original" femme fatale, Marlene Dietrich, complete with noir-regulation cigarette, in a publicity shot for Josef von Sternberg's mordant melodrama Der blaue Engel (The Blue Angel; 1930).

By 1931, Curtiz had already been in Hollywood for half a decade, making as many as six films a year. Movies of his such as 20,000 Years in Sing Sing (1932) and Private Detective 62 (1933) are among the early Hollywood sound films arguably classifiable as noir. Giving Expressionist-affiliated moviemakers particularly free stylistic rein were Universal horror pictures such as Dracula (1931), The Mummy (1932)—the former photographed and the latter directed by the Berlin-trained Karl Freund—and The Black Cat (1934), directed by Austrian émigré Edgar G. Ulmer. The Universal horror that comes closest to noir, both in story and sensibility, however, is The Invisible Man (1933), directed by Englishman James Whale and shot by American Carl Laemmle Jr. Image File history File links MarleneSmokes2. ... Image File history File links MarleneSmokes2. ... Convicted spy Mata Hari made her name synonymous with femme fatale during WWI. A femme fatale (plural: femmes fatales) is an alluring and seductive woman whose charms ensnare her lovers in bonds of irresistible desire, often leading them into compromising, dangerous, and deadly situations. ... Marlene Dietrich IPA: ; (December 27, 1901 – May 6, 1992) was a German-born American actress, singer and entertainer. ... Josef von Sternberg (29 May 1894 – 22 December 1969) was an Austrian-American film director. ... Der Blaue Engel (English: The Blue Angel) is a film directed by Josef von Sternberg in 1930, and is one of the most famous films made by Marlene Dietrich. ... This article is about the American media conglomerate. ... Dracula is a 1931 horror film produced by Universal Pictures Co. ... Boris Karloff as Ardath Bey AKA Prince Imhotep in The Mummy. ... ‹ The template below is being considered for deletion. ... Karl W. Freund (January 16, 1890-May 3, 1969) was a German cinematographer who worked on over 100 films, including Metropolis (1927), Dracula (1931), and Key Largo (1948). ... The Black Cat is a 1934 horror film that became Universal Pictures biggest box office hit of the year. ... Edgar G. Ulmer - Wikipedia /**/ @import /w/skins-1. ... The Invisible Man is a film produced by Universal Pictures in 1933 and directed by James Whale. ... James Whale (July 22, 1889 – May 29, 1957) was a ground-breaking British Hollywood film director, best known for his work in the horror movie genre, making such pictures as Frankenstein, Bride of Frankenstein, and The Invisible Man. ... Carl Laemmle Jr. ...


The Vienna-born but largely American-raised Josef von Sternberg was directing in Hollywood at the same time. Films of his such as Shanghai Express (1932) and The Devil Is a Woman (1935), with their hothouse eroticism and baroque visual style, specifically anticipate central elements of classic noir. The commercial and critical success of Sternberg's silent Underworld in 1927 was largely responsible for spurring a trend of Hollywood gangster films. Popular movies in the genre such as Little Caesar (1931), The Public Enemy (1931), and Scarface (1932) demonstrated that there was an audience for crime dramas with morally reprehensible protagonists. Josef von Sternberg (29 May 1894 – 22 December 1969) was an Austrian-American film director. ... VHS cover of Shanghai Express Shanghai Express is a 1932 movie of the Pre-Code era starring Marlene Dietrich, Clive Brook, Anna May Wong and Warner Oland. ... The Devil is a Woman is a 1935 film by Josef von Sternberg, adapted from the 1898 novel La Femme et le pantin by Pierre Louÿs. ... Underworld is a 1927 silent film directed by Josef von Sternberg. ... Little Caesar is a 1931 crime film made during the Pre-Code era which tells the story of a man who works his way up the ranks of the mob until he reaches its upper heights. ... This article is about the 1931 film. ... Scarface (also known as Scarface, the Shame of the Nation and The Shame of a Nation) is a 1932 gangster film of the Pre-Code era which tells the story of gang warfare and police intervention when rival gangs fight over control of a city. ...


An important, and possibly influential, cinematic antecedent to classic noir was 1930s French poetic realism, with its romantic, fatalistic attitude and celebration of doomed heroes; an acknowledged influence on certain trends in noir was 1940s Italian neorealism, with its emphasis on quasi-documentary authenticity. (The Warner Bros. drama I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang [1932] presciently combines these sensibilities.) Director Jules Dassin of The Naked City (1948) pointed to the neorealists as inspiring his use of on-location photography with nonprofessional extras; three years earlier, The House on 92nd Street, directed by Henry Hathaway, demonstrated the parallel influence of the cinematic newsreel. A few movies now considered noir strove to depict comparatively ordinary protagonists with unspectacular lives in a manner occasionally evocative of neorealism—the most famous example is The Lost Weekend (1945), directed by Billy Wilder, yet another Vienna-born, Berlin-trained American auteur. (In turn, one of the primary influences on neorealism was the 1930 German film Menschen am Sonntag, codirected and cowritten by Siodmak, cowritten by Wilder, and codirected and produced by Ulmer.) Among those movies not themselves considered film noirs, perhaps none had a greater effect on the development of the genre than America's own Citizen Kane (1941), the landmark motion picture directed by Orson Welles. Its Sternbergian visual intricacy and complex, voiceover-driven narrative structure are echoed in dozens of classic film noirs. Poetic realism was a film movement in France leading up to World War II. More a tendency than a movement, Poetic Realism is not strongly unified like Soviet Montage or French Impressionism. ... It has been suggested that Theological fatalism be merged into this article or section. ... Italian neorealism is a film movement characterized by stories set amongst the poor and working class, filmed in long takes on location, frequently using nonprofessional actors for secondary and sometimes primary roles. ... “WB” redirects here. ... Paul Muni plays a prisoner working on the chain gang I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang is a 1932 movie in which Paul Muni stars as a wrongly accused escapee from a brutal chain gang. ... Jules Dassin (born Julius Dassin on December 18, 1911, in Middletown, Connecticut) is an American film director. ... The Naked City is a 1948 black-and-white film noir directed by Jules Dassin. ... The House on 92nd Street is a 1945 black-and-white film in the film noir genre. ... Henry Hathaway (March 13, 1898 – February 11, 1985) was an American film director and producer. ... Billy Wilder (June 22, 1906 – March 27, 2002) was an Austrian-born, Jewish-American journalist, screenwriter, film director, and producer whose career spanned more than 50 years and 60 films. ... The term auteur (French for author) is used to describe film directors (or, more rarely, producers or writers) who are considered to have a distinctive, recognizable vision, because they (a) repeatedly return to the same subject matter, (b) habitually address a particular psychological or moral theme, (c) employ a recurring... Citizen Kane is a 1941 mystery/drama film released by RKO Pictures and directed by Orson Welles, his first feature film. ... George Orson Welles (May 6, 1915 – October 10, 1985) was an Academy Award-winning American director, writer, actor and producer for film, stage, radio and television. ... VoiceOver is a feature built into Apple Computers Mac OS X v10. ...


Literary sources

The October 1934 issue of Black Mask featured the first appearance of the detective character whom Raymond Chandler would develop into the famous Philip Marlowe.
The October 1934 issue of Black Mask featured the first appearance of the detective character whom Raymond Chandler would develop into the famous Philip Marlowe.[4]

The primary literary influence on film noir was the hardboiled school of American detective and crime fiction, led in its early years by such writers as Dashiell Hammett (whose first novel, Red Harvest, was published in 1929) and James M. Cain (whose The Postman Always Rings Twice appeared five years later), and popularized in pulp magazines such as Black Mask. The classic film noirs The Maltese Falcon (1941) and The Glass Key (1942) were based on novels by Hammett; Cain's novels provided the basis for Double Indemnity (1944), Mildred Pierce (1945), The Postman Always Rings Twice (1946), and Slightly Scarlet (1956; adapted from Love's Lovely Counterfeit). A decade before the classic era, a story of Hammett's was the source for the gangster melodrama City Streets (1931), directed by Rouben Mamoulian and photographed by Lee Garmes, who worked regularly with Sternberg. Wedding a style and story both with many noir characteristics, released the month before Lang's M, City Streets has a claim to being the first major film noir. Image File history File links Download high-resolution version (439x640, 50 KB)low-res image of cover of cover of definitive hardboiled magazine Black Mask, october 1934; featuring Finger Man, by hardboiled pioneer Raymond Chandler—the first story featuring the detective character Chandler would develop into Philip Marlowe This image... Image File history File links Download high-resolution version (439x640, 50 KB)low-res image of cover of cover of definitive hardboiled magazine Black Mask, october 1934; featuring Finger Man, by hardboiled pioneer Raymond Chandler—the first story featuring the detective character Chandler would develop into Philip Marlowe This image... Black Mask was a pulp magazine launched in 1920 by H. L. Mencken and George Jean Nathan. ... For other persons named Raymond Chandler, see Raymond Chandler (disambiguation). ... Ed Bishop had the title role in BBC Radios The Adventures of Philip Marlowe. ... Crime fiction is a typically 20th century genre, dominated by British and American writers. ... Basil Rathbone as Sherlock Holmes Detective fiction is a branch of crime fiction that centers upon the investigation of a crime, usually murder, by a detective, either professional or amateur. ... It has been suggested that this article or section be merged with mystery_fiction. ... Samuel Dashiell Hammett (May 27, 1894 – January 10, 1961) was an American author of hardboiled detective novels and short stories. ... Red Harvest (1929) is a novel by Dashiell Hammett. ... James Mallahan Cain (July 1, 1892 – October 27, 1977) was an American journalist and novelist. ... The Postman Always Rings Twice is a 1934 crime novel by James M. Cain. ... This article is about inexpensive fiction magazines. ... Black Mask was a pulp magazine launched in 1920 by H. L. Mencken and George Jean Nathan. ... The Maltese Falcon is a 1941 Warner Bros. ... The Glass Key is the name of two film adaptations of the classic suspense novel The Glass Key by Dashiell Hammett. ... This article is about the 1944 film. ... Mildred Pierce is an American film noir released in 1945 and directed by Michael Curtiz. ... The Postman Always Rings Twice is a 1946 film based on the 1934 novel by James M. Cain. ... DVD cover of VCI Entertainments release of the film Slightly Scarlet is a 1956 film based on James M. Cains novel Loves Lovely Counterfeit. ... Rouben Mamoulian (October 8, 1897 – December 4, 1987) was an American film and theatre director. ... Lee Garmes (May 27, 1898 - August 31, 1978) was an award-winning American cinematographer. ...


Raymond Chandler, who debuted as a novelist with The Big Sleep in 1939, soon became the most famous author of the hardboiled school. Not only were Chandler's novels turned into major noirs—Murder, My Sweet (1944; adapted from Farewell, My Lovely), The Big Sleep (1946), and Lady in the Lake (1947)—he was an important screenwriter in the genre as well, producing the scripts for Double Indemnity, The Blue Dahlia (1946), and Strangers on a Train (1951). Where Chandler, like Hammett, centered most of his novels and stories on the character of the private eye, Cain featured less heroic protagonists and focused more on psychological exposition than on crime solving; the Cain approach has come to be identified with a subset of the hardboiled genre dubbed "noir fiction." For much of the 1940s, one of the most prolific and successful authors of this often downbeat brand of suspense tale was Cornell Woolrich (sometimes using the pseudonyms George Hopley or William Irish). No writer's published work provided the basis for more film noirs of the classic period than Woolrich's: thirteen in all, including Black Angel (1946), Deadline at Dawn (1946), and Fear in the Night (1947). For other persons named Raymond Chandler, see Raymond Chandler (disambiguation). ... The Big Sleep is a 1939 novel by Raymond Chandler, with two film versions, one filmed in 1946, and another filmed in 1978. ... Farewell, My Lovely (film) redirects here. ... Farewell, my Lovely, by Susie Cornfield, (published by Garret Books, London UK) is a collection of tails and tributes to much-loved, departed pets, including the author’s own Brains the MagnifiCat The book features stories from Jilly Cooper, David Blunkett and Ann Widdecombe and a foreword from the Daily... The Big Sleep (1946) is the first film version of Raymond Chandlers 1939 novel of the same name. ... See also Lady of the Lake Lady in the Lake is the title of a 1947 crime film noir from MGM Studios. ... Screenwriters, scenarists, or script writers, are authors who write the screenplays from which movies and television programs are made. ... The Blue Dahlia (1946) is a film noir with an original screenplay by Raymond Chandler. ... Strangers on a Train is a film released in 1951 by Warner Bros. ... Hardboiled crime fiction is a uniquely American style pioneered by Dashiell Hammett, refined by Raymond Chandler, and endlessly imitated since by writers such as Mickey Spillane. ... Cornell George Hopley-Woolrich (December 4, 1903—September 25, 1968) was an American novelist and short story writer. ... Black Angel is a 1946 black-and-white film noir based on the novel by Cornell Woolrich. ... Deadline at Dawn is a 1946 film noir, the only film directed by stage director Harold Clurman. ... Fear in the Night (1947) is a low budget black and white film noir directed by Maxwell Shane and starring Paul Kelly and DeForest Kelley (in his film debut). ...


A crucial literary source for film noir, now often overlooked, was W. R. Burnett, whose first novel to be published was Little Caesar, in 1929. It would be turned into the hit for Warner Bros. in 1931; the following year, Burnett was hired to write dialogue for Scarface, while Beast of the City was adapted from one of his stories. Some critics regard these latter two movies as film noirs, despite their early date. Burnett's characteristic narrative approach fell somewhere between that of the quintessential hardboiled writers and their noir fiction compatriots—his protagonists were often heroic in their way, a way just happening to be that of the gangster. During the classic era, his work, either as author or screenwriter, was the basis for seven movies now widely regarded as film noirs, including three of the most famous: High Sierra (1941), This Gun for Hire (1942), and The Asphalt Jungle (1950). William Riley Burnett (November 25, 1899 - April 25, 1982), often credited as W. R. Burnett, was an American novelist and screenwriter. ... “WB” redirects here. ... High Sierra (1941) is an early heist film and film noir written by John Huston and W.R. Burnett from the novel by W.R. Burnett. ... This Gun for Hire is a 1942 film noir, directed by Frank Tuttle and based on the novel by Graham Greene. ... The Asphalt Jungle is a 1950 film noir directed by John Huston. ...


The classic period

The 1940s and 1950s are generally regarded as the "classic period" of American film noir. While City Streets and other pre-WWII crime melodramas such as Fury (1936) and You Only Live Once (1937), both directed by Fritz Lang, are considered full-fledged noir by some critics, most categorize them as "proto-noir" or in similar terms. The movie now most commonly cited as the first "true" film noir is Stranger on the Third Floor (1940), directed by Latvian-born, Soviet-trained Boris Ingster.[5] Hungarian émigré Peter Lorre, who played secondary roles in bigger-budgeted movies, was top-billed, though here too he did not play the lead. Stranger on the Third Floor was not recognized as the beginning of a trend, let alone a new genre, for many decades. Indeed, even though modestly budgeted—at the high end of the B movie scale—it still lost its studio, RKO, $56,000, almost a third of its total cost.[6] Variety found Ingster's work "too studied and when original, lacks the flare to hold attention. It's a film too arty for average audiences, and too humdrum for others."[7] 2005 DVD cover Fury is a 1936 film noir film which tells the story of a decent man who descends into ruthlessness when the woman he loves moves to the other side of the country to make enough money for them to be married. ... You Only Live Once is a 1937 crime drama film starring Sylvia Sidney and Henry Fonda. ... Stranger on the Third Floor is a 1940 film noir. ... Peter Lorre (June 26, 1904 – March 23, 1964), born László Löwenstein, was an Hungarian[1] - Austrian - American actor frequently typecast as a sinister foreigner. ... A character actor is an actor, especially in motion pictures, who predominantly performs in similar roles throughout the course of a career. ... The King of the Bs, Roger Corman, produced and directed The Raven (1963) for American International Pictures. ... RKO could stand for: RKO Pictures The R.K.O. - finishing manoever (and initials) of WWE professional wrestler Randy Orton. ... Variety is a daily newspaper for the entertainment industry. ...

Out of the Past (1947) features many of the genre's hallmarks: a cynical private detective as the protagonist, a femme fatale, multiple flashbacks with voiceover narration, dramatic chiaroscuro photography, and a fatalistic mood leavened with provocative banter. The film stars noir icons Robert Mitchum and Jane Greer.

Most of the film noirs of the classic period were similarly low- and modestly budgeted features without major stars—B movies either literally or in spirit. In this production context, writers, directors, cinematographers, and other craftsmen were relatively free from typical big-picture constraints. Enforcement of the Production Code ensured that no movie character could literally get away with murder or be seen sharing a bed with anyone but a spouse; within those bounds, however, many films now identified as noir feature plot elements and dialogue that were—in some cases, still are—quite risqué. Thematically, film noirs as a group were most exceptional for the relative frequency with which they centered on women of questionable virtue—a focus that had become rare in Hollywood films after the mid-1930s and the end of the pre-Code era. The signal movie in this vein was Double Indemnity (1944), directed by Billy Wilder; setting the mold was Barbara Stanwyck's unforgettable femme fatale, Phyllis Dietrichson—an apparent nod to Marlene Dietrich, who had built her extraordinary career playing such characters for Sternberg. An A-level feature all the way, the movie's commercial success and seven Oscar nominations made it probably the most influential of the early noirs. A slew of now-renowned noir "bad girls" would follow, such as those played by Rita Hayworth in Gilda (1946), Lana Turner in The Postman Always Rings Twice (1946), Ava Gardner in The Killers (1946), and Jane Greer in Out of the Past (1947). The iconic noir counterpart to the femme fatale, the private eye, came to the fore in movies such as The Maltese Falcon (1941), with Humphrey Bogart as Sam Spade, and Murder, My Sweet (1944), with Dick Powell as Philip Marlowe. Other seminal noir sleuths served larger institutions, such as Dana Andrews's police detective in Laura (1944), Edmond O'Brien's insurance investigator in The Killers, and Edward G. Robinson's government agent in The Stranger (1946). This article is about the 1947 film; there was also a 1998 documentary of the same name. ... Convicted spy Mata Hari made her name synonymous with femme fatale during WWI. A femme fatale (plural: femmes fatales) is an alluring and seductive woman whose charms ensnare her lovers in bonds of irresistible desire, often leading them into compromising, dangerous, and deadly situations. ... 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. ... VoiceOver is a feature built into Apple Computers Mac OS X v10. ... For other use of the term, see Chiaroscuro (disambiguation). ... It has been suggested that Theological fatalism be merged into this article or section. ... Robert Charles Durman Mitchum (August 6, 1917 – July 1, 1997) was an Academy award nominated American film actor and singer. ... Jane Greer in Out of the Past (1947). ... The Production Code (also known as the Hays Code) was a set of industry guidelines governing the production of American motion pictures. ... Pre-Code films were created before the Motion Picture Production Code or Hays Code took effect on 1 July 1934 in the United States of America. ... This article is about the 1944 film. ... Barbara Stanwyck (July 16, 1907 – January 20, 1990) was a four-time Academy Award-nominated, three-time Emmy Award-winning, and Golden Globe-winning American actress of film, stage, and screen. ... Convicted spy Mata Hari made her name synonymous with femme fatale during WWI. A femme fatale (plural: femmes fatales) is an alluring and seductive woman whose charms ensnare her lovers in bonds of irresistible desire, often leading them into compromising, dangerous, and deadly situations. ... Marlene Dietrich IPA: ; (December 27, 1901 – May 6, 1992) was a German-born American actress, singer and entertainer. ... Although he never won an Oscar for any of his movie performances, the comedian Bob Hope received two honorary Oscars for his contributions to cinema. ... Bad girl movies are a subcategory of film noir labeled by latter-day movie buffs to describe the dark films of the 1940s and 1950s starring beautiful women who were usually on the wrong side of the law. ... Rita Hayworth (October 17, 1918 – May 14, 1987), was an American actress who attained fame during the 1940s as the eras leading sex symbol. ... Gilda (1946) is a black-and-white film noir directed by Charles Vidor. ... Lana Turner (February 8, 1921 – June 29, 1995) was an Academy award-nominated American film actress. ... The Postman Always Rings Twice is a 1946 film based on the 1934 novel by James M. Cain. ... Ava Lavinia Gardner (December 24, 1922 – January 25, 1990) was an Academy Award-nominated American actress. ... The Killers, also known as Ernest Hemingways The Killers is a black and white film noir directed by Robert Siodmak and starring Burt Lancaster. ... Jane Greer in Out of the Past (1947). ... This article is about the 1947 film; there was also a 1998 documentary of the same name. ... The Maltese Falcon is a 1941 Warner Bros. ... Bogart redirects here. ... Poster of the 1941 Warner Brothers film version of The Maltese Falcon, directed by John Huston Sam Spade was the leading character in the novel and movie The Maltese Falcon (1931). ... Farewell, My Lovely (film) redirects here. ... Richard Ewing Dick Powell (November 14, 1904 – January 2, 1963) was an American singer, actor, producer, and director. ... Ed Bishop had the title role in BBC Radios The Adventures of Philip Marlowe. ... Dana Andrews (January 1, 1909 - December 17, 1992) was an American film actor. ... Laura, a 1944 film noir, tells the story of a police detective investigating a womans murder who falls in love with her portrait. ... Edmond OBrien (September 10, 1915–May 9, 1985) was an American film actor who is perhaps best remembered for his role in D.O.A.. Born in New York, New York, OBrien made his film debut in 1938, and gradually built a career as a highly regarded supporting... Edward Goldenberg Robinson (born Emanuel Goldenberg, Yiddish: עמנואל גולדנברג; December 12, 1893 – January 26, 1973) was an American stage and film actor of Romanian origin. ... The Stranger is a 1946 film noir/drama starring Orson Welles and Loretta Young. ...


Many claim that there is a significant distinction between the noirs of the 1940s and those of the 1950s—other than the relative disappearance of the private eye as a lead character there is no consensus on how that distinction manifests, but it often comes down to a view that the later classic noirs tend to be more "extreme" in one way or another. A prime example is Kiss Me Deadly (1955). Based on a novel by Mickey Spillane, the best-selling of all the hardboiled authors, here the protagonist is a private eye, Mike Hammer. As described by Paul Schrader, "Robert Aldrich's teasing direction carries noir to its sleaziest and most perversely erotic. Hammer overturns the underworld in search of the 'great whatsit'...[which] turns out to be—joke of jokes—an exploding atomic bomb."[8] Orson Welles's baroquely styled Touch of Evil (1958) is frequently cited as the last noir of the classic period. Some scholars believe film noir never really ended, but continued to transform even as the characteristic noir visual style began to seem dated and changing production conditions led Hollywood in different directions—in this view, post-1950s films in the noir tradition are seen as part of a continuity with classic noir. A majority of critics, however, regard comparable movies made outside the classic era to be something other than genuine film noirs. They regard true film noir as belonging to a temporally and geographically limited cycle or period, treating subsequent films that evoke the classics as fundamentally different due to general shifts in moviemaking style and latter-day awareness of noir as a historical source for allusion. This article is about the 1955 film. ... Frank Morrison Spillane (March 9, 1918 – July 17, 2006), better known as Mickey Spillane, was an American author of crime novels, many featuring his signature detective character, Mike Hammer. ... Mike Hammer is a fictional American detective created by the American author Mickey Spillane in the 1947 book I, the Jury (made into a movie in 1953 and 1982). ... Paul Joseph Schrader (born July 22, 1946 in Grand Rapids, Michigan) is an American screenwriter and film director. ... Robert Aldrich (August 9, 1918 – December 5, 1983) was a United States film director, writer and producer notable for a number of films including What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?, Hush, Hush, Sweet Charlotte, and The Dirty Dozen. ... Touch of Evil (1958) is considered one of the last examples of film noir in the genres classic era (from the early 1940s until the late 1950s). ... Allusion is a figure of speech, reference/representation of/to a well-known person, place, event, literary work, or work of art. ...


During these two decades in which noir is now seen as flourishing, conventional A films, however emotionally tortuous, were ultimately expected to convey positive, reassuring messages; in terms of style, invisible camerawork and editing techniques, flattering soft lighting schemes, and deluxely trimmed sets were the rule. The makers of film noir turned all this on its head, creating sophisticated, sometimes bleak dramas tinged with mistrust, cynicism, and a sense of the absurd, in settings that were frequently either real-life urban or budget-saving minimalist, with often strikingly expressionist lighting and unsettling techniques such as wildly skewed camera angles and convoluted flashbacks. The noir style gradually influenced the mainstream—even beyond Hollywood. Continuity editing is the predominant style of film editing practiced by most Hollywood editors. ... Absurdism is a philosophy stating that the efforts of humanity to find meaning in the universe will ultimately fail (and, hence, are absurd) because no such meaning exists, at least in relation to humanity. ...


Directors and the business of noir

A scene from In a Lonely Place (1950), directed by Nicholas Ray based on a novel by noir fiction writer Dorothy B. Hughes. Two of noir's defining actors, Gloria Grahame and Humphrey Bogart, portray star-crossed lovers in the film.

While the inceptive noir, Stranger on the Third Floor, was a B picture directed by a virtual unknown, many of the film noirs that have earned enduring fame were A-list productions by name-brand moviemakers. Debuting as a director with The Maltese Falcon (1941), John Huston followed with the major noirs Key Largo (1948) and The Asphalt Jungle (1950). Opinion is divided on the noir status of several of Alfred Hitchcock's thrillers from the era; at least four qualify by consensus: Shadow of a Doubt (1943), Notorious (1946), Strangers on a Train (1951), and The Wrong Man (1956). Otto Preminger's success with Laura (1944) made his name and helped establish 20th Century-Fox's reputation for well-appointed A noirs. Among Hollywood's most celebrated directors of the era, arguably none worked more often in a noir mode than Preminger—his other classic noirs include Fallen Angel (1945), Whirlpool (1949), Where the Sidewalk Ends (1950) (all for Fox) and Angel Face (1952). A half-decade after Double Indemnity and The Lost Weekend, Billy Wilder made Sunset Boulevard (1950) and Ace in the Hole (1951), noirs that weren't so much crime dramas as satires on, respectively, Hollywood and the news media. In a Lonely Place (1950) was Nicholas Ray's breakthrough; his other noirs include his debut, They Live by Night (1948), and On Dangerous Ground (1952). In a Lonely Place is a 1950 film noir directed by Nicholas Ray, starring Humphrey Bogart and Gloria Grahame, and produced for Bogarts Santana Productions. ... Nicholas Ray (born Raymond Nicholas Kienzle) (August 7, 1911–June 16, 1979) was an American film director. ... Hardboiled crime fiction is a uniquely American style pioneered by Dashiell Hammett, refined by Raymond Chandler, and endlessly imitated since by writers such as Mickey Spillane. ... Dorothy Belle Hughes (1904—May 6, 1993) was a U.S. crime writer and critic. ... Gloria Grahame (November 28, 1923 - October 5, 1981) was an Academy Award-winning American film actress. ... Bogart redirects here. ... The Maltese Falcon is a 1941 Warner Bros. ... John Marcellus Huston (August 5, 1906 – August 28, 1987) was an American film director and actor. ... Key Largo is a 1948 film starring Humphrey Bogart, Edward G. Robinson, Lauren Bacall, Claire Trevor, and Lionel Barrymore. ... The Asphalt Jungle is a 1950 film noir directed by John Huston. ... Sir Alfred Joseph Hitchcock KBE (August 13, 1899 â€“ April 29, 1980) was an iconic and highly influential British-born film director and producer who pioneered many techniques in the suspense and thriller genres. ... For other uses, see Shadow of a Doubt (disambiguation). ... Notorious is a 1946 thriller directed and produced by Alfred Hitchcock, and starring Cary Grant and Ingrid Bergman as two people whose lives become intimately entangled during an espionage operation. ... Strangers on a Train is a film released in 1951 by Warner Bros. ... The Wrong Man is a 1956 film by Alfred Hitchcock which stars Henry Fonda and Vera Miles. ... Otto Ludwig Preminger (December 5, 1906 – April 23, 1986) was a film director. ... Laura, a 1944 film noir, tells the story of a police detective investigating a womans murder who falls in love with her portrait. ... 20th Century Fox logo Fox Plaza, the company headquarters. ... Fallen Angel is a 1945 black-and-white film noir-style movie directed by Otto Preminger. ... Whirlpool is an Otto Preminger-directed film, considered film noir, starring Gene Tierney as the kleptomaniac wife of a psychoanalyst. ... Where the Sidewalk Ends is a 1950 film directed by Otto Preminger starring Dana Andrews, Gene Tierney, and Karl Malden. ... Robert Mitchum and Jean Simmons in Angel Face Angel Face is a 1952 black-and-white film shot in the film noir style. ... It has been suggested that Norma Desmond be merged into this article or section. ... Ace in the Hole is a 1951 black-and-white film starring Kirk Douglas and directed by Billy Wilder. ... In a Lonely Place is a 1950 film noir directed by Nicholas Ray, starring Humphrey Bogart and Gloria Grahame, and produced for Bogarts Santana Productions. ... Nicholas Ray (born Raymond Nicholas Kienzle) (August 7, 1911–June 16, 1979) was an American film director. ... They Live by Night is a Film noir released in 1949. ... On Dangerous Ground is a 1952 film released by RKO Radio Pictures, directed by Nicholas Ray and produced by John Houseman. ...


Orson Welles had notorious problems with financing, but his three film noirs were reasonably well budgeted: The Lady from Shanghai (1947) received top-level, "prestige" backing, while both The Stranger—his most conventional film—and Touch of Evil —an unmistakably personal work—were funded at levels lower but still commensurate with headlining releases. Like The Stranger, Fritz Lang's The Woman in the Window (1945) was a production of the independent International Pictures. Lang's follow-up, Scarlet Street (1945), was one of the few classic noirs to be officially censored: filled with erotic innuendo, it was temporarily banned in Milwaukee, Atlanta, and New York State.[9] Scarlet Street was a semi-independent—cosponsored by Universal and Lang's own Diana Productions, of which the movie's costar, Joan Bennett, was the second biggest shareholder. Lang, Bennett, and her husband, Universal veteran and Diana production head Walter Wanger, would make Secret Beyond the Door (1948) in similar fashion.[10] Before he was forced abroad for political reasons, director Jules Dassin made two classic noirs that also straddled the major/independent line: Brute Force (1947) and the influential documentary-style Naked City were developed by producer Mark Hellinger, who had an "inside/outside" contract with Universal similar to Wanger's.[11] Years earlier, working at Warner Bros., Hellinger had produced three films for Raoul Walsh, the proto-noirs They Drive by Night (1940) and Manpower (1941) and the recognized classic High Sierra (1941). Walsh had no great name recognition during his half-century as a working director, but his noirs—White Heat (1949) and The Enforcer (1951) would follow—had A-list stars and are now regarded as important examples of the cycle.[12] In addition to the aforementioned, other directors associated with top-of-the-bill Hollywood film noirs include Edward Dmytryk (Murder, My Sweet [1944]; Crossfire [1947]), the first important noir director to fall prey to the industry blacklist, as well as Henry Hathaway (The Dark Corner [1946], Kiss of Death [1947]) and John Farrow (The Big Clock [1948], His Kind of Woman [1951]). The Lady from Shanghai is a black-and-white film noir directed by and starring Orson Welles. ... Directed by Fritz Lang, The Woman in the Window, a black-and-white film noir, is the story of psychology professor Wanley (Edward G. Robinson), who meets and falls in love with a young femme fatale. ... Scarlet Street is an American film noir from 1945. ... This article is about the American media conglomerate. ... Joan Bennett on the December, 1945 issue of Movie Story Magazine Joan Geraldine Bennett (February 27, 1910 – December 7, 1990) was an American film actress who also achieved success later in life as a television actress. ... Walter Wanger (July 11, 1894 - November 18, 1968) was an important American film producer. ... DVD cover of French release Secret Beyond the Door. ... Brute Force is a 1947 brooding, brutal drama movie considered film noir. ... Mark Hellinger (March 21, 1903 to December 21, 1947) is primarily known as a New York theatre critic and reviewer. ... Raoul Walsh as John Wilkes Booth in Birth of a Nation Raoul Walsh (March 11, 1887 – December 31, 1980) was an American film director, actor, founding member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) and the brother of silent screen actor George Walsh. ... They Drive by Night is a 1940 black-and-white film starring George Raft and Humphrey Bogart. ... High Sierra (1941) is an early heist film and film noir written by John Huston and W.R. Burnett from the novel by W.R. Burnett. ... White Heat is a 1949 crime film starring James Cagney, Edmond OBrien and Virginia Mayo. ... The Enforcer is a black-and-white 1951 film, considered film noir, starring Humphrey Bogart. ... Edward Dmytryk (September 4, 1908 - July 1, 1999) was an American film director who was amongst the Hollywood Ten, a group of blacklisted film industry professionals who served time in prison for being in contempt of Congress during the McCarthy era red scare. ... Farewell, My Lovely (film) redirects here. ... Crossfire is a 1947 film which dealt with the theme of anti-semitism, as did that years Academy Award for Best Picture winner, Gentlemans Agreement. ... Protestors opposing the jailing of the Hollywood Ten in 1950 (from the 1987 documentary Legacy of the Hollywood Blacklist). ... Henry Hathaway (March 13, 1898 – February 11, 1985) was an American film director and producer. ... The Dark Corner (1946) Ex con turned Private investigator Bradford Galt suspects someone is following him and maybe even trying to kill him. ... Kiss of Death is a 1947 film noir movie written by Ben Hecht and Charles Lederer from a story by Eleazar Lipsky. ... John Farrow was an award-winning film director, producer and screenwriter, born John N.B. Villiers-Farrow on February 10, 1904 in Sydney, Australia. ... The Big Clock is a 1948 film noir thriller set in New York City based on the novel by Kenneth Fearing. ... His Kind of Woman is a black-and-white 1951 film noir mystery film starring Robert Mitchum and Jane Russell. ...


As noted above, however, most of the Hollywood films now considered classic noirs fall into the broad category of the "B movie."[13] Some were Bs in the most precise sense, produced to run on the bottom of double bills by a low-budget unit of one of the major studios or by one of the smaller, so-called Poverty Row outfits, from the relatively well-off Monogram to shakier ventures such as Producers Releasing Corporation (PRC). Jacques Tourneur had made over thirty Hollywood Bs (a few now highly regarded, most completely forgotten) before directing the A-level Out of the Past, considered by some critics the pinnacle of classic noir. Movies with budgets a step up the ladder, known as "intermediates" within the industry, might be treated as A or B pictures depending on the circumstance—Monogram created a new unit, Allied Artists, in the late 1940s to focus on this sort of production. Such films have long colloquially been referred to as B movies. Robert Wise (Born to Kill [1947], The Set-Up [1949]) and Anthony Mann (T-Men [1947], Raw Deal [1948]) each made a series of impressive intermediates, many of them noirs, before graduating to steady work on big-budget productions. Mann did some of his finest work with cinematographer John Alton, a specialist in what critic James Naremore describes as "hypnotic moments of light-in-darkness."[14] He Walked by Night (1948), shot by Alton and, though credited solely to Alfred Werker, directed in large part by Mann, demonstrates their technical mastery and exemplifies the late 1940s trend of "police procedural" crime dramas. Put out, like other Mann–Alton noirs, by the small Eagle-Lion company, it was the direct inspiration for the Dragnet series, which debuted on radio in 1949 and television in 1951. The double feature, also known as a double bill, was a motion picture industry phenomenon in which theatre managers would exhibit two films for the price of one, supplanting an earlier format in which one feature film and various short subject reels would be shown. ... The studio system was a means of film production and distribution dominant in Hollywood from the early 1920s through the early 1950s. ... Poverty Row is a slang term used in Hollywood from the late silent period through the mid-fifties to refer to a variety of mostly short-lived small studios, many clustered in the area of Los Angeles, USA known as Gower Gulch, near the corner of Sunset Boulevard and Gower... For other uses, see Monogram (disambiguation). ... PRCs logo 1945 One of the larger Hollywood production conglomerates of Poverty Row of the late 30s-mid 40s (along with Republic Pictures and Monogram Pictures and smaller outfits) PRC, as it was commonly known, intentionally made mostly small-budget B-movies. ... Jacques Tourneur, born November 12, 1904 – died December 19, 1977, was a French film director. ... Allied Artists Pictures Corporation This subsidiary of Monogram Pictures was founded in 1946. ... Robert Wise (September 10, 1914 – September 14, 2005) was a sound effects editor, film editor, and Academy Award-winning American film producer and director. ... Born to Kill, a 1947 black and white film, was the first film noir directed by Robert Wise, who later directed The Set-Up (1949), The Captive City (1952), and Odds Against Tomorrow (1959). ... The Set-Up (1949) is an example of film noir. ... Anthony Mann (June 30, 1906 - April 29, 1967), was an American actor and film director. ... T-Men is a 1947 semi-documentary style film noir shot in black and white. ... Raw Deal is a 1948 film noir directed by Anthony Mann and with cinematography by John Alton. ... Johann Altmann (October 5, 1901 – June 2, 1996), photographed some of the most famous films noir of the classic period. ... Police plan of attack late in He Walked By Night He Walked by Night is a 1948 black-and-white film noir directed by Alfred L. Werker. ... The police procedural is a sub-genre of the mystery story which attempts to accurately depict the activities of a police force as they investigate crimes. ... Eagle Lion Films was a British film company that merged with PRC Pictures in the 1940s. ... Dragnet was a long-running radio and television police procedural drama about the cases of a dedicated Los Angeles police detective, Sergeant Joe Friday, and his partners. ...

Cheap at twice the price: Detour (1945) cost $117,000 to make when the biggest Hollywood studios spent around $600,000 on the average feature. But the accountants at small PRC weren't happy—it was 30% over budget.[15]

Directors such as Samuel Fuller (Pickup on South Street [1953], Underworld U.S.A. [1961]), Joseph H. Lewis (Gun Crazy [1950], The Big Combo [1955]), and Phil Karlson (Kansas City Confidential [1952], The Brothers Rico [1957]) built now well-respected oeuvres largely at the B-movie/intermediate level. (Dalton Trumbo—like Dmytryk, one of the Hollywood Ten—wrote the Gun Crazy screenplay disguised by a front while still blacklisted.) The work of others such as Felix E. Feist (The Devil Thumbs a Ride [1947], Tomorrow Is Another Day [1951]) await critical rediscovery. Edgar G. Ulmer spent almost his entire Hollywood career working at B studios—once in a while on projects that achieved intermediate status; for the most part, on unmistakable Bs. In 1945, while at PRC, he directed one of the all-time noir cult classics, Detour. Ulmer's other noirs include Strange Illusion (1945), also for PRC; Blonde Ice (1948), distributed by tiny Film Classics; and Murder Is My Beat (1955), for Allied Artists. Image File history File linksMetadata Download high-resolution version (1215x950, 108 KB) low-res image of poster for PRCs Detour (1945), directed by Edgar G. Ulmer This image is of a movie poster, and the copyright for it is most likely owned by either the publisher of the movie... Image File history File linksMetadata Download high-resolution version (1215x950, 108 KB) low-res image of poster for PRCs Detour (1945), directed by Edgar G. Ulmer This image is of a movie poster, and the copyright for it is most likely owned by either the publisher of the movie... Detour is a 1945 film noir cult classic that stars Tom Neal, Ann Savage, Claudia Drake and Edmund MacDonald. ... PRCs logo 1945 One of the larger Hollywood production conglomerates of Poverty Row of the late 30s-mid 40s (along with Republic Pictures and Monogram Pictures and smaller outfits) PRC, as it was commonly known, intentionally made mostly small-budget B-movies. ... Samuel Fuller (1987) Samuel Michael Fuller (August 12, 1912 – October 30, 1997) was an American film director. ... Categories: Wikipedia cleanup | Stub ... Joseph H. Lewis (April 6, 1907–August 30, 2000), a B-movie director with a sense of style, always strove for excellence, no matter how cheap the film. ... Gun Crazy (originally released as Deadly is the Female) is a 1949 film noir film about a couple (Laurie and Bart) who go on a cross-country robbery-shooting spree, that is considered the forerunner to the film Bonnie and Clyde. ... The Big Combo (1955) The Big Combo (1955)is director Joseph H. Lewis black-and-white film noir. ... Phil Karlson (July 2, 1908 - December 12, 1985) was a Chicago-born film director known for his no-nonsense film noir films. ... Kansas City Confidential is a 1952 film noir directed by Phil Karlson and starring John Payne. ... Dalton Trumbo (December 9, 1905 – September 10, 1976) was an American screenwriter and novelist, and a member of the Hollywood Ten, one of group of film professionals who refused to testify before the 1947 House Un-American Activities Committee about alleged communist involvement. ... Protestors opposing the jailing of the Hollywood Ten in 1950 (from the 1987 documentary Legacy of the Hollywood Blacklist). ... Felix E. Feist (February 28, 1910 - September 2, 1965) was a New York City-born film and television director. ... The Devil Thumbs a Ride is a 1947 suspense film, considered to be film noir, starring Lawrence Tierney. ... Edgar G. Ulmer - Wikipedia /**/ @import /w/skins-1. ... Detour is a 1945 film noir cult classic that stars Tom Neal, Ann Savage, Claudia Drake and Edmund MacDonald. ...


A number of low and modestly budgeted noirs were made by independent, often actor-owned, companies contracting with one of the larger outfits for distribution. Serving as producer, writer, director, and "star," Hugo Haas made several such films, including Pickup (1951) and The Other Woman (1954). It was in this way that accomplished noir actress Ida Lupino became the sole female director in Hollywood during the late 1940s and much of the 1950s—her best-known film is The Hitch-Hiker (1953), developed by her company, The Filmakers, with support and distribution by RKO. It is one of the seven classic film noirs produced largely outside of the major studios that have been chosen to date for the United States National Film Registry. Of the others, one was a small-studio release: Detour. Four were independent productions distributed by United Artists, the "studio without a studio": Gun Crazy; Kiss Me Deadly; D.O.A. (1950), directed by Rudolph Maté; and Sweet Smell of Success (1957), directed by Alexander Mackendrick. One was an independent distributed by MGM, the industry leader: Force of Evil (1948), directed by Abraham Polonsky and starring John Garfield, both of whom would be blacklisted in the 1950s. Independent production usually meant restricted circumstances, but not always—Sweet Smell of Success, for instance, despite the original plans of the production team, was clearly not made on the cheap, though like many other cherished A-budget noirs it might be said to have a B-movie soul. Hugo Haas (18 February 1901 – 1 December 1968), was a Czech film actor, director and writer. ... This article needs additional references or sources for verification. ... The Hitch-Hiker is a 1953 film noir film which tells the story of two hunting buddies who pick up a mysterious hitchhiker. ... The National Film Registry is the registry of films selected by the United States National Film Preservation Board for preservation in the Library of Congress. ... This article is about the film studio. ... D.O.A. is a 1950 movie considered a classic of the film noir genre. ... Rudolph Maté (January 21, 1898 - October 27, 1964) was an accomplished cinematographer and film director. ... Sweet Smell of Success is a 1957 film which tells the story of a powerful newspaper columnist who uses his connections to ruin his sisters relationship with a man he deems inappropriate. ... Alexander Mackendrick (September 8, 1912 - December 22, 1993) was a Scottish-American film director. ... For alternate meanings of MGM, see MGM (disambiguation). ... This article needs to be cleaned up to conform to a higher standard of quality. ... Abraham Lincoln Polonsky (December 5, 1910 - October 26, 1999) was an American screenwriter and former Communist blacklisted by Hollywood movie studios in the 1950s. ... John Garfield (March 4, 1913 – May 21, 1952) was an Academy Award nominated American actor. ...


Perhaps no director better displayed that spirit than the German-born Robert Siodmak, who had already made a score of films before his 1940 arrival in Hollywood. Working mostly on A features, he made eight movies now regarded as classic film noirs (a figure matched only by Lang and Mann). In addition to The Killers, Burt Lancaster's debut and a Hellinger/Universal coproduction, Siodmak's other important contributions to the genre include 1944's Phantom Lady (a top-of-the-line B and Woolrich adaptation), the ironically titled Christmas Holiday (1944), and Cry of the City (1948). Criss Cross (1949), with Lancaster again the lead, exemplifies how Siodmak brought the virtues of the B-movie to the A noir. In addition to the relatively looser constraints on character and message at lower budgets, the nature of B production lent itself to the noir style for directly economic reasons: dim lighting not only saved on electrical costs but helped cloak cheap sets (mist and smoke also served the cause); night shooting was often compelled by hurried production schedules; plots with obscure motivations and intriguingly elliptical transitions were sometimes the consequence of scripts written in haste, not every scene of which was there always time or money to shoot. In Criss Cross, Siodmak achieves all these effects with purpose, wrapping them around Yvonne De Carlo, playing the most understandable of femme fatales, Dan Duryea, in one of his deliciously charismatic villain roles, and Lancaster—already an established star—as an ordinary joe turned armed robber, a romantic obsessive on a one-way road to ruin.[16] Robert Siodmak (August 8, 1900 - March 10, 1973) was a film director born in Memphis, Tennessee (sometimes his birthplace is stated as Dresden, Germany). ... Burt Lancaster (2 November 1913 – 20 October 1994) was an Academy Award-winning American film actor, noted for his athletic physique, distinct smile (which he called The Grin) and, later, his willingness to play roles that went against his initial tough guy image. ... Universal Pictures Phantom Lady (1944) is a black and white film noir directed by Robert Siodmak. ... Dean Harens and Deanna Durbin in Christmas Holiday Christmas Holiday is a 1944 drama directed by Robert Siodmak. ... Richard Conte in Cry of the City (1948) Cry of the City is a 1948 black-and-white film noir directed by Robert Siodmak based on the novel by Henry Edward Helseth. ... Criss Cross is a 1949 film noir movie, directed by Robert Siodmak from a novel written by Don Tracy. ... ‹ The template below has been proposed for deletion. ... Publicity photo for Duryea Dan Duryea (born January 23, 1907, in White Plains, New York; died June 7, 1968, in Hollywood, California) was a hard-working TV and movie actor. ...

Classic-era film noirs in the National Film Registry
1940-49

The Maltese Falcon | Shadow of a Doubt | Laura | Double Indemnity | Mildred Pierce | Detour |
The Big Sleep | Notorious | Out of the Past | Force of Evil | The Naked City | White Heat The National Film Registry is the registry of films selected by the United States National Film Preservation Board for preservation in the Library of Congress. ... Other Lists of Movies List of years in film in the 1940s 1940 1941 1942 1943 1944 1945 1946 1947 1948 1949 Decades in Film: 1900s 1910s 1920s 1930s 1940s 1950s 1960s 1970s 1980s 1990s 2000s List of movies See also Film, History of cinema Categories: 1940s ... The Maltese Falcon is a 1941 Warner Bros. ... For other uses, see Shadow of a Doubt (disambiguation). ... Laura, a 1944 film noir, tells the story of a police detective investigating a womans murder who falls in love with her portrait. ... This article is about the 1944 film. ... Mildred Pierce is an American film noir released in 1945 and directed by Michael Curtiz. ... Detour is a 1945 film noir cult classic that stars Tom Neal, Ann Savage, Claudia Drake and Edmund MacDonald. ... The Big Sleep (1946) is the first film version of Raymond Chandlers 1939 novel of the same name. ... Notorious is a 1946 thriller directed and produced by Alfred Hitchcock, and starring Cary Grant and Ingrid Bergman as two people whose lives become intimately entangled during an espionage operation. ... This article is about the 1947 film; there was also a 1998 documentary of the same name. ... This article needs to be cleaned up to conform to a higher standard of quality. ... The Naked City is a 1948 black-and-white film noir directed by Jules Dassin. ... White Heat is a 1949 crime film starring James Cagney, Edmond OBrien and Virginia Mayo. ...

1950-58

D.O.A. | Gun Crazy | Sunset Boulevard | In a Lonely Place | The Hitch-Hiker |
Kiss Me Deadly | The Night of the Hunter | Sweet Smell of Success | Touch of Evil The decade of the 1950s in film involved many significant films. ... D.O.A. is a 1950 movie considered a classic of the film noir genre. ... Gun Crazy (originally released as Deadly is the Female) is a 1949 film noir film about a couple (Laurie and Bart) who go on a cross-country robbery-shooting spree, that is considered the forerunner to the film Bonnie and Clyde. ... It has been suggested that Norma Desmond be merged into this article or section. ... In a Lonely Place is a 1950 film noir directed by Nicholas Ray, starring Humphrey Bogart and Gloria Grahame, and produced for Bogarts Santana Productions. ... The Hitch-Hiker is a 1953 film noir film which tells the story of two hunting buddies who pick up a mysterious hitchhiker. ... This article is about the 1955 film. ... The Night of the Hunter is a 1955 film noir based on the novel by Davis Grubb. ... Sweet Smell of Success is a 1957 film which tells the story of a powerful newspaper columnist who uses his connections to ruin his sisters relationship with a man he deems inappropriate. ... Touch of Evil (1958) is considered one of the last examples of film noir in the genres classic era (from the early 1940s until the late 1950s). ...

Film noir outside the United States

Some critics regard classic film noir as a cycle exclusive to the United States; e.g., Alain Silver and Elizabeth Ward: "With the Western, film noir shares the distinction of being an indigenous American form...a wholly American film style."[17] Others, however, regard noir as an international phenomenon.[18] Even before the beginning of the generally accepted classic period, there were movies made far from Hollywood that can be seen in retrospect as film noirs, for example, the French productions Pépé le Moko (1937), directed by Jules Duvivier, and Le Jour se lève (1939), directed by Marcel Carné. Pépé le Moko is a 1937 film directed by Julien Duvivier and starring Jean Gabin. ... Wikipedia does not have an article with this exact name. ... Marcel Carné (August 18, 1906 - October 31, 1996) was an important French film director. ...

Jeanne Moreau in Louis Malle's Ascenseur pour l'échafaud (Elevator to the Gallows; 1958). The film features one of the most acclaimed of all noir scores, composed and performed by jazz musician Miles Davis.
Jeanne Moreau in Louis Malle's Ascenseur pour l'échafaud (Elevator to the Gallows; 1958). The film features one of the most acclaimed of all noir scores, composed and performed by jazz musician Miles Davis.

During the classic period, there were many films produced outside the United States, particularly in France, that share elements of style, theme, and sensibility with American film noirs and may themselves be included in the genre's canon. In certain cases, the interrelationship with Hollywood noir is obvious: American-born director Jules Dassin moved to France in the early 1950s as a result of the Hollywood blacklist, and made one of the most famous French film noirs, Rififi (1955). Other well-known French films often classified as noir include Quai des Orfèvres (1947), Le Salaire de la peur (released in English-speaking countries as The Wages of Fear) (1953) and Les Diaboliques (1955), all directed by Henri-Georges Clouzot; Casque d'or (1952) and Touchez pas au grisbi (1954), both directed by Jacques Becker; and Ascenseur pour l'échafaud (1958), directed by Louis Malle. French director Jean-Pierre Melville is widely recognized for his tragic, minimalist film noirs—Quand tu liras cette lettre (1953) and Bob le flambeur (1955), from the classic period, were followed by Le Doulos (1962), Le Samouraï (1967), and Le Cercle rouge (1970). Image File history File links MoreauAscenseur. ... Image File history File links MoreauAscenseur. ... Jeanne Moreau (French IPA: ; born 23 January 1928) is a BAFTA Awards-winning French actress, screenwriter and director. ... Louis Malle (October 30, 1932 – November 23, 1995) was an Academy Award nominated French film director, working in both French and English. ... Ascenseur pour léchafaud (released in the U.S. as Elevator to the Gallows and in the UK as Lift to the Scaffold) is a 1958 film directed by Louis Malle. ... A film score is a set of musical compositions written to accompany a film. ... Miles Dewey Davis III (May 26, 1926 – September 28, 1991) was an American jazz musician, widely considered to be one of the most influential of the 20th century. ... Jules Dassin (born Julius Dassin on December 18, 1911, in Middletown, Connecticut) is an American film director. ... Protestors opposing the jailing of the Hollywood Ten in 1950 (from the 1987 documentary Legacy of the Hollywood Blacklist). ... Warning: Du rififi chez les hommes is a French 1955 black-and-white big caper movie (called Rififi in the films US release). ... Quai des Orfèvres is a 1947 film directed by Henri-Georges Clouzot. ... Cover of DVD release The Wages of Fear is a 1953 film directed by Henri-Georges Clouzot starring Yves Montand. ... Les Diaboliques is a black-and-white film directed by Henri-Georges Clouzot (U.K. title = The Fiends) based on the novel Celle qui nétait plus by Pierre Boileau and Thomas Narcejac. ... Henri-Georges Clouzot (November 20, 1907 - January 12, 1977) was a French film director, screenwriter and producer. ... Casque dor is a 1952 film directed by Jacques Becker. ... Touchez pas au grisbi is a 1954 film directed by Jacques Becker and starring Jean Gabin. ... Jacques Becker (September 15, 1906 - February 21, 1960) was a French screenwriter and film director. ... Ascenseur pour léchafaud (released in the U.S. as Elevator to the Gallows and in the UK as Lift to the Scaffold) is a 1958 film directed by Louis Malle. ... Louis Malle (October 30, 1932 – November 23, 1995) was an Academy Award nominated French film director, working in both French and English. ... Jean-Pierre Melville (born Jean-Pierre Grumbach) (October 20, 1917 – August 2, 1973) was a noted French director. ... Bob le Flambeur (1955) Bob le Flambeur (translated as Bob the High Roller) is a French gangster film from 1955. ... Le Doulos (English title The Finger Man) is a 1962 French crime film directed by Jean-Pierre Melville, based on a novel by Pierre Lesou. ... Le Samouraï (English title The Samurai) is a French crime/drama/thriller directed by French filmmaker Jean-Pierre Melville in 1967. ... Le Cercle rouge (The Red Circle, 1970) is a crime film set in Paris, France. ...


A number of thrillers produced in Great Britain during the classic period are also frequently referred to as film noirs, including Contraband (1940) and The Small Back Room (1949), directed by Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger; Brighton Rock (1947), directed by John Boulting; They Made Me a Fugitive (1947), directed by Alberto Cavalcanti; and Cast a Dark Shadow (1955), directed by Lewis Gilbert. Terence Fisher directed several low-budget thrillers in a noir mode for Hammer Film Productions, including The Last Page (aka Man Bait; 1952), Stolen Face (1952), and Murder by Proxy (aka Blackout; 1954). Before leaving for France, Jules Dassin had been obliged by political pressure to shoot his last English-language film of the classic noir period in Great Britain: Night and the City (1950). Though it was conceived in the United States and was not only directed by an American but also stars two American actors—Richard Widmark and Gene Tierney—it is technically a UK production, financed by 20th Century-Fox's British subsidiary. The most famous of classic British noirs is director Carol Reed's The Third Man (1949), like Brighton Rock based on a Graham Greene novel. Set in Vienna immediately after World War II, it stars Joseph Cotten and Orson Welles, both prominent American actors who starred in U.S. film noirs; despite being a completely British production, the movie is sometimes discussed as if it is a classic Hollywood noir. Contraband (1940) is a film by the British-based director-writer team of Powell & Pressburger. ... The Small Back Room (1949) is a film by the British-based director-writer team of Powell & Pressburger. ... Michael Latham Powell (September 30, 1905 – February 19, 1990) was a British film director, renowned for his partnership with Emeric Pressburger which produced a series of classic British films. ... Emeric Pressburger in Paris. ... Brighton Rock is a novel by Graham Greene, published in 1938, and later made into a 1947 film. ... John and Roy Boulting were English film-makers, who became known for their popular series of satirical comedies in the 1950s and 1960s. ... They Made Me A Fugitive is a 1947 British film noir set in postwar England. ... Alberto de Almeida Cavalcanti (February 6, 1897 – August 23, 1982) was a Brazilian-born film director and producer. ... Cast a Dark Shadow is a 1955 British suspense film directed by Lewis Gilbert. ... Lewis Gilbert (born March 6, 1920) is a British film director born in London, England. ... Terence Fisher (February 23, 1904 - June 18, 1980), was a film director who worked for Hammer Films. ... New company logo as introduced in May 2007 A poster for Dracula: Prince of Darkness (1966). ... Stolen Face is a 1952 film directed by Terence Fisher for Hammer Film Productions. ... For the remake starring Robert De Niro, see Night and the City (1992 film). ... Richard Widmark in Kiss of Death Richard Widmark (born December 26, 1914 in Sunrise, Minnesota) is an Academy Award-nominated American film actor. ... Gene Tierney (November 19, 1920 – November 6, 1991) was an American film and stage actress. ... 20th Century Fox logo Fox Plaza, the company headquarters. ... Sir Carol Reed (30 December 1906 – 25 April 1976) was an English film director, winner of an Academy Award for his film version of the musical, Oliver! (1968). ... This article is about film noir. ... This article is about the writer. ... Joseph Cheshire Cotten (May 15, 1905–February 6, 1994) was an American stage and screen actor. ... George Orson Welles (May 6, 1915 – October 10, 1985) was an Academy Award-winning American director, writer, actor and producer for film, stage, radio and television. ...

Stray Dog (1949), directed and cowritten by Akira Kurosawa, contains many cinematographic and narrative elements associated with classic American film noir.

Elsewhere, Italian director Luchino Visconti adapted Cain's The Postman Always Rings Twice as Ossessione (1943), regarded both as one of the great noirs and a seminal film in the development of neorealism. (This was not even the first screen version of Cain's novel, having been preceded by the French Le Dernier tournant in 1939.) In Japan, the celebrated Akira Kurosawa directed several movies recognizable as film noirs, including Drunken Angel (1948), Stray Dog (1949), The Bad Sleep Well (1960), and High and Low (1963). Stray Dog (野良犬 Nora inu) is a 1949 film noir directed by Akira Kurosawa. ... Kurosawa redirects here. ... Luchino Visconti. ... Ossessione 1943 Ossessione (Luchino Visconti, 1943) is generally considered to be the first Neorealist film. ... Kurosawa redirects here. ... Drunken Angel (酔いどれ天使, Yoidore Tenshi) is a 1948 Japanese film directed by Akira Kurosawa. ... Stray Dog (野良犬 Nora inu) is a 1949 film noir directed by Akira Kurosawa. ... The Bad Sleep Well (Warui yatsu hodo yoku nemuru) is a 1960 film by the Japanese director Akira Kurosawa. ... High and Low (天国と地獄, Tengoku to jigoku, literally Heaven and Hell) is a 1963 film directed by Akira Kurosawa It tells the story of an executive named Kingo Gondo Toshirô Mifune who mortgages all he has to stage leveraged buyout and gain control of the National Shoe Company, with the intent...


Among the first major neo-noir films—the term often applied to movies that consciously refer back to the classic noir tradition—was the French Tirez sur la pianiste (1960), directed by François Truffaut from a novel by one of the gloomiest of American noir fiction writers, David Goodis. Noir crime films and melodramas have been produced in many countries in the post-classic area, some of them quintessentially self-aware neo-noirs—for example, Il Conformista (1969; Italy), Der Amerikanische Freund (1977; Germany), The Element of Crime (1984; Denmark), As Tears Go By (1988; Hong Kong)—others simply sharing narrative elements and a version of the hardboiled sensibility associated with classic noir—The Castle of Sand (1974; Japan), Insomnia (1997; Norway), Croupier (1998; UK), Blind Shaft (2003; China). Shoot the Piano Player is the English title of Tirez sur le pianiste, a film released in 1960, directed by François Truffaut. ... François Roland Truffaut (French IPA: ) (February 6, 1932 – October 21, 1984) was one of the founders of the French New Wave in filmmaking, and remains an icon of the French film industry. ... David Goodis (1917–1967) was a popular American noir writer. ... The Conformist (Italian: Il Conformista) is a political film released in 1970 and directed by Bernardo Bertolucci. ... The American Friend (German: Der Amerikanische Freund) (1977) is a criminal character study film, by German director Wim Wenders, loosely adapted from the novel Ripleys Game by Patricia Highsmith. ... The Element of Crime (Danish: Forbrydelsens element) is the first feature film directed by noted Danish filmmaker Lars von Trier. ... Yoshitaro Nomura (野村芳太郎 Nomura Yoshitarō, born 23 April 1919 in Asakusa, Tokyo, Japan) is a Japanese film director. ... Insomnia is the name of two movies – a Norwegian original and an American remake – about a police officer investigating a murder above the Arctic Circle during the summer with the midnight sun. ... Croupier is a 1998 film starring Clive Owen as a croupier. ... Blind Shaft (Chinese: ; pinyin: Mángjǐng) is a 2003 film about a pair of brutal con artists operating in the illegal coal mines of present-day northern China. ...


Neo-noir and echoes of the classic mode

The 1960s and 1970s

While it is hard to draw a line between some of the noir films of the early 1960s such as Blast of Silence (1961) and Cape Fear (1962) and the noirs of the late 1950s, new trends emerged in the post-classic era. The Manchurian Candidate (1962), directed by John Frankenheimer, Shock Corridor (1962), directed by Samuel Fuller, and Brainstorm (1965), directed by experienced noir character actor William Conrad, all treat the theme of mental dispossession within stylistic and tonal frameworks derived from classic film noir. This article contains a trivia section. ... The Manchurian Candidate (1962) is a Cold War political thriller film adapted from the 1959 thriller novel, by Richard Condon, directed by John Frankenheimer, and features Frank Sinatra, Laurence Harvey, Angela Lansbury, and Janet Leigh. ... John Michael Frankenheimer (February 19, 1930 – July 6, 2002) was an American film director. ... Shock Corridor is a 1962 film which tells the story of a journalist who gets himself committed to a mental hospital in order to track the story of an unsolved murder. ... Brainstorm, released in 1965, is a late film noir whose male protagonist at first prevents the suicide of his employers wife, falls in love with her, and is later driven to crime and insanity. ... Conrad in Cannon William Conrad (September 27, 1920 – February 11, 1994), born William Cann, was an American actor and narrator in radio, film and television noted for his gifted use of a marvelous baritone voice, as well as for his sizable girth. ...


In a different vein, filmmakers such as Arthur Penn (Mickey One [1964], clearly drawing inspiration from Truffaut's Tirez sur la pianiste and other French New Wave films), John Boorman (Point Blank [1967], similarly caught up, though in the Nouvelle vague's deeper waters), and Alan J. Pakula (Klute [1971]) directed movies that knowingly related themselves to the original film noirs, inviting audiences in on the game. Conscious acknowledgment of the classic era's conventions, as historical archetypes to be revived, rejected, or reimagined, is what puts the "neo" in neo-noir, according to many critics. Though several late classic noirs, Kiss Me Deadly in particular, were entirely self-knowing and post-traditional in conception, none that were top- or midbudgeted (like Aldrich's masterpiece) tipped its hand in a way noticeable to most audiences of the time. The first broadly popular crime drama of an unmistakabe neo-noir nature was not a movie, but the TV series Peter Gunn (1958–61), created by Blake Edwards. Arthur Penn (born September 27, 1922 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) is a film director of thoughtful films that dont always find an audience. ... The New Wave (French: La Nouvelle Vague) was a blanket term coined by critics for a group of French filmmakers of the late 1950s and 1960s, influenced (in part) by Italian Neorealism. ... John Boorman (born January 18, 1933 in Shepperton, Surrey, United Kingdom), is a British filmmaker, currently based in Ireland, best known for his feature films such as Point Blank, Deliverance, Excalibur, and The General. ... Point Blank is a 1967 crime film directed by John Boorman and starring Lee Marvin and Angie Dickinson, adapted from the classic pulp novel The Hunter by Donald E. Westlake, writing as Richard Stark. ... The New Wave (French: La Nouvelle Vague) was a blanket term coined by critics for a group of French filmmakers of the late 1950s and 1960s, influenced (in part) by Italian Neorealism. ... Alan Jay Pakula (April 7, 1928 - November 19, 1998) was an American film producer, writer and director noted for his contributions to the conspiracy thriller genre. ... Klute is a 1971 film which tells the story of a prostitute who assists a detective in solving a mystery. ... Archetype is defined as the first original model of which all other similar persons, objects, or concepts are merely derivative, copied, patterned, or emulated. ... Robert Aldrich (August 9, 1918 – December 5, 1983) was a United States film director, writer and producer notable for a number of films including What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?, Hush, Hush, Sweet Charlotte, and The Dirty Dozen. ... Peter Gunn was an American private eye television series which aired on the NBC and later ABC television networks from 1958 to 1961. ... This article or section does not cite any references or sources. ...

Neo-noir/Take 1: As car thief Michel Poiccard, aka Laszlo Kovacs, Jean-Paul Belmondo does his best Bogey in À bout de souffle (Breathless; 1960), written and directed by Jean-Luc Godard from a story by François Truffaut.
Neo-noir/Take 1: As car thief Michel Poiccard, aka Laszlo Kovacs, Jean-Paul Belmondo does his best Bogey in À bout de souffle (Breathless; 1960), written and directed by Jean-Luc Godard from a story by François Truffaut.

A manifest affiliation with noir traditions—which, by its nature, allows for different sorts of commentary on them to be inferred—can also provide the basis for explicit critiques of those traditions. The first major film to work this angle (that might be thought of as the most "neo" of "neo") was French director Jean-Luc Godard's À bout de souffle (Breathless; 1960), which pays its literal respects to Bogart and his crime films while brandishing a bold new style for a new day. In 1973, director Robert Altman, who had worked on Peter Gunn, flipped off noir piety with The Long Goodbye. Based on the novel by Raymond Chandler, it features one of Bogart's most famous characters, but in iconoclastic fashion: Philip Marlowe, the prototypical hardboiled detective, is replayed as a hapless misfit, almost laughably out of touch with contemporary mores and morality. Where Altman's subversion of the film noir mythos was so irreverent as to anger many contemporary critics, around the same time Woody Allen was paying affectionate, at points idolatrous homage to the classic mode with Play It Again, Sam (1972). Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ... Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ... Jean-Paul Belmondo (nicknamed Bébel) (born April 9, 1933 in Neuilly-sur-Seine, west of Paris), is a French actor. ... Bogart redirects here. ... Breathless was the English language title given to the French film À bout de souffle, (literally, At the end of breath), directed by Jean-Luc Godard and released in 1960, becoming one of the best-known films of the French New Wave. ... Jean-Luc Godard (French IPA: ) (born 3 December 1930) is a French filmmaker and one of the most influential members of the Nouvelle Vague, or French New Wave. Born to Franco-Swiss parents in Paris, he was educated in Nyon, Switzerland, later studying at the Lycée Rohmer, and the... François Roland Truffaut (French IPA: ) (February 6, 1932 – October 21, 1984) was one of the founders of the French New Wave in filmmaking, and remains an icon of the French film industry. ... Jean-Luc Godard (French IPA: ) (born 3 December 1930) is a French filmmaker and one of the most influential members of the Nouvelle Vague, or French New Wave. Born to Franco-Swiss parents in Paris, he was educated in Nyon, Switzerland, later studying at the Lycée Rohmer, and the... Breathless was the English language title given to the French film À bout de souffle, (literally, At the end of breath), directed by Jean-Luc Godard and released in 1960, becoming one of the best-known films of the French New Wave. ... For other persons named Robert Altman, see Robert Altman (disambiguation). ... The Long Goodbye is a 1973 film adaptation of Raymond Chandlers novel The Long Goodbye. ... Statues in the Cathedral of Saint Martin, Utrecht, attacked in Reformation iconoclasm in the 16th century. ... Mores are strongly held norms or customs. ... Play It Again, Sam was a play and 1972 film written by and starring Woody Allen, originally entitled Aspirins for Three. ...


The most acclaimed of the neo-noirs of the era was director Roman Polanski's 1974 Chinatown. Written by Robert Towne, it is set in 1930s Los Angeles, an accustomed noir locale nudged back some few years in a way that makes the pivotal loss of innocence in the story even crueler. Where Polanski and Towne raised noir to a black apogee by turning rearward, director Martin Scorsese and screenwriter Paul Schrader brought the noir attitude crashing into the present day with Taxi Driver (1976), a cackling, bloody-minded gloss on bicentennial America. In 1978, Walter Hill wrote and directed the The Driver, a chase movie as might have been imagined by Jean-Pierre Melville in an especially abstract mood. Hill was already a central figure in 1970s noir of a more straightforward manner, having written the script for director Sam Peckinpah's The Getaway (1972), adapting a novel by pulp master Jim Thompson, as well as for two tough private eye films: an original screenplay for Hickey & Boggs (1972) and an adaptation of a novel by Ross Macdonald, the leading literary descendant of Hammett and Chandler, for The Drowning Pool (1975). Some of the strongest 1970s noirs, in fact, were unwinking remakes of the classics, "neo" mostly be default: Altman's heartbreaking Thieves Like Us (1973), based on the same source as Ray's They Live by Night, and Farewell, My Lovely (1975), the Chandler tale made classically as Murder, My Sweet, remade here with Robert Mitchum in his last notable noir role. Detective series, prevalent on American television during the period, updated the hardboiled tradition in different ways, but the show conjuring the most noir tone was a horror crossover touched with shaggy, Long Goodbye–style humor: Kolchak: The Night Stalker (1974–75), featuring a Chicago newspaper reporter investigating strange, usually supernatural occurrences. Roman Polanski (born August 18, 1933) is an Academy Award-winning film director, writer, actor, and producer. ... Chinatown is a 1974 film directed by Roman Polanski featuring many elements of the film noir genre, particularly a multi-layered story that is part mystery and part psychological drama. ... Towne in the 1960 movie Last Woman on Earth Robert Towne (born November 23, 1934) is an American actor, screenwriter and director. ... Martin Marcantonio Luciano Scorsese (IPA: AmE: ; Ita: []) (b. ... Paul Joseph Schrader (born July 22, 1946 in Grand Rapids, Michigan) is an American screenwriter and film director. ... This article is about the 1976 American film. ... Walter Hill (born California 1942) is a prominent American film director. ... The Driver is a 1978 crime film directed by Walter Hill and starring Ryan ONeal, Bruce Dern, and Isabelle Adjani. ... David Samuel Sam Peckinpah (February 21, 1925 – December 28, 1984) was an American film director who achieved iconic status following the release of his 1969 Western epic The Wild Bunch. ... This article is about the 1972 film. ... James Myers Thompson (September 27, 1906, Anadarko, Oklahoma Territory–April 7, 1977, Los Angeles, California) was an American writer of short stories, screenplays and novels, largely of the pulp fiction kind. ... This article is about Ross Macdonald, the author. ... The Drowning Pool is a 1975 film based Ross Macdonalds novel, starring Paul Newman, Melanie Griffith, and Richard Jaeckel. ... Thieves Like Us is a 1974 film directed by Robert Altman and starring Keith Carradine and Shelley Duvall. ... {{Infobox Film | name = Farewell, My Lovely | image = Farewell_1975_film_tie-in. ... Darren McGavin as Kolchak in The Night Stalker (1972) Kolchak: The Night Stalker is a television series that aired on ABC in 1974, about a newpaper reporter -- Carl Kolchak, played by Darren McGavin -- who investigates crimes with mysterious and unlikely causes that the proper authorities wont accept. ...


The 1980s through the present

Neo-noir/Take 2: Sharon Stone as Catherine Tramell, a femme fatale for the 1990s—and the ages—in the smash box-office hit Basic Instinct (1992). She is seen here under interrogation, preparing to open up.
Neo-noir/Take 2: Sharon Stone as Catherine Tramell, a femme fatale for the 1990s—and the ages—in the smash box-office hit Basic Instinct (1992). She is seen here under interrogation, preparing to open up.

The turn of the decade brought Scorsese's black-and-white Raging Bull (cowritten by Schrader); an acknowledged masterpiece—often voted the greatest film of the 1980s in critics' polls—it is also a retreat, telling a story of a boxer's moral self-destruction that recalls in both theme and visual ambience noir dramas such as Body and Soul (1947) and Champion (1949). From 1981, the popular Body Heat, written and directed by Lawrence Kasdan, invokes a different set of classic noir elements, this time in a humid, erotically charged Florida setting; its success confirmed the commercial viability of neo-noir, at a time when the major Hollywood studios were becoming increasingly risk averse. The mainstreaming of neo-noir is evident in such films as Black Widow (1987), Shattered (1991), and Final Analysis (1992). Few neo-noirs have made more money or more wittily updated the tradition of the noir double-entendre than Basic Instinct (1992), directed by Paul Verhoeven and written by Joe Eszterhas. Over the past twenty-five years, the big-budget auteur to work most frequently in a neo-noir mode has been Michael Mann, with the films Thief (1981), Heat (1995), and Collateral (2004), and the 1980s TV series Miami Vice and Crime Story. Mann's output exemplifies a primary strain of neo-noir, in which classic themes and tropes are revisited in a contemporary setting with an up-to-date visual style and rock- or hip hop–based musical soundtrack. Like Chinatown, its more complex predecessor, Curtis Hanson's Oscar-winning L.A. Confidential (1997), based on the James Ellroy novel, demonstrates an opposite tendency—the deliberately retro film noir; its tale of corrupt cops and femme fatales is seemingly lifted straight from a movie of 1953, the year in which it is set. Image File history File links StoneSmoking. ... Image File history File links StoneSmoking. ... Sharon Vonne Stone (born March 10, 1958) is an American actress, producer, and former fashion model. ... Basic Instinct is a 1992 thriller film, directed by Paul Verhoeven and written by Joe Eszterhas. ... This article is about the 1980 film. ... Body and Soul is a film made in 1947 film noir film which tells the story of a boxer who becomes involved with a corrupt promoter. ... Champion is a 1949 American film noir drama based on a short story by Ring Lardner. ... Body Heat is a 1981 neo-noir film written and directed by Lawrence Kasdan. ... Lawrence Kasdan (born 14 January 1949, Miami, Florida) is an American movie producer, director and screenwriter. ... Black Widow is a 1987 Neo-noir film starring Debra Winger, Theresa Russell, Sami Frey, and Dennis Hopper, about two women: one who murders wealthy men whom she marries for their money, and the other an agent with the Department of Justice who grows obsessed with bringing her to justice. ... Shattered is a 1991 film starring Tom Berenger, Greta Scacchi, Bob Hoskins, Joanne Whalley, Corbin Bernsen and Scott Getlin. ... Final Analysis is neo-noir drama, directed by Phil Joanou and executive produced by Richard Gere. ... Basic Instinct is a 1992 thriller film, directed by Paul Verhoeven and written by Joe Eszterhas. ... Paul Verhoeven (IPA: [pÊŒul vÉ›rhuvÉ™n]) (born July 18, 1938 in Amsterdam) is a Dutch film director, screenwriter, and film producer. ... Josef Eszterhas (born November 23, 1944) is a controversial Hungarian-American writer, best known for his screenplays for the films Basic Instinct and Showgirls. ... Michael Kenneth Mann (born February 5, 1943 in Chicago) is an American film director, screenwriter, and producer. ... Thief is a 1981 noir crime drama written and directed by Michael Mann, based on the novel The Home Invaders by Frank Hohimer (the pen name of real-life jewel thief John Seybold). ... Heat is an American made crime/thriller/drama film released on December 15, 1995. ... Collateral is a 2004 Academy Award-nominated Dreamworks SKG/Paramount Pictures American drama/thriller/crime film directed by Michael Mann and written by Stuart Beattie, with un-credited rewrites by Mann and Frank Darabont. ... For the 2006 movie, see Miami Vice (film). ... Crime Story was an NBC TV drama created by Gustave Reininger and Chuck Adamson. ... This article is about the genre. ... Hip hop music is a style of music which came into existence in the United States during the mid-1970s, and became a large part of modern pop culture during the 1980s. ... In film formats, the soundtrack is the physical area of the film which records the synchronized sound. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... This article is about the film. ... James Ellroy (born Lee Earle Ellroy on March 4, 1948 in Los Angeles, California) is an American writer. ...


Working generally with much smaller budgets, brothers Joel and Ethan Coen have created one of the most substantial film oeuvres influenced by classic noir, with movies such as Blood Simple (1984) and Fargo (1996), considered by some a supreme work in the neo-noir mode. The Coens' most recent nod to the noir tradition is The Man Who Wasn't There (2001); a black-and-white crime melodrama set in 1949, it features a scene apparently staged to mirror the one from Out of the Past pictured above. The Coens cross noir with other generic lines in the gangster drama Miller's Crossing (1990)—loosely based on the Dashiell Hammett novels Red Harvest and The Glass Key—and the comedy The Big Lebowski (1998), a tribute to Chandler and an homage to Altman's version of The Long Goodbye. Joel and Ethan Coen at Cannes 2001 Joel and Ethan Coen, commonly known as The Coen Brothers have written and directed numerous successful films, such as comedies O Brother Where Art Thou, Raising Arizona and The Big Lebowski, as well as darker film noir dramas such as Fargo, Millers... Blood Simple is a neo-noir film, the debut of Joel and Ethan Coen, writers and directors of Fargo, The Man Who Wasnt There, and Raising Arizona, among others. ... Fargo is a 1996 American crime-comedy-drama film written, directed and produced by the Coen Brothers. ... For other uses, see The Man Who Wasnt There (disambiguation). ... For the Stargate Atlantis episode, see Millers Crossing (Stargate Atlantis). ... The novel The Glass Key is a novel by Dashiell Hammett, said to be his favorite among his works. ... The Big Lebowski, a 1998 comedy film written by Joel and Ethan Coen and directed by Joel Coen, chronicles a few days in the life of a burned-out, unemployed California slacker after he is mistaken for a millionaire with the same name. ...


Perhaps no contemporary films better reflect the classic noir A-movie-with-a-B-movie-soul than those of director-writer Quentin Tarantino; neo-noirs of his such as Reservoir Dogs (1992) and Pulp Fiction (1994) display a relentlessly self-reflexive, sometimes tongue-in-cheek sensibility, similar to the work of the New Wave directors and the Coens. Other movies from the era readily identifiable as neo-noir (some retro, some more au courant) include director John Dahl's Kill Me Again (1989), Red Rock West (1992), and The Last Seduction (1993); four adaptations of novels by Jim Thompson—The Kill-Off (1989), After Dark, My Sweet (1990), The Grifters (1990), and the remake of The Getaway (1994); and many more, including adaptations of the work of other major noir fiction writers: The Hot Spot (1990), from Hell Hath No Fury, by Charles Williams; Miami Blues (1990), from the novel by Charles Willeford; and Out of Sight (1998), from the novel by Elmore Leonard. On television, the series Moonlighting (1985–89) paid homage to classic noir while demonstrating an unusual appreciation of the sense of humor often found in the original cycle. Between 1983 and 1989, Mickey Spillane's hardboiled private eye Mike Hammer was played with wry gusto by Stacy Keach in a series and several stand-alone TV movies (an unsuccessful revival followed in 1997–98). The British miniseries The Singing Detective (1986), written by Dennis Potter, tells the story of a mystery writer named Philip Marlow; widely considered one of the finest neo-noirs in any medium, some critics cite it as the greatest television production of all time. Quentin Jerome Tarantino (born March 27, 1963) is an Academy Award- and Palme dOr-winning American film director, screenwriter and actor. ... For the video game based on the film, see Reservoir Dogs (video game). ... Pulp Fiction is a 1994 film by director Quentin Tarantino, who cowrote the film with Roger Avary. ... John Dahl (born 1956) is an American film director and screenwriter, best known for the neo-noir films Kill Me Again, Red Rock West, and The Last Seduction. ... Fay Forrester (Joanne Whalley) is an attractive young lady who wants to escape from her violent and jealous boyfriend Vince (Michael Madsen). ... VHS cover of Red Rock West Red Rock West is a 1992 film directed by John Dahl. ... The Last Seduction is a film made in 1994 that stars Linda Fiorentino, Peter Berg and Bill Pullman. ... The Kill-Off is a neo-noir written and directed by Maggie Greenwald. ... Jason Patric, Bruce Dern and Rachel Ward in After Dark, My Sweet (1990) After Dark, My Sweet (1990) is a neo-noir film directed by James Foley starring Jason Patric, Bruce Dern, and Rachel Ward. ... The Grifters is a 1990 neo-noir film directed by Stephen Frears. ... The Getaway is a 1994 remake of the 1972 classic. ... The Hot Spot is a 1990 American drama/romance movie directed by Dennis Hopper and starring Don Johnson, Virginia Madsen, and Jennifer Connelly. ... Charles Williams Charles Williams (August 13, 1909 – ca. ... Miami Blues is a 1990 film which stars Alec Baldwin. ... Charles Willeford Charles Willeford was born 2 January 1919 in Little Rock, Arkansas. ... Out of Sight is a 1998 movie directed by Steven Soderbergh. ... Elmore John Leonard Jr. ... Look up moonlighting in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... Frank Morrison Spillane (March 9, 1918 – July 17, 2006), better known as Mickey Spillane, was an American author of crime novels, many featuring his signature detective character, Mike Hammer. ... Stacy Keach (born Walter Stacy Keach, Jr. ... Mickey Spillanes Mike Hammer was the title used for two television series about the fictional private detective Mike Hammer, the creation of American crime author Mickey Spillane. ... The Singing Detective The Singing Detective was a 1986 BBC television miniseries, written by Dennis Potter and starring Michael Gambon. ... Liber Amoris Dennis Christopher George Potter (17 May 1935—7 June 1994) was a controversial British dramatist who is best known for several widely acclaimed television dramas which mixed fantasy and reality, the personal and the social. ...

Neo-noir/Take 3: Joseph Gordon-Levitt in Brick (2005). The movie's characters, most of them high-school students, speak as if they learned English from Hammett and Chandler.
Neo-noir/Take 3: Joseph Gordon-Levitt in Brick (2005). The movie's characters, most of them high-school students, speak as if they learned English from Hammett and Chandler.

Among the leading Hollywood directors of noir during the current decade has been the British-born Christopher Nolan, with the fantastically twisted Memento (2000), the remake of Insomnia (2002), and Batman Begins (2005), his dark-toned take on the superhero. Harsh Times (2006) is written and directed by David Ayer, also the screenwriter for Training Day (2001) and, adapting a story by James Ellroy, Dark Blue (2002). The latter two update the classic noir bad-cop tale, typified by Shield for Murder (1954) and Rogue Cop (1954). In 2005, Shane Black directed Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, basing his screenplay in part on a crime novel by Brett Halliday, who published his first stories back in the 1920s. The film plays with an awareness not only of classic noir but also of neo-noir reflexivity itself, making it a model neo²-noir. Director Sean Penn's The Pledge (2001), though adapted from a very self-reflexive novel by Friedrich Dürrenmatt, plays noir comparatively straight, to devastating effect. The most commercially successful of recent neo-noirs is Sin City (2005), directed by Robert Rodriguez in extravagantly stylized black and white with the odd bit of color. The film is based on a series of comic books created by Frank Miller (credited as the movie's codirector), which are in turn openly indebted to the works of Spillane and other pulp mystery authors. Similarly, graphic novels provide the basis for Road to Perdition (2002), directed by Sam Mendes, and A History of Violence (2005), directed by David Cronenberg; the latter, according to many critics, is the neo-noir of the decade. Writer-director Rian Johnson's Brick (2005), featuring present-day high schoolers speaking a version of 1930s hardboiled argot, won the Special Jury Prize for Originality of Vision at the Sundance Film Festival. The television series Veronica Mars (2004–7) also brought a youth-oriented twist to film noir. Image File history File links BrickScreenshot. ... Image File history File links BrickScreenshot. ... Joseph Leonard Gordon-Levitt (born February 17, 1981) is an American actor. ... Brick is an American film written and directed by Rian Johnson. ... Christopher Nolan (born July 30, 1970) is an Academy Award nominated film director, writer and producer. ... Memento is a neo-noir–psychological thriller film written and directed by Christopher Nolan, adapted from his brother Jonathans short story Memento Mori. ... This article is about the American remake. ... For the video game based on the film, see Batman Begins (video game). ... Harsh Times is an American 2006 crime film set in South Los Angeles. ... David Ayer is an American screenwriter, respected for his insight into the dual worlds of L.A. street life and submarines, both of which he knows very well. ... Training Day is an Academy Award-winning 2001 film starring Denzel Washington as Alonzo Harris, a corrupt Los Angeles police officer, and Ethan Hawke as Jake Hoyt, his new green recruit looking to become a part of Harris elite narcotics unit. ... Dark Blue is a 2002 film directed by Ron Shelton. ... Shane Black (born December 16, 1961) is an American actor, screenwriter and film director. ... For other uses, see Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (disambiguation). ... Brett Halliday (July 31, 1904 - February 4, 1977), primary pen name of Davis Dresser, was an American mystery writer, best known for the long_lived series of Mike Shayne novels he wrote, and later commissioned others to write. ... Sean Justin Penn (born August 17, 1960) // Penn was born in Santa Monica, California, the son of Leo Penn, an actor and director, and Eileen Ryan (née Annucci), an actress. ... Promotional poster for The Pledge The Pledge (2001) is a drama/thriller movie, directed by Sean Penn. ... Friedrich Dürrenmatt (January 5, 1921 – December 14, 1990) was a Swiss author and dramatist. ... Sin City is a 2005 film written, produced and directed by Frank Miller and Robert Rodriguez. ... For the American composer born 1946, see Robert Xavier Rodriguez. ... This article is about Frank Miller, the comic book writer and artist. ... Graphic novel (sometimes abbreviated GN) is a term for a kind of book, usually telling an extended story with sequential art ( comics). ... Road to Perdition is a graphic novel written by Max Allan Collins and illustrated by Richard Piers Rayner that was made into a motion picture of the same name in 2002. ... Samuel Alexander Mendes CBE (born 1 August 1965) is an English stage and film director. ... A History of Violence is 2005 film, directed by David Cronenberg. ... David Paul Cronenberg OC, FRSC (born March 15, 1943[2]) is a Canadian film director and occasional actor. ... Rian Johnson at Austin Film Festival 2005 Rian Craig Johnson (born 1973 in Maryland) is an American writer and director, who won the Special Jury Prize for Originality of Vision at the 2005 Sundance Film Festival with his debut feature, Brick. ... Brick is an American film written and directed by Rian Johnson. ... The Sundance Film Festival is a film festival in the state of Utah in the United States. ... This article is about the Veronica Mars television series. ...


Psycho-noir

Now it's dark: Night club chanteuse Dorothy Vallens, played by Isabella Rossellini, sings the title song in David Lynch’s Blue Velvet (1986).
Now it's dark: Night club chanteuse Dorothy Vallens, played by Isabella Rossellini, sings the title song in David Lynch’s Blue Velvet (1986).

The work of David Lynch—particularly Blue Velvet (1986), Lost Highway (1996), Mulholland Drive (2001), and the Twin Peaks cycle, both TV series (1990–91) and movie, Fire Walk with Me (1992)—shows the influence of film noir filtered through a uniquely individualistic vision. Featuring delusionary or sociopathic protagonists (or, in the case of Blue Velvet, a scene-devouring antagonist; in the Twin Peaks cycle, bizarro spasms at every turn), Lynch's most characteristic work has come to be grouped with others sharing similarly skewed centers of interest as "psycho-noir." Two of the earliest examples after Blue Velvet are literary adaptations directed by David Cronenberg, Naked Lunch (1991) and Crash (1996). Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ... Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ... Isabella Fiorella Elettra Giovanna Rossellini (born June 18, 1952) is an Italian actress, filmmaker, author, philanthropist, and model. ... For other persons named David Lynch, see David Lynch (disambiguation). ... Blue Velvet is an influential 1986 neo-noir mystery and thriller film written and directed by David Lynch. ... For other persons named David Lynch, see David Lynch (disambiguation). ... Blue Velvet is an influential 1986 neo-noir mystery and thriller film written and directed by David Lynch. ... For the Bon Jovi album, see Lost Highway (album). ... For the street in Los Angeles, see Mulholland Drive. ... For the hills in San Francisco, see Twin Peaks, San Francisco, California. ... Fire Walk With Me is a 1992 movie directed by David Lynch and starring Sheryl Lee, Ray Wise, Chris Isaak, Kiefer Sutherland, Mädchen Amick, Phoebe Augustine and Dana Ashbrook. ... Naked Lunch is a 1991 film by the Canadian director David Cronenberg. ... Crash is a 1996 film written and directed by David Cronenberg. ...


Director David Fincher followed the noir science fiction of Alien³ (1992) and the immensely successful neo-noir Se7en (1995) with a film that earns much greater regard today than it did on original release, the psycho-noir Fight Club (1999). Nolan's Memento, as well as his debut feature, the British Following (1998), may both be classified as psycho-noir. The torments of The Machinist (2004), directed by Brad Anderson, evoke both Fight Club and Memento. In the first decade of the new millennium, Park Chan-wook of South Korea has been the most prominent director to work regularly in a psycho-noir mode—a current of noir that can be traced back through Taxi Driver, through Brainstorm, through White Heat, all the way to Stranger on the Third Floor and further still, to Fritz Lang's original M. David Leo Fincher (born August 28, 1962) is an American film director and music video director known for his dark and stylish films, particularly Fight Club and Se7en. ... Alien³ is a science fiction/horror film that opened May 22, 1992. ... For the singer, see Se7en (singer). ... Fight Club is a 1999 American feature film adaptation of the 1996 novel Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk, adapted by Jim Uhls and directed by David Fincher. ... Memento is a neo-noir–psychological thriller film written and directed by Christopher Nolan, adapted from his brother Jonathans short story Memento Mori. ... Following is a film directed by Christopher Nolan in 1998 about a young man who follows people he sees on the streets. ... The Machinist (also known as El Maquinista) is an English-language Spanish psychological thriller film that was released in 2004. ... Brad Anderson (born 1924) is an American cartoonist. ... Park Chan-wook (born August 23, 1963 in Tanyan) is a South Korean director and screenwriter. ...


Science fiction noir

Night and the city: Harrison Ford as detective Rick Deckard in Blade Runner (1982). It may be 2019, but this is the world of noir, so it's still raining in Los Angeles.
Night and the city: Harrison Ford as detective Rick Deckard in Blade Runner (1982). It may be 2019, but this is the world of noir, so it's still raining in Los Angeles.

In the post-classic era, the most significant trend in noir crossovers has involved science fiction. In Jean-Luc Godard's Alphaville (1965), Lemmy Caution is the name of the old-school private eye in the city of tomorrow. The Groundstar Conspiracy (1972) centers on another implacable investigator and an amnesiac named Welles. Soylent Green (1973), the first major American example, portrays a dystopian, near-future world via a self-evidently noir detection plot; starring Charlton Heston (the lead in Touch of Evil), it also features classic noir standbys Joseph Cotten, Edward G. Robinson, and Whit Bissell. The movie was directed by Richard Fleischer, who two decades before had directed several strong B noirs, including Armored Car Robbery (1950) and The Narrow Margin (1952). Image File history File links BladeRunnerSS.jpg‎ screenshot from science-fiction film noir Blade Runner (1982), directed by Ridley Scott and starring Harrison Ford This image is a screenshot from a copyrighted film, and the copyright for it is most likely owned by the studio which produced the film, and... Image File history File links BladeRunnerSS.jpg‎ screenshot from science-fiction film noir Blade Runner (1982), directed by Ridley Scott and starring Harrison Ford This image is a screenshot from a copyrighted film, and the copyright for it is most likely owned by the studio which produced the film, and... For the silent film actor, see Harrison Ford (silent film actor). ... This article is about the 1982 film. ... Science fiction is a form of speculative fiction principally dealing with the impact of imagined science and technology, or both, upon society and persons as individuals. ... Alphaville is a 1965 black-and-white French science fiction film directed by Jean-Luc Godard. ... For the metal band, see Soilent Green. ... Charlton Heston (born October 4, 1924) is an US-american film actor, known for playing larger-than-life heroic roles such as Moses in The Ten Commandments, Colonel George Taylor in Planet of the Apes, and Judah Ben-Hur in Ben-Hur. ... Whit Bissell in the 1948 film He Walked by Night Whitner Nutting Bissell (25 October 1909 – 5 March 1996) was an American character actor. ... Richard Fleischer (born December 8, 1916) is an American film director. ... Charles McGraw in Armored Car Robbery Armored Car Robbery is a 1950 film shot in a semi-documentary style. ... The Narrow Margin is a 1952 film directed by Richard Fleischer and released by RKO Radio Pictures. ...


The cynical and stylish perspective of classic film noir had a formative effect on the cyberpunk genre of science fiction that emerged in the early 1980s; the movie most directly influential on cyberpunk was Blade Runner (1982), directed by Ridley Scott, which pays clear and evocative homage to the classic noir mode (Scott would subsequently direct the poignant noir crime melodrama Someone to Watch Over Me [1987]). Scholar Jamaluddin Bin Aziz has observed how "the shadow of Philip Marlowe lingers on" in such other "future noir" films as Twelve Monkeys (1995), Dark City (1998), and Minority Report (2002).[19] The hero is the target of investigation in Gattaca (1997), which fuses film noir motifs with a scenario indebted to Brave New World. The Thirteenth Floor (1999), like Blade Runner, is an explicit homage to classic noir, in this case involving speculations about virtual reality. Science fiction, noir, and animation are brought together in the Japanese films Ghost in the Shell (1995) and Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence (2004), both directed by Mamoru Oshii, and the short A Detective Story (2003), set in the Matrix universe. Berlins Sony Center reflects the global reach of a Japanese corporation. ... This article is about the 1982 film. ... Sir Ridley Scott (born November 30, 1937 in South Shields, South Tyneside) is a British film director and producer. ... Someone to Watch Over Me is an episode from the fifth season of Star Trek: Voyager. ... Ed Bishop had the title role in BBC Radios The Adventures of Philip Marlowe. ... Twelve Monkeys is a 1995 science fiction film written by David and Janet Peoples and directed by Terry Gilliam. ... Dark City is a 1998 science fiction film written by Alex Proyas, Lem Dobbs and David S. Goyer, and directed by Proyas. ... Minority Report is a 2002 science fiction film directed by Steven Spielberg, loosely based on the Philip K. Dick 1956 short story The Minority Report. It is set in the year 1895, when criminals are interviewed based on foreknowledge. ... Gattaca is a 1997 science fiction drama film written and directed by Andrew Niccol, starring Ethan Hawke, Uma Thurman and Jude Law with supporting roles played by Loren Dean, Gore Vidal and Alan Arkin. ... For other uses, see Brave New World (disambiguation). ... Movie Poster The Thirteenth Floor is a 1999 film released to cinemas in Germany and the United States (as The 13th Floor). ... This article is about the simulation technology. ... The bouncing ball animation (below) consists of these 6 frames. ... This article contains a plot summary that is overly long or excessively detailed. ... Batou, the protagonist. ... Urusei Yatsura 2: Beautiful Dreamer Mamoru Oshii (押井守 Oshii Mamoru; born August 8, 1951 in Tokyo) is a Japanese animation and live-action film writer and director famous for his philosophy-orietned storytelling. ... A Detective Story is an animated short film set in the universe of The Matrix. ... Animatrix The Animatrix is a major part of the Matrix series, a collection of nine animated short films set in that fictional universe. ...


Film noir parodies

Film noir has been parodied many times, in many manners. In 1945, Danny Kaye starred in what appears to be the first intentional film noir parody, Wonder Man. That same year, Deanna Durbin was the singing lead in the comedic noir Lady on a Train, which makes fun of Woolrich-brand wistful miserablism. Bob Hope inaugurated the private-eye noir parody with My Favorite Brunette (1947), playing a baby photographer who is mistaken for an ironfisted detective. The Big Steal (1949), directed by Don Siegel, and His Kind of Woman, both of which benefit from the services of a slyly self-aware Robert Mitchum, are clear examples of the classic film noir parodying itself. The "Girl Hunt" ballet in Vincente Minnelli's The Band Wagon (1953) is a ten-minute distillation of—and play on—noir in dance. Carl Reiner's "cut and paste" noir farce, the black-and-white Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid (1982), is among the best known of the obviously comedic latter-day parodies. Robert Zemeckis's 1988 Who Framed Roger Rabbit? develops a noir plot set in 1940s L.A. around a host of cartoon characters. Kaye entertaining U.S. troops at Sasebo, Japan, 25 Oct 1945 David Daniel Kaminsky, known as Danny Kaye (January 18, 1913 – March 3, 1987) was an American actor, singer and comedian. ... Wonder Man is a 1945 movie starring Danny Kaye and Virginia Mayo. ... Deanna Durbin (born Edna Mae Durbin on December 4, 1921, in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, to English immigrant parents) was a popular young singer and actress in Hollywood films of the 1930s and 1940s. ... Lady on a Train is a black-and-white comedy shot in film noir style. ... Bob Hope, KBE (May 29, 1903 – July 27, 2003), born Leslie Townes Hope, was an English-Born American entertainer who appeared in vaudeville, on Broadway, on radio and television, in movies, and in performing tours for U.S. Military personnel, well known for his good natured humor and career longevity. ... My Favorite Brunette is a 1947 movie starring Bob Hope and Dorothy Lamour. ... The Big Steal is a 1949 black-and-white film noir/comedy reteaming Out of the Past stars Robert Mitchum and Jane Greer. ... Don Siegel (October 26, 1912 - April 20, 1991) was an influential American film director. ... Vincente Minnelli (February 28, 1903 – July 25, 1986) was a famous Hollywood director and accomplished stage director, often considered by critics to be the father of the modern musical. ... The Band Wagon is a musical comedy film, released by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer in 1953, which tells the story of an aging musical star who wants to star in a Broadway play that will restart his career. ... Carl Reiner (born March 20, 1922) is an American actor, film director, producer, writer and comedian. ... The word pastiche describes a literary or other artistic genre. ... Look up farce in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... Dead Men Dont Wear Plaid was a movie first released in 1982. ... Robert Lee Bob Zemeckis (born May 14, 1952) is an Academy Award and Golden Globe-winning American movie director, producer and writer. ... Who Framed Roger Rabbit is a movie that combines animation and live action, and is a unique chance to see many cartoons from different studios in a single film. ...

"Loneliness has followed me my whole life, everywhere. In bars, in cars, sidewalks, stores, everywhere. There's no escape. I'm God's lonely man." Robert De Niro as neo-noir ultra-anti-hero Travis Bickle in Taxi Driver (1976).
"Loneliness has followed me my whole life, everywhere. In bars, in cars, sidewalks, stores, everywhere. There's no escape. I'm God's lonely man." Robert De Niro as neo-noir ultra-anti-hero Travis Bickle in Taxi Driver (1976).

Noir parodies come in darker tones as well. Murder by Contract (1958), directed by Irving Lerner, is an eighty-one-minute-long deadpan joke on noir, with a denouement as bleak as any of the movies it kids. An ultra-low-budget Columbia Pictures production, it may qualify as the first intentional example of what is now called a neo-noir film; it certainly seems to have been a source of inspiration for Melville's acclaimed Le Samouraï. Taxi Driver, one of the quintessential 1970s neo-noirs, caustically deconstructs the "dark" crime film, taking it to an absurd extreme and then offering a conclusion that manages to mock every possible anticipated ending—triumphant, tragic, artfully ambivalent—while being each, all at once. Flirting with splatter status even more brazenly, the Coens' Blood Simple is both an exacting pastiche and an outrageous exaggeration of classic noir. Adapted by director Robinson Devor from a novel by Charles Willeford, The Woman Chaser (1999) sends up not just the noir mode but the entire Hollywood filmmaking process, with seemingly each shot staged as the visual equivalent of a Marlowe wisecrack—funny, but it smarts. Image File history File links TaxiDriver1. ... Image File history File links TaxiDriver1. ... Robert Mario De Niro, Jr. ... This article is about the 1976 American film. ... The Columbia Pictures logo from 1993 to the present Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc. ... Deconstruction is a term in contemporary philosophy, literary criticism, and the social sciences, denoting a process by which the texts and languages of Western philosophy (in particular) appear to shift and complicate in meaning when read in light of the assumptions and absences they reveal within themselves. ... Poster art for Blood Feast (1963) A splatter film or gore film is a type of horror film that deliberately focuses on graphic portrayals of gore and graphic violence. ... The word pastiche describes a literary or other artistic genre. ... Charles Willeford Charles Willeford was born 2 January 1919 in Little Rock, Arkansas. ... The Woman Chaser is a 1999 film by director Robinson Devor, starring Patrick Warburton. ...


In other media, the television series Sledge Hammer! (1986–88) lampoons noir, along with Dirty Harry, capital punishment, and anything else available. Sesame Street (1969–curr.) occasionally casts Kermit the Frog as a private eye; the sketches refer to some of the typical motifs of noir movies, in particular the voiceover. Garrison Keillor's radio program A Prairie Home Companion features the recurring character Guy Noir, a hardboiled detective whose adventures always wander into farce (Guy also appears in the Altman-directed film based on Keillor's show). Firesign Theatre's Nick Danger has trod the same not-so-mean streets, both on radio and in comedy albums. Cartoons such as Garfield's Babes and Bullets (1989) and comic strip characters such as Tracer Bullet of Calvin and Hobbes have parodied both film noir and the kindred hardboiled tradition—one of the sources from which film noir sprang and which it now overshadows. Sledge Hammer! was a satirical police sitcom produced by New World Television that ran for two seasons on ABC from 1986 to 1988. ... Dirty Harry Francis Callahan is a fictional San Francisco Police Department inspector in the films Dirty Harry (1971), Magnum Force (1973), The Enforcer (1976), Sudden Impact (1983), and The Dead Pool (1988). ... Capital punishment, or the death penalty, is the execution of a convicted criminal by the state as punishment for crimes known as capital crimes or capital offences. ... Sesame Street is an American educational childrens television series for preschoolers and is a pioneer of the contemporary educational television standard, combining both education and entertainment. ... Kermit the Frog is a Muppet, one of puppeteer Jim Hensons most famous and beloved creations, first introduced in 1955. ... Garrison Keillor (born Gary Edward Keillor on August 7, 1942 in Anoka, Minnesota) is an American author, storyteller, humorist, columnist, musician, satirist, and radio personality. ... This article is about the radio show. ... Guy Noir is a fictional private detective regularly featured on the public radio show A Prairie Home Companion. ... A Prairie Home Companion (previously known as The Last Broadcast) is a 2006 ensemble comedy film elegy directed by Robert Altman, his final film released just five months before his death. ... The Firesign Theatre are a comedy troupe consisting of Phil Austin, Peter Bergman, David Ossman, and Philip Proctor. ... Garfields Babes and Bullets is a half-hour animated special based on the Garfield comic strip. ... This article is about the comic strip, the sequential art form as published in newspapers and on the Internet. ... Listen to this article (3 parts) (info) Part 1 â€¢ Part 2 â€¢ Part 3 This audio file was created from an article revision dated 2006-01-29, and may not reflect subsequent edits to the article. ...


Approaches to defining noir

The history of film noir criticism has seen fundamental questions become matters of controversy unusually intense for such a field. Where aesthetic debates tend to concentrate on the quality and meaning of specific artworks and the intentions and influences of their creators, in film noir, the debates are regularly much broader. Four large questions may be identified, two of them addressed at the beginning of this article:

Still up in the air: Some consider Vertigo (1958) a noir on the basis of plot and tone and various motifs. Others say the combination of color and the specificity of director Alfred Hitchcock's vision exclude it from the category.
Still up in the air: Some consider Vertigo (1958) a noir on the basis of plot and tone and various motifs. Others say the combination of color and the specificity of director Alfred Hitchcock's vision exclude it from the category.
  • What defines film noir?
  • What sort of category is it?

A third question applies at a more specific level, but is sweeping: For other uses of the word, see Vertigo. ... Sir Alfred Joseph Hitchcock KBE (August 13, 1899 â€“ April 29, 1980) was an iconic and highly influential British-born film director and producer who pioneered many techniques in the suspense and thriller genres. ...

  • Which movies qualify as film noirs?

This article refers to movies from the classic period as "film noir" if there is a critical consensus supporting that designation. That consensus is almost never complete and is in many cases provisional: The Lost Weekend and The Night of the Hunter, for instance, are now routinely referred to as film noirs, but they were seldom considered as such a quarter-century ago. The process is ongoing: today, a growing number of critics refer to Suspicion (1941), directed by Hitchcock, and Casablanca (1942), directed by Curtiz, as film noirs. Outside of the classic period, consensus is much rarer—movies are considered as noir herein if a substantial number of critics have discussed them as such. In order to decide which films are noir (and which are not), many critics refer to a set of elements they see as marking examples of the mode. This leads to a fourth major point of controversy in the field, one that overlaps with all those noted above:

  • What are the identifying characteristics of film noirs?

For instance, some critics insist that a film noir, to be authentic, must have a bleak conclusion (e.g., Criss Cross or D.O.A.), but many acknowledged classics of the genre have clearly happy endings (e.g., Stranger on the Third Floor, The Big Sleep, Dark Passage, and The Dark Corner), while the tone of many other noir denouements is ambivalent, in a variety of ways. The ambition of this section, then, can be no more than modest: it is an attempt to survey those characteristics most often cited by critics as representative of classic film noirs. As diverse as that set of movies is, the diversity of films from outside the classic period that have been discussed as noir is so great that any similar survey would be impractical; however, those classic noir identifying marks often referenced in neo-noirs—however frequently or seldom they actually appeared in the original films—are noted as are certain signal trends of the latter-day mode.1 Denouement, in literature, is the end part of a story after the climax. ...


Visual style

Forget it, Jake. It's...the blinds. Private eye Jake Gittes, performed by Jack Nicholson, undergoes some old-school shadowcasting in Chinatown (1974).
Forget it, Jake. It's...the blinds. Private eye Jake Gittes, performed by Jack Nicholson, undergoes some old-school shadowcasting in Chinatown (1974).

Film noirs tended to use low-key lighting schemes producing stark light/dark contrasts and dramatic shadow patterning. The shadows of Venetian blinds or banister rods, cast upon an actor, a wall, or an entire set, are an iconic visual in film noir and had already become a cliché well before the neo-noir era. Characters' faces may be partially or wholly obscured by darkness—a relative rarity in conventional Hollywood moviemaking. While black-and-white cinematography is considered by many to be one of the essential attributes of classic noir, color films such as Leave Her to Heaven (1945), Niagara (1953), Slightly Scarlet, and Vertigo (1958) are regarded as noir by varying numbers of critics. Image File history File links JackBlinds. ... Image File history File links JackBlinds. ... John Joseph Nicholson (born April 22, 1937), known as Jack Nicholson, is a three time Academy Award-winning American actor internationally renowned for his often dark-themed portrayals of neurotic characters. ... Chinatown is a 1974 film directed by Roman Polanski featuring many elements of the film noir genre, particularly a multi-layered story that is part mystery and part psychological drama. ... A Black and White low-key portrait. ... Left side of the image has low contrast, the right has higher contrast. ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ... Leave Her to Heaven is a 1945 20th Century Fox film noir motion picture starring Gene Tierney, Cornel Wilde, and Jeanne Crain, with Vincent Price, Darryl Hickman, and Chill Wills. ... Released in 1953, Niagara is a dramatic thriller with film noir elements. ... For other uses of the word, see Vertigo. ...


Film noir is also known for its use of Dutch angles, low-angle shots, and wide-angle lenses. Other devices of disorientation relatively common in film noir include shots of people reflected in one or more mirrors, shots through curved or frosted glass or other distorting objects (such as during the strangulation scene in Strangers on a Train), and special effects sequences of a sometimes bizarre nature. Beginning in the late 1940s, location shooting—often involving night-for-night sequences—became increasingly frequent in noir. A Dutch tilt, Dutch angle, oblique angle, German angle, canted angle or Batman Angle is a cinematic tactic often used to portray the psychological uneasiness or tension in the subject being filmed. ... Low Angle Shots are usualy when the camera is down low (often knee height)and the shot is upwards. ... One of Canons most popular wide-angle lenses - 17-40 mm f/4 L retrofocus zoom lens. ... Location shooting is the practice of filming in an actual setting rather than on a sound stage or back lot. ... Night-for-Night shooting is a film term, where the film is shot at night; representing night. ...


In an analysis of the visual approach of Kiss Me Deadly, a late and self-consciously stylized example of classic noir, critic Alain Silver describes how cinematographic choices emphasize the story's themes and mood. In one scene, the characters, seen through a "confusion of angular shapes," thus appear "caught in a tangible vortex or enclosed in a trap." Silver makes a case for how "[s]ide light is used...to reflect character ambivalence," while shots of characters in which they are lit from below "conform to a convention of visual expression which associates shadows cast upward of the face with the unnatural and ominous."[20]


Structure and narrational devices

Film noirs tend to have unusually convoluted story lines, frequently involving flashbacks, flashforwards, and other techniques that disrupt and sometimes obscure the narrative sequence. Voiceover narration—most characteristically by the protagonist, less frequently by a secondary character or by an unseen, omniscient narrator—is sometimes used as a structuring device. Both flashbacks and voiceover narration are today often used in movies looking to quickly establish their neo-noir bona fides. Bold experiments in cinematic storytelling were sometimes attempted in noir: Lady in the Lake, for example, is shot entirely from the point of view of protagonist Philip Marlowe; the face of star (and director) Robert Montgomery is seen only in mirrors. The Chase (1946) takes oneirism and fatalism as the basis for its fantastical narrative system, redolent of certain horror stories, but with little precedent in the context of a putatively realistic genre. In their different ways, both Sunset Boulevard and D.O.A. are tales told by dead men. Latter-day noir has been in the forefront of structural experimentation in popular cinema, as exemplified by such films as Pulp Fiction and Memento. 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. ... A flashforward (also sometimes known as flash-forward or flash-ahead) in a narrative occurs when one or more scenes representing an event expected, projected or imagined to occur at a time later than the present depiction (see also Glossary: Flashforward). ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ... A point of view shot (also known as POV shot) is a short scene in a film that shows what a character is looking at. ... Robert Montgomery (May 21, 1904 – September 27, 1981) was an American actor and director. ... The Chase is a 1946 movie, shot in black and white, directed by Arthur Ripley. ... Daydreaming redirects here. ...


Plots, characters, and settings

Crime, usually murder, is an element of almost all film noirs; in addition to standard-issue greed, jealousy is frequently the criminal motivation. A crime investigation—by a private eye, a police detective (sometimes acting alone), or a concerned amateur—is the most prevalent, but far from dominant, basic plot. In other common plots the protagonists are implicated in heists or con games, or in murderous conspiracies often involving adulterous affairs. False suspicions and accusations of crime are frequent plot elements, as are betrayals and double-crosses. Amnesia is far more common in film noir than in real life, and cigarette smoking can seem virtually mandatory. A heist film is a movie that has an intricate plot woven around a group of people trying to steal something. ... Scam and Confidence Man redirect here. ... For other uses, see Amnesia (disambiguation). ...

Pursued (1947): A Western adopting noir style, or a film noir set in the Wild West?
Pursued (1947): A Western adopting noir style, or a film noir set in the Wild West?

Film noirs tend to revolve around heroes who are more flawed and morally questionable than the norm, often fall guys of one sort or another. The characteristic heroes of noir are described by many critics as "alienated"; in the words of Silver and Ward, "filled with existential bitterness."[21] Certain archetypal characters appear in many film noirs—hardboiled detectives, femmes fatales, corrupt policemen, jealous husbands, intrepid claims adjusters, and down-and-out writers. As can be observed in many movies of an overtly neo-noir nature, the private eye and the femme fatale are the character types with which film noir has come to be most identified, but only a minority of movies now regarded as classic noir feature either. For example, of the nineteen National Film Registry noirs, in only four does the star play a private eye: The Maltese Falcon, The Big Sleep, Out of the Past, and Kiss Me Deadly. Just two others readily qualify as detective stories: Laura and Touch of Evil. Image File history File links PursuedPoster. ... Image File history File links PursuedPoster. ... Pursued is a 1947 film noir starring Robert Mitchum, with support by Teresa Wright, Judith Anderson, and Dean Jagger. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... The cowboy, the quintessential symbol of the American Old West, circa 1887. ... A fall guy is a scapegoat, a person who takes the blame for someone elses actions, or someone at the butt of jokes. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... Existentialism is a philosophical movement that posits that individuals create the meaning and essence of their lives, as opposed to deities or authorities creating it for them. ... Claims adjuster is a term used to describe someone who evaluates the damage caused to property or people when an insurance related accident occurs. ...


Film noir is often associated with an urban setting, and a few cities—Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York, and Chicago, in particular—are the location of many of the classic films. In the eyes of many critics, the city is presented in noir as a "labyrinth" or "maze." Bars, lounges, nightclubs, and gambling dens are frequently the scene of action. The climaxes of a substantial number of film noirs take place in visually complex, often industrial settings, such as refineries, factories, trainyards, power plants—most famously the explosive conclusion of White Heat. In the popular (and, frequently enough, critical) imagination, in noir it is always night and it always rains.


A substantial trend within latter-day noir—dubbed "film soleil" by critic D. K. Holm—heads in precisely the opposite direction, with tales of deception, seduction, and corruption exploiting bright, sun-baked settings, stereotypically the desert or open water, to caustic effect. Significant predecessors from the classic and early post-classic eras include The Lady from Shanghai; the Robert Ryan vehicle Inferno (1953); the French adaptation of Patricia Highsmith's The Talented Mr. Ripley, Plein soleil (Purple Noon in the U.S., better rendered elsewhere as Blazing Sun or Full Sun; 1960); and director Don Siegel's version of The Killers (1964). The tendency was at its peak during the late 1980s and 1990s, with films such as Dead Calm (1989); After Dark, My Sweet; The Hot Spot; Delusion (1991); and Red Rock West, and TV's Miami Vice, which premiered in 1984 and turned increasingly mordant over its five-year run. Inferno is a 1953 drama/thriller film directed by Roy Ward Baker and was shown in 3D. A wife and her lover abandon her rich husband in the desert, with a broken leg, so he can die. ... 1962 publicity photo of Patricia Highsmith Patricia Highsmith (January 19, 1921 - February 4, 1995) was an American novelist who is known mainly for her psychological thrillers which have led to more than two dozen film adaptations. ... The Talented Mr. ... Plein Soleil (Purple Noon) is a 1960 movie directed by René Clément, based on The Talented Mr. ... The Killers, sometimes called Ernest Hemingways The Killers, released by Universal Studios in 1964, was Hollywoods second adaptation of the Hemingway short story. ... Dead Calm is a 1963 novel by Charles F. Williams, which was the basis for the unreleased film The Deep (by Orson Welles) and the later film Dead Calm (by Phillip Noyce). ...


Worldview, morality, and tone

Film noir is often described as essentially pessimistic. The noir stories that are regarded as most characteristic tell of people trapped in unwanted situations (which, in general, they did not cause but are responsible for exacerbating), striving against random, uncaring fate, and frequently doomed. The movies are seen as depicting a world that is inherently corrupt. Classic film noir has been associated by many critics with the American social landscape of the era—in particular, with a sense of heightened anxiety and alienation that is said to have followed World War II. Nicholas Christopher's opinion is representative: "it is as if the war, and the social eruptions in its aftermath, unleashed demons that had been bottled up in the national psyche."[22] Film noirs, especially those of the 1950s and the height of the Red Scare, are often said to reflect cultural paranoia; Kiss Me Deadly is the noir most frequently marshaled as evidence for this claim. Political cartoon of 1919 depicting a European anarchist attempting to destroy the Statue of Liberty. ... For other senses of this word, see paranoia (disambiguation). ...

"You've got a touch of class, but I don't know how far you can go." "A lot depends on who's in the saddle." Bogey. Bacall. The Big Sleep.
"You've got a touch of class, but I don't know how far you can go." "A lot depends on who's in the saddle." Bogey. Bacall. The Big Sleep.

Rather than focusing on simple "black and white" decisions, film noirs tend to pose moral quandaries that are unusually ambiguous and relative—at least within the context of Hollywood cinema. Characters that do pursue goals based on clear-cut moral standards may be more than willing to let the "ends justify the means." For example, the investigator hero of The Stranger, obsessed with tracking down a Nazi war criminal, places other people in mortal danger in order to capture his target. Whereas the Production Code obliged almost all classic noirs to see that steadfast virtue was ultimately rewarded and vice, in the absence of shame and redemption, severely punished (however dramatically incredible the final rendering of mandatory justice might be), a substantial number of latter-day noirs flout such conventions; in their very different ways, the conclusions of Chinatown and The Hot Spot provide two clear examples. Image File history File links BigClinch. ... Image File history File links BigClinch. ... The Big Sleep (1946) is the first film version of Raymond Chandlers 1939 novel of the same name. ...


The tone of film noir is generally regarded as downbeat; some critics experience it as darker still—"overwhelmingly black," according to Robert Ottoson.[23] Influential critic (and filmmaker) Paul Schrader wrote in a seminal 1972 essay that "film noir is defined by tone," a tone he seems to perceive as "hopeless."[24] In describing the adaptation of Double Indemnity, leading noir analyst Foster Hirsch describes the "requisite hopeless tone" achieved by the filmmakers, which appears to characterize his view of noir as a whole.[25] On the other hand, definitive film noirs such as The Big Sleep, The Lady from Shanghai, and Double Indemnity itself are famed for their hardboiled repartee, often imbued with sexual innuendo and self-reflexive humor—notes of another tone. Look up Wit in Wiktionary, the free dictionary Wit is a form of intellectual humor, based on manipulation of concepts; a wit is someone who excels in witty remarks, typically in conversation and spontaneously, since wit carries the connotation of speed of thought. ...


Notes

Note 1: Opinion is also divided on the English plural of film noir. In the French from which the term derives, the plural is films noirs. Some English speakers prefer films noir, while film noirs is the most common formulation. The latest edition of Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, acknowledging all three styles as acceptable, gives as the preferred spelling film noirs. This article needs additional references or sources for verification. ... 1888 advertisement for Websters Dictionary Websters Dictionary is the common title given to English language dictionaries in the United States, derived from American lexicographer Noah Webster. ...

See also

The following is a list of films and television series often described as film noir. ...

References

  1. ^ Greenspun (1973), p. 32.
  2. ^ Borde and Chaumeton (2002), p. 2.
  3. ^ See Dancyger and Rush (2002), p. 68, for a detailed comparison of screwball comedy and film noir.
  4. ^ See Jim Doherty's essay on Carmady at the Thrilling Detective website for a detailed analysis of the private eye character who appears in "The Finger Man."
  5. ^ See, e.g., Lyons (2000), p. 36 ("RKO is usually cited as having produced the first true film noir, Stranger on the Third Floor"); Server (1998), p. 158 ("Often credited as the 'first' film noir"); Porfirio (1980), p. 269 ("the first true film noir").
  6. ^ Biesen (2005), p. 33.
  7. ^ Variety (1940).
  8. ^ Schrader (1972), p. 61.
  9. ^ Bernstein (1995).
  10. ^ McGilligan (1997), pp. 314–317.
  11. ^ Schatz (1998), pp. 354–358.
  12. ^ See, e.g., entries on individual films in Silver and Ward (1992), pp. 97–98, 125–126, 311–312.
  13. ^ See Naremore (1998), pp. 140–155, on "B Pictures versus Intermediates."
  14. ^ Naremore (1998), p. 173.
  15. ^ Erickson (2004), p. 26.
  16. ^ Clarens (1980), pp. 200–202; Walker (1992), pp. 139–145.
  17. ^ Silver and Ward (1992), p. 1.
  18. ^ See Palmer (2004), pp. 267–268, for a representative discussion of film noir as an international phenomenon.
  19. ^ Aziz (2005), section "Future Noir and Postmodernism : The Irony Begins."
  20. ^ Silver (1995), pp. 219, 222.
  21. ^ Silver and Ward (1992), p. 6.
  22. ^ Christopher (1997), p. 37.
  23. ^ Ottoson (1981), p. 1.
  24. ^ Schrader (1972), p. 54. For characterization of definitive tone as "hopeless," see pp. 53 ("the tone more hopeless") and 57 ("a fatalistic, hopeless mood").
  25. ^ Hirsch (2001), p. 7. Hirsch subsequently states, "In character types, mood [emphasis added], themes, and visual composition, Double Indemnity offer[s] a lexicon of noir stylistics" (p. 8).

Sources

  • Aziz, Jamaluddin Bin (2005). "Future Noir," chap. in "Transgressing Women: Investigating Space and the Body in Contemporary Noir Thrillers." Ph. D. dissertation, Department of English and Creative Writing, Lancaster University (chapter available online).
  • Bernstein, Matthew (1995). “A Tale of Three Cities: The Banning of Scarlet Street,” Cinema Journal 35, no. 1.
  • Biesen, Sheri Chinen (2005). Blackout: World War II and the Origins of Film Noir. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. ISBN 0-8018-8217-6
  • Borde, Raymond, and Etienne Chaumeton (2002 [1955]). A Panorama of American Film Noir, 1941–1953, trans. Paul Hammond. San Francisco: City Lights Books. ISBN 0-87286-412-X
  • Cameron, Ian, ed. (1993). The Book of Film Noir. New York: Continuum. ISBN 0-8264-0589-4
  • Christopher, Nicholas (1997). Somewhere in the Night: Film Noir and the American City. New York: Free Press. ISBN 0-684-82803-0
  • Clarens, Carlos (1980). Crime Movies: An Illustrated History. New York: W.W. Norton. ISBN 0-393-01262-X
  • Dancyger, Ken, and Jeff Rush (2002). Alternative Scriptwriting: Successfully Breaking the Rules. Boston et al.: Focal Press. ISBN 0-240-80477-5
  • Erickson, Glenn (2004). "Fate Seeks the Loser: Edgar G. Ulmer's Detour" (collected in Silver and Ursini, Film Noir Reader 4).
  • Gorman, Ed, Lee Server, and Martin H. Greenberg, eds. (1998). The Big Book of Noir. New York: Carroll & Graf. ISBN 0-7867-0574-4
  • Greenspun, Roger (1973). "Mike Hodges's 'Pulp' Opens; A Private Eye Parody Is Parody of Itself," New York Times, February 9.
  • Hirsch, Foster (2001). The Dark Side of the Screen: Film Noir. New York: Da Capo. ISBN 0-306-81039-5
  • Lyons, Arthur (2000). Death on the Cheap: The Lost B Movies of Film Noir. New York: Da Capo. ISBN 0-306-80996-6
  • McGilligan, Patrick (1997). Fritz Lang: The Nature of the Beast. New York and London: Faber and Faber. ISBN 0-571-19375-7
  • Naremore, James (1998). More Than Night: Film Noir in Its Contexts. Berkeley, Los Angeles, and London: University of California Press. ISBN 0-520-21294-0
  • Ottoson, Robert (1981). A Reference Guide to the American Film Noir: 1940–1958. Metuchen, N.J., and London: Scarecrow Press. ISBN 0-8108-1363-7
  • Palmer, R. Barton (2004). "The Sociological Turn of Adaptation Studies: The Example of Film Noir," in A Companion To Literature And Film, ed. Robert Stam and Alessandra Raengo (pp. 258–277). Maiden, Mass., Oxford, and Carlton, Australia: Blackwell. ISBN 0-631-23053-X
  • Porfirio, Robert (1980). "Stranger on the Third Floor (1940)" (collected in Silver and Ward, Film Noir: An Encyclopedic Reference).
  • Schatz, Thomas (1998 [1996]). The Genius of the System: Hollywood Filmmaking in the Studio Era, new ed. London: Faber and Faber. ISBN 0-571-19596-2
  • Schrader, Paul (1972). "Notes on Film Noir," Film Comment 8, no. 1 (collected in Silver and Ursini, Film Noir Reader [1]).
  • Server, Lee (1998). "The Black List: Essential Film Noir" (collected in Gorman et al., The Big Book of Noir).
  • Silver, Alain (1995). "Kiss Me Deadly: Evidence of a Style," rev. ver. (collected in Silver and Ursini, Film Noir Reader [1]; available online).
  • Silver, Alain, and James Ursini (and Robert Porfirio—vol. 3), eds. (2004 [1996–2004]). Film Noir Reader, vols. 1–4. Pompton Plains, N.J.: Limelight Editions (introductions to vols. 1 and 2 and selected essays available online).
  • Silver, Alain, and Elizabeth Ward, eds. (1992). Film Noir: An Encyclopedic Reference to the American Style, 3d ed. Woodstock, N.Y.: Overlook Press. ISBN 0-87951-479-5
  • "Variety staff" (anon.) (1940). "Stranger on the Third Floor" [review], Variety, January 1 (excerpted online).
  • Walker, Michael (1992). "Robert Siodmak" (collected in Cameron, The Book of Film Noir).

Foster Hirsch is a professor in the film department of City University of New Yorks Brooklyn College, and the author of sixteen books on subjects related to theatre and film. ... Paul Joseph Schrader (born July 22, 1946 in Grand Rapids, Michigan) is an American screenwriter and film director. ...

Further reading

  • Chopra-Gant, Mike (2005). Hollywood Genres and Postwar America: Masculinity, Family and Nation in Popular Movies and Film Noir. London: IB Tauris. ISBN 1-85043-838-2
  • Cochran, David (2000). America Noir: Underground Writers and Filmmakers of the Postwar Era. Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press. ISBN 1-56098-813-4
  • Copjec, Joan, ed. (1993). Shades of Noir. London and New York: Verso. ISBN 0-86091-625-1
  • Dimendberg, Edward (2004). Film Noir and the Spaces of Modernity. Cambridge, Mass., and London: Harvard University Press. ISBN 0-674-01314-X
  • Durgnat, Raymond (1970). "Paint It Black: The Family Tree of the Film Noir," Cinema 6/7 (collected in Gorman et al., The Big Book of Noir, and Silver and Ursini, Film Noir Reader [1]).
  • Hannsberry, Karen Burroughs (1998). Femme Noir: Bad Girls of Film. Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland. ISBN 0-7864-0429-9
  • Hannsberry, Karen Burroughs (2003). Bad Boys: The Actors of Film Noir. Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland. ISBN 0-7864-1484-7
  • Holm, D. K. (2005). Film Soleil. Harpenden, UK: Pocket Essentials. ISBN 1-904048-50-1
  • Kaplan, E. Ann, ed. (1998). Women in Film Noir, new ed. London: British Film Institute. ISBN 0-85170-666-5
  • Keaney, Michael F. (2003). Film Noir Guide: 745 Films of the Classic Era, 1940–1959. Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland. ISBN 0-7864-1547-9
  • Martin, Richard (1999). Mean Streets and Raging Bulls: The Legacy of Film Noir in Contemporary American Cinema. Lanham, Md.: Scarecrow. ISBN 0-8108-3642-4
  • Mason, Fran (2002). American Gangster Cinema: From Little Caesar to Pulp Fiction. Houndmills, UK: Palgrave. ISBN 0-333-67452-9
  • McArthur, Colin (1972). Underworld U.S.A. New York: Viking. ISBN 0-670-01953-4
  • Muller, Eddie (1998). Dark City: The Lost World of Film Noir. New York: St. Martin's. ISBN 0-312-18076-4
  • Neale, Steve (2000). Genre and Hollywood. London and New York: Routledge. ISBN 0-415-02606-7
  • Palmer, R. Barton (1994). Hollywood's Dark Cinema: The American Film Noir. New York: Twayne. ISBN 0-8057-9335-6
  • Palmer, R. Barton, ed. (1996). Perspectives on Film Noir. New York: G.K. Hall. ISBN 0-8161-1601-6
  • Rabinowitz, Paula (2002). Black & White & Noir: America's Pulp Modernism. New York: Columbia University Press. ISBN 0-231-11481-8
  • Schatz, Thomas (1997). Boom and Bust: American Cinema in the 1940s. Berkeley, Los Angeles, and London: University of California Press. ISBN 0-684-19151-2
  • Selby, Spencer (1984). Dark City: The Film Noir. Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland. ISBN 0-89950-103-6
  • Shadoian, Jack (2003). Dreams and Dead Ends: The American Gangster Film, 2d ed. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-514291-8
  • Silver, Alain, and James Ursini (1999). The Noir Style. Woodstock, N.Y.: Overlook Press. ISBN 0-87951-722-0
  • Spicer, Andrew (2002). Film Noir. Harlow, UK: Pearson Education. ISBN 0-582-43712-1
  • Telotte, J. P. (1989). Voices in the Dark: The Narrative Patterns of Film Noir. Urbana and Chicago: University of Illinois Press. ISBN 0-252-06056-3
  • Tuska, Jon (1984). Dark Cinema: American Film Noir in Cultural Perspective. Westport, Conn., and London: Greenwood Press. ISBN 0-313-23045-5

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  Results from FactBites:
 
Film Noir - Films (0 words)
Film noir was also derived from the crime/gangster and detective/mystery sagas from the 1930s (i.e., Little Caesar (1930), Public Enemy (1931) and Scarface (1932)), but very different in tone and characterization.
The criminal, violent, misogynistic, hard-boiled, or greedy perspectives of anti-heroes in film noir were a metaphoric symptom of society's evils, with a strong undercurrent of moral conflict, purposelessness and sense of injustice.
Film noir films were marked visually by expressionistic lighting, deep-focus or depth of field camera work, disorienting visual schemes, jarring editing or juxtaposition of elements, ominous shadows, skewed camera angles (usually vertical or diagonal rather than horizontal), circling cigarette smoke, existential sensibilities, and unbalanced or moody compositions.
Film noir - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (2388 words)
Film noir is a film style and mood primarily associated with crime films, that portrays its principal characters in a cynical and unsympathetic world.
Film noir is primarily derived from the hard-boiled style of crime fiction of the Depression era (many films noir were adaptations of such novels) and the gritty style of 1930s horror fiction.
Film noir has been associated by some critics with the political landscape of the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s--in particular, with a sense of social anxiety and alienation that is said to have followed World War II and later with the Red Scare.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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