Film noir is a cinematic term used largely to describe Hollywood crime films, particularly those that emphasize a negative view of life. The 1940s and 1950s are generally considered to be the golden age of American film noir during which some of the gods were made best cinematic masterpieces. The film noir of this era is tied to a black and white visual style that has its roots in expressionist cinematography . Most of the short stories originate from the hardboiled collection of criminal fiction born in the United States during the Great Depression.
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How Was the Noir Films Genre Born?
The term film noir was coined in 1946 by the French film critic Nino Frank, who observed something obscure from afar, essentially taking place in American cinema, the term noir has been discussed at length. Is it a category? A subgenre? A trend? A style?
The film noir includes a variety of plots: the protagonist could be a private investigator, a plainclothes law enforcement officer, an elderly veteran, an unfortunate con man, an honest resident who had a life as a criminal. Although film noir was initially related to American production, the term has actually been used around the world. Many films released from the 1960s onwards share characteristics with classic period film noir, as well as respect certain conventions of its own. Some describe such works as neo-noir.
Film noir is dreamlike, strange, sensual, ambivalent and vicious, but not all film noir embody all five attributes in equal measure: one may be more dreamlike; another, particularly brutal. The repeated efforts of film critics for an alternative definition have been resumed in subsequent studies: over the next five decades, there have been countless further attempts at definition, but in the words of film historian Mark Bould, film noir remains an “elusive phenomenon. … always just out of reach “.
Although film noir is usually related to an unconventional visual style within a Hollywood context, which emphasizes subtle lighting and unbalanced structures, films commonly recognized as noir highlight a selection of visual approaches, including those that fit comfortably into the mainstream. of Hollywood. Film noir equally embraces a variety of categories, from mafia films to detective films, from gothic love to films about social problems.
While many film critics describe film noir as a category of its own, others say it can’t be that. Foster Hirsch specifies a category as identified by “conventions of narrative structure, characterization, motif and even aesthetic style”. Hirsch, as one who has taken the position that noir films is a genre, says these aspects exist “in abundance”. Hirsch notes that there are unifying functions of tone, visual design, and even narrative enough to classify noir films as a distinct genre.
Noir films is often associated with an urban setting, but many classic noir films take place in small towns, suburbs, rural areas or on open roads; the setting, therefore, cannot be decisive for its genre, as for the western. While the private detective and the femme fatale are types of series characters conventionally identified with noir films, most noir films features neither; therefore there is no character basis for the designation of the genre like in the gangster film. Nor is the film noir films based on anything as obvious as the monstrous or supernatural elements of the horror film.
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Noir Films and Literary Sources
The October 1934 issue of Black Mask included the first story of the detective character who Raymond Chandler transformed into the popular Philip Marlowe. The key literary impact on noir films was hardboiled by American detective fiction as well as criminal activity, led in its earliest years by authors such as Dashiell Hammett (whose first short story, Red Harvest, was published in 1929) and James M. Cain (whose The Postman Always Rings Twice appeared 5 years later), and popularized in pulp magazines such as Black Mask.
The traditional film noir The Maltese Falcon (1941) and The Glass Key (1942) were based on the novels of 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). Released the month before Lang’s M, City Streets claims to be the first major film noir; both his style and the story had many noir characteristics.
Raymond Chandler, who debuted as a novelist with The Big Sleep in 1939, soon became the hardboiled school’s most famous author. Not only did Chandler’s novels turn into big noir – Murder, My Sweet (1944; adapted from Farewell, My Lovely), The Big Sleep (1946) and Lady in the Lake (1947) – he was a prominent screenwriter in the genre. , producing the screenplays for Double Indemnity, The Blue Dahlia (1946) and Strangers on a Train (1951). No published work by the writer provided the basis for more classic period noir films than Woolrich’s – thirteen in all, including Black Angel (1946), Deadline at Dawn (1946) and Fear in the Night (1947).
Another key literary resource for noir films was WR Burnett, whose initial novel to be published was Little Caesar, in 1929. It was developed by Warner Bros. in 1931; the following year, Burnett was hired to write the dialogue for Scarface, while The Beast of the City (1932) was adapted from one of his stories. At least one crucial landmark work determines the latter as a film noir despite its date much earlier than the noir films period.
Burnett’s particular narrative technique lay somewhere between that of essential hardboiled authors and their compatriots of noir fiction: his main characters were commonly heroic in their own way, which seemed to be the same hallmark of gangsters. His work, both as a screenwriter and as a screenwriter, has been the basis of seven films now widely regarded as film noir, composed of 3 of one of the most popular: High Sierra (1941), This Gun for Hire (1942) and Jungle. asphalt (1950).
Noir Films as a Reaction
The Noir films was nothing more than a reaction, the reflection of a nation that was faltering abroad and also due to upheavals on the domestic front. The noir films didn’t respect any kind of rule, not really. We consider noirs as urban tales, however this is not always the situation: for every single legend set in Los Angeles and also in New York, there is a small disaster in the heart of the country. We think of an endless, rain-soaked evening – the sun changes with the neon as well as the night reflections, the optical makeup of the mirrors and even the darkness – but on the other hand, the days of noir films have burned its characters.
We appreciate his heavily stylized approach – exaggerated camera angles, tension-creating staging, flashbacks, deep emphasis and shadows – but equally his neorealist and even documentary experiments. We talk about contours and noir films tropes, but in reality he freely drew from the films of the mafia of the Depression / Prohibition period, from criminal proceedings, from break-in films, from scary films, from melodrama, from gothic thrillers, B-movies tackyand other typically American genres such as western. His projects were everywhere, noir films forged its own language, its own playbook, its own universe.
Some define noir films for the tone, and it is a state of mind, a sensitivity. Noir films is a state of mind, of the subconscious, a feverish dream, an existential crisis. As the classic noir films period, generally thought of as 1940-58, went on, more tired and pessimistic, bullet-shocked soldiers were returning to a forever changed urban and suburban landscape.
The same cannot be said for women, with that Madonna-whore complex that spreads through the unpleasant Freudian gender dynamics of noir films. The nightmare has become the fulfillment of a wish. It is no exaggeration to read all this from the approximately 300 titles generally considered the classic noir films canon.
Except it wasn’t that simple. Like the ink on those yellow pages, noir films was a smeared event from the start, difficult to specify and even more difficult to integrate. His characters were impure, frustrated, distrustful, just plain stupid. Everyone ran some kind of scam, even the police, especially the police. Each person was out of his mind, false according to their vilest vices and fears. The tourist attraction was as horrible as the revulsion.
Therefore the noir films threw its misfits into a seductive and terrible postwar labyrinth, in which the terror was internal and external. Worry about the dispute about the next world, mutual anxiety, worry about never ever returning to pure time, the worry of recognizing that in reality there never was one. A search for extremes that dealt with allusions as it deviated from approved cultural standards and also, at times, from fundamental humanity: the film does not even become more evil, or even more unrepentant in this regard, than the noir films setting.
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Here is a selection of noir films to watch. Some are universally recognized masterpieces not to be missed. You may have never heard of others but they are worth a look! Good views.
Detour – 1945
The film opens in medias res with Al Roberts, an unemployed pianist, taking a tour. After taking a trip, he arrives at a roadside restaurant in Reno, Nevada, where he sits at the counter and slowly has a cup of coffee. Another consumer in the diner plays a tune on the jukebox, one that upsets Al, as it informs him of his former life in New York City, when he was bitter about squandering his musical prowess by working in a cheap bar. After his partner Sue Harvey, the bar star, quits her job and leaves to seek fame in Hollywood, he becomes depressed. After some suffering, Al decides to take a trip to California to see Sue and marry her. For little money, however, he has to hitchhike across the nation.
The Hitch-Hiker – 1953
This is the first film noir directed by a woman, and the director was none other than Ida Lupino. He was popular for his performances, but his directing was also quite remarkable, and this is an excellent example of this.
At the beginning of the film, a man is shown walking around and is taken by some individuals who rob and kill him. A suspect, Emmett Myers (Talman), is shown in the headlines. 2 friends, Roy Collins (O’Brien) and Gilbert Bowen (Lovejoy) are driving in Southern California on a prepared fishing trip in the Mexican community of San Felipe, in the Gulf of California. Just south of Mexicali, they pick up Myers, who draws a weapon and takes them hostage. Myers forces them to travel on dirt roads in the Baja California Peninsula to Santa Rosalía, where he intends to take a ferry across the Gulf of California to Guaymas.
The Stranger – 1946
Directed by Orson Welles. Mr. Wilson is a United Nations War Crimes Commission agent who is looking for Nazi fugitive Franz Kindler, a war criminal who has wiped out all evidence that could identify him. In reality, he left no clue as to his identity other than “a pastime that is almost equivalent to a mania: watches”.
Wilson launches Kindler’s former partner Meinike, hoping that the man will surely lead him to Kindler. Wilson accepts Meinike in a Connecticut village, but loses him before meeting Kindler. Kindler actually assumed a new identity as “Charles Rankin”, and became an educator at a neighborhood prep school. He is about to marry Mary Longstreet, the daughter of Supreme Court Justice Adam Longstreet, and is involved in repairing the 400-year-old Habrecht-style clock system with religious automatons that crowns a church tower in the town square.
Scarlet Street – 1946
This is simply one of several exceptional noir films directed by the master Fritz Lang. His early silent films featured a style that would later be influential in the noir films business.
New York City, 1934. Christopher “Chris” Cross, a mild-mannered amateur painter and also a clothing store cashier, is celebrated by his company for 25 years of service. After business chief JJ Hogarth gives Chris a gold watch and also kind words, Hogarth leaves the party and gets into a car with an attractive young blonde. Chris reflects with a colleague about his need to be loved by such a young woman.
Strolling home through Greenwich Village, Chris sees a girl, Katherine “Kitty” March, who is being molested, and drops her molester with her umbrella. After Chris escapes to mobilize a police officer, the assailant, who is actually Kitty’s boyfriend Johnny, regains consciousness and runs away too. Chris accompanies Kitty to her apartment. Her nostalgic remarks on art suggest that Chris must be a wealthy painter.
Suddenly – 1954
In postwar America, a train carrying the US head of state stops in the village of Suddenly, California. Claiming FBI representatives who check security before the president arrives, three men arrive at the Bensons’ home: Ellen, a widow, her son “Pidge”, and her father-in-law, “Pop” Benson. The house sits atop a hill looking down on the terminal where the government train is scheduled to stop, making it a great perch from which to shoot the head of state when his train stops. It quickly becomes clear that the men are not government agents but murderers, led by the insensitive John Baron, who take over the residence and hold family members hostage, planning to eliminate the head of state from a residence window that has a great view of the train station.
The Man with the Golden Arm – 1955
It is a 1955 drama film directed by Otto Preminger and starring Frank Sinatra, Kim Novak and Eleanor Parker. The film is based on the novel of the same name by Nelson Algren and tells the story of a former drug addict named Frankie Machine (played by Sinatra) who tries to rebuild his life after spending several months in prison for drug possession.
Frankie is a talented drummer and musician, but his heroin addiction has ruined him, causing the end of his marriage and the loss of his job. After being released from prison, he tries not to fall into addiction again and tries to rebuild his life and his music career. However, financial hardship and social pressures test him, leading him to attempt a relapse.
The film was highly praised for its realistic portrayal of drug addiction and Sinatra’s portrayal, which earned him an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor. Furthermore, the film was one of the first to break taboos on the subject of drug addiction and to address it openly and directly, contributing to raising public awareness of the subject.
DOA – 1950
After making films such as Vampyr and Hitchcock’s Foreign Correspondent as director of photography, Rudolph Maté finally got the chance to direct his own films in the late 1940s, and this is one of his most extraordinary films.
An opening series features Frank Bigelow walking down the long corridor of a police station to report his murder. Bigelow is a professional accountant and notary from Banning, California who chooses to go on a vacation to San Francisco. He ends up in a nightclub where, unnoticed, a complete stranger exchanges his drink for another.
Kansas City Confidential
While not a favorite example of noir films, this film’s story was in fact the inspiration for Quentin Tarantino’s The Hyenas.
The ruthless Mr. Big is planning the arrival of an armored car that collects money from a financial institution. He prepares to rob the armored vehicle with 3 men: Peter Harris (a casino player wanted for murder); Boyd Kane (a cop); Tony Romano (a womanizer driver).
The Great Flamarion – 1945
Like many noir films, this film features a story that begins with a murder and then provides a flashback to the occasions that led to the crime. The Great Flamarion was directed by Anthony Mann, a fairly respected director throughout the film noir movement.
The film opens following a murder in a cabaret in Mexico City in 1936; A gunshot is heard, but the victim’s body (Connie) has actually been strangled. The cops take the lady’s spouse into custody, assuming he is the killer. Flamarion, who was shot, is the killer and explains to a machinist why he killed Connie in a flashback. The great Flamarion (Erich von Stroheim) is a selfish, friendless and misogynistic sharpshooter on the vaudeville circuit.
The Story of Joe Louis – 1953
While this is certainly a sports activity film, it adheres to many of the same tropes as film noir. The story of this boxing legend is told mainly through a flashback, which was a narrative tool widely used by noir at this time in the history of cinema. Biographical film about the history of boxer Joe Louis and his passage from difficulties to becoming the heavyweight champion of the world.
Too Late For Tears – 1949
Directed by Byron Haskin (The War of the Worlds, Robinson Crusoe on Mars) and based on a script by Roy Huggins (The Fugitive, The Rockford Files), this film noir has as starring a femme fatale who will do anything to keep the money she stole.
Jane and Alan Palmer luckily get hold of a bag full of cash. They examine the bag in Union Station as they decide whether to keep it or hand it over to the authorities. Danny Fuller shows up at the Palmer’s apartment while Alan goes to work, asks Jane for money and threatens her.
Quicksand – 1950
Featuring Mickey Rooney (Breakfast at Tiffany’s) and also Peter Lorre (The Maltese Hawk, Casablanca), this film features many of the common tropes among film noir, including a tale of criminals, femme fatales, and more. .
Dan Brady (Mickey Rooney), a young auto mechanic in California, steals $ 20 from the sales ledger to pay for an appointment with blonde femme fatale Vera Novak (Jeanne Cagney), who works in a nearby restaurant. In a plan to pay back the $ 20 he took, Dan decides to pay just a dollar as a down payment at a fashion jewelry store for a $ 100 watch.
My Favorite Brunette – 1947
My Favorite Brunette is a film noir from the 1947, directed by Elliott Nugent and starring Bob Hope and also Dorothy Lamour. The film features Lon Chaney, Jr. playing Willie, Peter Lorre as Kismet, a comedic version of his many film noir roles.
The story is told in flashbacks of death row as Ronnie Jackson (Bob Hope) tells a group of reporters about the occasions that led to his conviction for murder. Ronnie is a San Francisco photographer who fantasizes about being a true private investigator like his neighbor Sam McCloud.
The Strange Love of Martha Ivers – 1946
Not only does Barbara Stanwyck (Double Indemnity, The Lady Eve) star in this film noir, but it is also Kirk Douglas’s acting debut. Directed by Lewis Milestone (All Quiet On The Western Front, Of Mice And Men), this is widely considered a high-quality example of the noir movement.
On a rainy night in 1928 in a Pennsylvania manufacturing plant community called Iverstown, 13-year-old Martha Ivers tries to escape the protection of her wealthy and despicable aunt, Mrs. Ivers, with her friend Sam Masterson. She is captured and taken home. Reprimanded by her aunt, Martha defiantly states that her name is not Ivers, but Smith, her father’s name.
Jigsaw – 1962
This is another film noir that did not surprise, but it is not terrible either. Notable stars include Marc Lawrence (Diamonds Are Forever, The Man with the Golden Gun) and also Franchot Tone (Five Graves to Cairo).
Strange Illusion – 1945
If you’ve enjoyed Detour, you might want to check out another classic film noir directed by Edgar G. Ulmer. While this film is not as widely known as his various other works, there are some critics who praise Strange Illusion as one of his finest films.
A college student has a recurring desire that leads him to believe that there is something threatening about his widowed mother’s suitor.
Woman on the Run – 1950
This film stars Ann Sheridan (Angels With Dirty Faces) and also Dennis O’Keefe (Brewster’s Millions). A vehicle stops nearby: Frank Johnson is an unsuccessful painter who is out walking his dog one night. Unbeknownst to Frank, a man in the car, a middle-aged dude with an Irish accent, is attempting to blackmail the driver.
The man guarantees that he will not reveal the motorist’s ties to Freeman in exchange for cash. Frank hears a gunshot as the would-be criminal is pushed out of the car. The stricken boy begs for mercy before the vehicle’s driver kills him with a second shot. The killer then sees Frank hiding in the shadows.
Big Town After Dark – 1947
This is not the most popular film noir ever made, however many film critics agreed it was a good film. After selling her novel, journalist Lorelei Kilbourne, who has become frustrated by her editor-in-chief, Steve Wilson, stops her job at Big Town’s Illustrated Press newspaper and says goodbye to her colleagues.
Borderline – 1950
While this might not be a beloved or well-known film noir, it features the performances of some excellent stars during their heyday. Fred MacMurray (Double Indemnity, The Apartment) and Raymond Burr (Rear Window, Godzilla) star in this perhaps underrated title.
Pete Ritchie (Raymond Burr) runs a drug smuggling into the United States from Mexico, which the Los Angeles Police Department and even the US federal government have actually attempted to shut down without success. US authorities have also been unable to locate his sources or clients and have no hope for a breakthrough due to Ritchie’s careful operations. As a last resort, Madeleine Haley (Claire Trevor), a LAPD officer, is secretly sent to Mexico.
Man in the Attic – 1953
If you are familiar with The Lodger’s tale of Alfred Hitchcock, the story of this film should be quite familiar. Jack Palance (City Slickers, Shane) plays the main character Slade, who becomes a suspect in a string of murders.
On the third night of the Jack the Ripper murders, Mr. Slade, a research firm pathologist, arrives quite late at Mr. and Mrs. Harley’s residence, trying to rent a room. Slade pays the rent for an attic, which he claims he needs for his studio work.
The Second Woman – 1950
This film is not particularly well known, but it has received good reviews over the years since its release. It was announced as the sequel to Rebecca, who is certainly one of the most effective noir films ever made.
This psychological thriller tells the story of Jeff Cohalan (Young). He is an engineer who has been haunted since his future wife, Vivian Sheppard, was killed in a freak car accident the night before their wedding. Criticizing himself for his death, Cohalan spends his time alone, mourning the cliff-top house he had created for his future bride.
Dark Mountain – 1944
When forester Don Bradley is in charge of saving 2 steeds from a fire inside a building, he is promoted to head of the Dark Mountain area. His friend Willie follows him as his assistant.
His first week off Don goes to visit his beloved Kay and asks her to marry him, but she informs him that she can’t, since she has married a salesman named Steve Downey. Destroyed, Don returns to Dark Mountain.
Inner Sanctum – 1948
This is a film based on the radio, book and film series called Inner Sanctum Mystery. Unlike previous films with Lon Chaney Jr (The Wolf Man, The Mummy’s Tomb), this film didn’t feature many notable stars.
The film follows a murderer who escapes and hides in a village. As the story progresses, a boy who is sharing his space with the stranger realizes he is a killer.
The story begins on a night train where an elegantly dressed woman (Eve Miller) meets a passenger, a mysterious stranger (Fritz Leiber, Sr.) She is amazed when she can foresee every jolt and even bump of the train, and every moment of darkness. shaky, a second before they happen, even though he claims he has never been on this train before. He apparently comes with some kind of second sight.
Shock – 1946
Directed by Alfred L. Werker (He Walked By Night) and starring Vincent Price, this film noir is relatively well rated. While some film critics resented the depictions of mental illness in the film, others were quite pleased with the quality.
A girl named Janet Stewart is waiting for her husband to arrive, they have planned to meet at a hotel. During his military service he was presumed dead, but he was a prisoner of war. However, his reservation transfer never arrived. The staff, after hearing his story, agree to provide a room for the night. Troubled, she is not resting. He listens to an argument and goes to the window on the terrace of the house where he sees a boy hitting his wife with a candlestick. The woman is killed.
Dishonored Lady – 1947
This is one of the most highly rated noir films, and it’s easy to see why. Dishonored Lady was directed by Robert Stevenson (Mary Poppins), and also stars Hedy Lamarr (The Strange Woman).
Madeleine Damien (Hedy Lamarr) is the fashion editor of a glossy Manhattan publication called Boulevard. Men are brought to her, including employer Victor Kranish (Paul Cavanagh), wealthy advertiser Felix Courtland (John Loder) and aide, Jack Garet (William Lundigan), who is currently helping Courtland.
Lady Gangster – 1942
Speaking of noir featuring strong or independent women, this is another title. Using her femininity and an adorable pet gifted to her by her male friends, the protagonist is able to enter a financial institution before opening hours, leaving the door open, thus making a robbery possible. After admitting her part in the burglary, she is sent to a women’s prison.
5 Minutes to Live – 1961
This is actually a neo-noir film released in 1961. Cay Forester (DOA) wrote the story and starred in the film. This was among only 2 roles for Johnny Cash, who was best recognized for his songs.
Regardless of the power of the stars, this film was not popular with critics. However it has actually become something of a cult classic movie.
Fred sits in a dark room, and recounts his latest burglary at a financial institution. He discusses exactly how he teamed up with criminal Johnny Cabot to execute his strategy. Cabot is about to take the bank vice president’s wife hostage. Introducing himself as a guitar teacher, Cabot makes his way into the residence and takes Nancy Wilson hostage. The film stars Cathy Downs (My Darling Clementine, The Dark Corner) and Paul Langton (The Big Knife, Twilight Zone).
They Made Me a Killer – 1946
Daniel Mainwaring (Out of the Past, Invasion of the Body Snatchers) wrote the manuscript for this film noir. Unfortunately, the critics didn’t really fall in love with this film and it fell by the wayside. Robert Lowery (Dark Mountain) is once again the protagonist of a film noir.
After his brother is killed in an accident, Tom Durling stops his task and drives across the country. The outlaws escape, the police arrest Durling and refuse to believe he is not one of the thieves.
Gambler’s Choice – 1944
This is another movie created by Maxwell Shane (Fear in the Night, Dark Mountain). It goes without saying that he has made a lot of noir films. This isn’t among the top rated noir films, but most film critics have given it a reasonable rating.
In 1897, 3 young men, Ross Hadley, Mike McGlennon and also Mary Rogers, are brought before a judge for stealing a man’s wallet. McGlennon and Rogers are unprecedented, so they are placed in the care of their parents. Hadley, however, is sent to a reform school.
Hollow Triumph – 1948
This is among the most popular titles. The film was directed by Paul Henreid (Casablanca). Henreid was not credited as director of Hollow Triumph, which was practically his directorial debut. He would go on to direct Live Fast, Die Young and 28 episodes of Alfred Hitchcock Presents.
Fresh out of prison, John Muller (Paul Henreid) sets up a robbery at a prohibited gambling den run by Rocky Stansyck (Thomas Browne Henry). The raid goes wrong and they capture many of Muller’s men, then force them to identify the others before taking them out. Stansyck has a credibility in tracking down and killing his enemies no matter how long it takes, so Muller decides to go into hiding. He takes an office assignment advised by his brother, Frederick (Eduard Franz), however he quickly realizes that working for a living is not for him.
Million Dollar Weekend – 1948
This film received more positive than negative reviews. It was the only film directed by Gene Raymond who went on to have an excellent career on television. Charles Belden (House of Wax) wrote the script.
Financier Nicholas Lawrence (Gene Raymond) has actually grown tired of his boring life in Los Angeles and one day decides to escape, stealing cash and securities from his company worth around a million dollars. Buy a plane ticket to Shanghai via Honolulu. Cynthia Strong (Osa Massen, credited as Stephanie Paull) attended her spouse’s funeral. After the ceremony, go directly to the airport and buy a ticket.
As Cynthia leans back in her seat, she is taken by surprise when a man she recognizes named Alan Marker (Francis Lederer) approaches her and claims he saw her kill her spouse. Pen wants half of the life insurance cash to keep her mouth shut, but Cynthia rejects her complaint. If she wants to give him the money, Marker tells her she has up to an hour after the plane lands in Honolulu to choose.
Bluebeard – 1944
This film noir was directed by Edgar G. Ulmer (Detour, Strange Illusion) and starring John Carradine (The Ten Commandments, Stagecoach). Later the actor referred to it as the movie with his favorite character.
All of Paris is terrified of the murders attributed to “Bluebeard”. Milliner Lucille (Jean Parker) is introduced to Gaston Morrell (John Carradine), puppeteer and painter, by her close friend. They are attracted to each other, so she accepts the assignment to design some clothes for her creatures.
At home, Morrell confronts a jealous Renee (Sonia Sorel), who performs in Morrell’s puppet show and is also a fan of his. When she asks what became of the plans she had presented to him, he suffocates her and then throws her body into the Seine.
Dangerous Passage (1944)
With a screenplay by Daniel Mainwaring (Out of the Past, Invasion of the Body Snatchers), this film noir is absolutely worth watching. Robert Lowery (Batman and Robin) plays the lead role in this film.
Oil company employee Joe Beck (Robert Lowery) is in the Honduran jungle. When his grandfather dies in Texas, he inherits $ 200,000. At a nearby port he meets the executor, lawyer Daniel Bergstrom (Charles Arnt), to receive the news, but when he has to return to the jungle, he is followed by a man hired by the lawyer, who attempts to knock him out. Joe instead takes care of killing the man and boards a ship in the harbor.
The Man Who Cheated Himself – 1950
This is among the best-reviewed titles at the time of its release. Lee J. Cobb (12 Angry Men, The Exorcist) plays the detective who tries to redress a vile crime. At the time, studio executives were unsure of this distribution due to his earlier portrayal of Willy Loman in Death of a Salesman on Broadway.
Wealthy socialite Lois Frazer, who is separating from her fortune-seeking spouse, Howard, finds a gun he has taken. She eliminates him with it in front of the new man in her life, Lieutenant Ed Cullen, a San Francisco detective. Lois, married twice, manages to control Cullen by getting him rid of the instrument of murder and moving the body.
Angel Face – 1952
Some noirs get you inside in the first two minutes and don’t leave you even after the credits are over. Angel Face is not one of those. It’s a calculated and thoughtful film that has a destination in mind and doesn’t mind taking the time to get there. It is an Otto Preminger film, minimal, perhaps not one of his most popular films. It is worth your time, though. It is a film that continually surprises until the final climax. It’s a crazy love story between Robert Mitchum and Jean Simmons. Don’t let the apparent slowness make you retreat. Calm contributes to the darkest pleasures of the film.
Frank Jessup (played by Robert Mitchum) makes his living driving an ambulance, but dreams of running his own workshop, repairing sports cars. One evening, while answering an emergency call, he meets a beautiful heiress, Diane Tremayne (Jean Simmons). One date leads to another, and even before Frank has actually left his future wife, Mary Wilton (Mona Freeman). And even when the Tremayne family offers Frank a job as a driver / mechanic, with his spaces on the estate, he accepts.
The Grifters – 1990
British director Stephen Frears does a wonderful job adapting mid-1900s novelist Jim Thompson into this pulpy Oedipal neo-noir. The show of Freudian damage and deception, written for the screen by Donald E. Westlake, is disturbing even by Thompson’s standards.
Lilly Dillon is a scam veteran. He works for Bobo Justus, a mafia bookmaker who makes big money bets on racetracks. Traveling to La Jolla for a race, he leaves Los Angeles to see his son, Roy, a petty crook he hasn’t seen in eight years. He finds it sore and bleeding after one of his victims caught him doing a little scam and hit him in the stomach with a sledgehammer. When medical support finally arrives, Lilly confronts the doctor, threatening to have him killed if her son dies.
Choose the Movies to Watch
Devil in a Blue Dress – 1995
Devil in a Blue Dress perfectly portrays Denzel Washington as an unfortunate WWII veteran who moves to Los Angeles to start a new profession as a private investigator. As tends to happen with investigators of this subgenre, the man certainly turns out to be involved in a complicated murder case.
Adding his own twist to well-beaten noir plots, writer / director Carl Franklin uses his film’s detective story as a stepping stone to check out the racial landscape of 1940s America . Philip Marlowe has certainly had his share of tough encounters, however he had the advantage of never being instantly rated by the color of his skin.
The Kiss of Death – 1947
Is there any psychopath in the noir thieves gallery who strikes with the same ready and shocking fear as Tommy Udo? Richard Widmark’s wolf smile may be the only aspect of Kiss of Death that matters. Without him, of course, Henry Hathaway remains solid, yet Widmark’s Oscar-nominated performance makes the whole venture feel important. He’s an unforgettable villain, probably belittled due to the demand to design a happy ending. Such is life that has to do with the rules of filmmaking.
On Christmas Eve, the hapless ex-convict Nick Bianco and his three accomplices rob a jewelry store. Before they can leave the facility, however, the injured owner sets off the alarm. While attempting to escape, Nick attacks a law enforcement officer, but is wounded and arrested.
Assistant District Attorney Louis D’Angelo attempts to encourage Nick to reveal his accomplices. Confident that his accomplices and his legal representative, Earl Howser, will take care of his wife and two young daughters while he is incarcerated, Nick is also willing to serve a 20-year sentence. 3 years later, in Sing prison, after his wife has not been seen for 3 months, Nick discovers that she has committed suicide.
Black Widow – 1987
Taking the cliché of the femme fatale to the literal extreme, director Bob Rafelson, whose credits include Five Easy Pieces and also the 1981 remake of The Postman it always plays twice, creates a contemporary noir. Debra Winger plays an FBI agent, Alex, who becomes obsessed with the perpetrator of a series of murders. Jane Fed plays the antagonist in chameleon fashion, while Conrad L. Hall’s excellent cinematography (Cool Hand Luke, American Beauty) seeks suspense in the shadows and highlights Russell’s steely eyes. There is also a funny cameo from Dennis Hopper.
Dark City – 1998
Taking a cue from Blade Runner, Alex Proyas’ 1998 magnum opera offers a cerebral sci-fi extravaganza filtered through the visual tropes of German film and noir expressionism. The result is a jaw-dropping achievement that, like Blade Runner, was forgotten only to be revitalized later as a loved like one cult classic.
Rufus Swell plays an amnesiac who gets up one night and discovers that his city is controlled by a gang of strangely light men in raven black trench coats. Along with Kiefer Sutherland as a mad scientist and Jennifer Connelly as our hero’s wife.
Gaslight – 1944
Unlike other noirs, Gaslight is a period story, set in the Edwardian era, and reiterates the frightening idea that evil can emerge not only from a corrupt urban environment inherent to the genre, but from a domestic context. Like the film’s villain, Charles Boyer delivers a mesmerizing and chilling performance that perfectly matches Bergman’s fickle characterization.
World famous opera singer Alice Alquist was killed in her residence at 9 Thornton Square, London. The killer leaves the precious gems he killed her for after Alice’s 14-year-old granddaughter Paula surprises him. Alice had raised Paula after her mother died. Paula was subsequently sent to Italy to be an actress.
Years later, an adult Paula meets and marries Gregory Anton. At Gregory’s insistence, Paula returns to London, where she has no good friends, to reside in the London residence of her long-empty aunt. To ease Paula’s anxiety over the memory of her aunt’s ferocious murder, Gregory suggests keeping Alice’s old furniture in the attic.
Obsession – 1949
The film is not delicate at all. Obsession is one of the most creepy, bad and slow-burning classic noirs. Newton is a creepy hoot, and Dmytryk has such suspense that even the dissonance of the comedy doesn’t break the film’s insidious spell.
Clive Riordan, a wealthy London psychiatrist, learns that his partner Storm is screwing him with an American, Bill Kronin. He decides to get excellent revenge on both of them by committing the perfect murder of Kronin.
Tension – 1949
One of the less famous minor works of film noir, Tension showcases the great work of Audrey Totter as she plays with gender roles and postwar disenchantment. The tension may not have the iconography of John Berry’s peers, but the film makes a worthy study of American male identity.
Homicide Lt. Collier Bonnabel knows only one way to approach an investigation: pressure all suspects, play on their strengths and weaknesses, until stress sets in between them. Then he mentions a murder situation involving Warren Quimby.
The Asphalt Jungle – 1950
An artfully staged break-in sequence is among the highlights of John Huston, a notable inspiration for the films Ocean’s 11 and The Hyenas. What definitely sets it apart from the noir realm, however, is a censorship preference for the grim and merciless, a much more suffocating desolate cityscape.
Criminal Doc Reidenschneider (Oscar nominee Sam Jaffe) assembles a team of diehard scoundrels to break into a fashion jewelry vault. Among Jaffe’s companions are Sterling Hayden as the petty crook Dix, Louis Calhern as a corrupt lawyer, and also, as the latter’s lover, an unknown and novice actress named Marilyn Monroe. Director John Huston shunned some of the embellishments of the genre for a more naturalistic technique, while keeping the musical tracks to a minimum. The dialogue is both crackling and realistic.
The Prowler – 1951
The Prowler of Joseph Losey comes closest to the absolutely Hitchcockian style. It’s dark and creepy, the kind of movie that looks like it stepped off the canvas of pulp comics; is a really excellent episode of Tales From the Crypt, extremely macabre. What happens when the charm takes hold of you? What happens when you slowly start to transform and wither into the most terrible variation of yourself, all to get the good ideas in life that you arrogantly think you are worthy of? In The Prowler, Van Heflin’s greedy and murderous police are turned upside down by his own intrigues. A great life lesson about greed.
Lady in the Lake – 1947
Forty years before The Blair Witch Project popularized the concept of a film that stood out from a camera point of view, actor / director Robert Montgomery put a twist on it. radical idea with Lady in the Lake, its adaptation from the investigative stories of Philip Marlowe by Raymond Chandler. The film is definitely worth watching if only to witness Montgomery’s great boldness and ingenuity as well.
Tired of the reduced pay, Los Angeles private detective Phillip Marlowe presents a murder story at Kingsby Publications. He is invited to the publishing house to review his work, but he soon realizes that it is just an outline. A few days before Christmas, editorial executive Adrienne Fromsett hires him to locate Chrystal Kingsby, the wife of his employer, Derace Kingsby. A month earlier, Kingsby’s wife had actually sent her husband a telegram claiming that she would be heading to Mexico to separate from him and marry a boy named Chris Lavery.
Key Largo – 1948
The fourth and final film paired with Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall doesn’t rank with their other on-screen couples: the real dance here is between Bogie and Edward G. Robinson. You see the typical noir streets with the coastal environs of Florida, as claustrophobic and oppressive as the barometric pressure decreases. Only the opening scenes of the film were shot on location, the exotic setting and the weather make the isolation to an extreme level.
Army veteran Frank McCloud arrives at the Largo Hotel in Key Largo, Florida, seeing the family of George Temple, a friend who volunteered to work for him and was eliminated several years. first. Meet friend Nora Temple’s widow and her father James, who owns the resort. As the winter holiday season is effectively over and a storm is approaching, the resort has only 6 guests: snappy Toots, rude Curly, grumpy Ralph, servant Angel, attractive but mature alcoholic Gaye Dawn, plus a sixth man who remains secluded in his space. Visitors claim to be in the Florida Keys for angling.
The Sound and the Fury – 1950
Social conscience, a recurring style in the background of noir, meets the shocking side of national politics in Cy Endfield’s lesser-known film, ripped straight from the headlines . Like The Wrong Man, The Sound of Fury claims to be based on real facts. In Endfield’s hands, the tale ends up as a bewildering investigation of American dispositions to take matters into their own hands.
Unlike numerous bad characters, Frank Lovejoy’s Howard Tyler does bad things for very good reasons. He is a married man who has fallen out of favor. Endfield cites his guilt, but with the complicated worldview of noir he is able to criticize the lack of social compassion that accompanies him towards a failure disproportionate to his crime. What the film lacks in style, it makes up for with raw emotion.
Force of Evil – 1948
A favorite of Martin Scorsese, Force of Evil tells the story of a lawyer who gets involved with a major mobster who wants to take over all the petty rackets. The problem? One of those rackets is run by the lawyer’s older brother.
Like T-Men, the film makes fantastic use of capturing images on the spot. At times, the film’s familiar themes and stylized writing help elevate the conflict to almost Shakespearean (or Biblical, considering the frequency with which it alludes to the story of Cain and Abel). Though rather small in size, Force of Evil finds success in its goal of communicating grand, large-scale ideas.
Angels with Dirty Faces – 1938
Jimmy Cagney, Pat O’Brien and Humphrey Bogart star in this very first chapter of the canon noir, a moral work about two childhood companions whose lives follow different paths but converging. During their days as juvenile delinquents in Hell’s Kitchen, Cagney’s Rocky took the sentence for breaking into a rail vehicle after saving the life of his friend Jerry (O’Brien), who later escaped. Years later, Rocky returns to the criminal offense along with his new partner, attorney Bogart.
What differentiates Angels With Dirty Faces from its previous and precise mafia peers (e.g., The Public Enemy) is a psychological and redemptive thread, in addition to focusing on the forces, both external and internal, on the fates of the characters. A social conscience and even an interrogation of oneself raise what in lower hands than that of Michael Curtiz would surely be melodrama.
T-Men – 1947
While not sporting any kind of prominent star or even a particularly unique story, the film is known for its inventive cinematography, with Mann and cinematographer John Alton deciding to shoot several outdoor scenes in Detroit and also in Los Angeles, thus requiring a little creativity in the use of lights. This dedication to realism enhances the film noir style we all love.
The story involves 2 US Treasury agents (“T-men”) who go undercover in Detroit and later in Los Angeles in an attempt to crack a money-forgery ring. Representatives try to join the gang by posing as counterfeiters outside the community. They eventually enlist in the gang, however the risks are even greater when one of them is killed by the gang while the other undercover T-man watches in horror.
Fargo – 1996
Having made the most traditional neo-noir with their debut, Blood Simple, the Coen brothers opted for a more subversive version with Fargo. The story involves a mild-mannered car salesman who hires two men to kidnap his wife. His hope is that his father’s ransom may be meant to fix some of his money problems. Of course, the scenario escalates and policewoman Marge Gunderson (an excellent Frances McDormand), who is pregnant, is ready to investigate.
Swapping the standard shadow-soaked images of the subgenre for sweeping stretches of the Midwestern snow-covered landscape, the Coens take a conventional noir setting, place it in an unconventional setting, and superimpose investigations under one Midwestern courtesy layer. The result is a devilishly creative black comedy that turned out to be the explosion of the Coens.
Red Rock West – 1993
A key figure in the neo-noir renaissance of the early 1990s, John Dahl made his promising directorial debut, Kill Me Again followed by Red Rock West and, one year later, The Last Seduction. Nicolas Cage, in a bespoke role, plays a homeless tramp turned marine who stumbles upon a murder plot. Mistaken for a hitman, he passes himself off as the killer until he meets his target (Lara Flynn Boyle) and the real killer (Dennis Hopper).
The Verdict – 1946
Debut film of Don Siegel, The Verdict stars two acting aces: Peter Lorre and Sydney Greenstreet. Siegel could have shot the film and styled his misé en scene however he wanted, and none of that would surely matter as long as he kept his two leads in the cast. The film is all about them, both from a narrative point of view and as regards the visual experience.
Lorre remains at the side of the narrative, while Greenstreet always remains the center of the frame. They are a fun pair of anti-heroes trying to redeem the disgraced superintendent of Greenstreet’s Scotland Yard when an innocent boy is sent to the gallows thanks to his failed investigation, while Siegel immerses the tale in noir style and black humor.
Gun Crazy – 1950
Of all the films on this list, Joseph H. Lewis’s Gun Crazy may be the most effective starting point for those looking to get closer to the noir genre. More than any noir of any age, Gun Crazy makes you understand why people see noirs, why the criminal element has such a tiredly romantic appeal.
The film is made with high-level craftsmanship: the burglary sequence in a financial institution is shot in a stunning way. Men do all sorts of crazy things in the name of love.
Clash by Night – 1952
Fritz Lang‘s love triangle, adapted from Clifford Odets’ play, stands out thanks to its protagonist Barbara Stanwyck. Divided into two parts, separated by a year, of almost equal length, Clash By Night becomes more than the sum of its parts. While Mae comes to terms with the futility of it all – “Love because we’re lonely, love because we’re scared, love because we’re bored” – Clash By Night offers a sensational example of classic noir, with its well-defined femme fatale.
The Last Seduction – 1994
John Dahl has made his step into this uncompromising character study. Bridget (Linda Fiorentino) is an unashamedly sensual and intriguing fox who runs away with the money she persuaded her husband to sell drugs for, then seduces an unsuspecting stranger to make it easier for him to escape. As with Red Rock West, The Last Seduction is a sincere film.
The Long Goodbye – 1973
In Los Angeles Philip Marlowe (Elliott Gould) is involved in an unclear investigation. She resides in an apartment complex with a group of always naked young female students who practice free love. He’s on the uncultivated edge of an indifferent city, a man who has absolutely nothing better to do late at night than to feed his feline. Marlowe is a post man, “a born loser”, as his closest friends also call him. And the world in which Altman abandons him isn’t between dark alleys or the damp, pale glow of street lamps – to hell with the chiaroscuro – it’s the intense dawn of something new.
The Long Goodbye is Altman’s stab and destruction of film noir, as he confronts his beleaguered protagonist not against those stale, old and deeply ingrained mechanisms of institutionalized evil, but against a brand much younger than nihilism.’s wasteland and noir Robert Altman, there is nothing lurking beneath the surface – it is all surface – and even our ethical compass is a heavy, asexual smoker who is simply ignored.
Le Samouraï – 1967
Throw a coin in the air to choose whether Le Samourai or Le Doulos is the best Melville film of all; chances are it will land upright, because that’s a hard difference to tell. Melville’s films pulsate with inexpressible freshness. When it comes to Le Samourai, proof of Melville’s commitment hinges on the film’s substantial impact: Everyone from Jim Jarmusch to Madonna recognizes Melville’s talent, and has even imitated or mixed it with their own distinctive traits. There are hitman films, and there are hitman films, and even head and shoulders above most of them is Le Samourai, a film that makes cinema connected with true art.
A Better Life (2007)
The protagonist of the film A better life is Andrea Casadei, a young investigator specialized in audio interceptions, he lives in Rome, a city filmed by the director Fabio del Greco in a dark black and white full of shadows. Andrea, played by Fabio del Greco himself, accepts commissioned work from husbands betrayed by their wives, or from mothers who want to find out what their children do outside the home. But what really fascinates him about audio tapping and stealing people’s secrets, overhearing conversations in a bar, getting an idea of what animates people’s feelings and thoughts. The film focuses on a fundamental theme of the world we live in: the lack of love. The values promoted by mass media and Western politics are against love. They tell people it doesn’t exist or they suggest the message that it is best avoided. Success and external beauty, power are instead values that are passed off as fundamental. The mysterious and tormented figure of Marina is reflected in a gloomy and soulless Rome.