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SP 472 American Film History II, Week 7 - Film Noir

SP 472 American Film History II, Week 7 - Film Noir

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Publicado porEileen White

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Published by: Eileen White on Mar 14, 2010
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Film Noir

• Literally “Black Film” • Evolved in the 1940’s although M, 1931 the roots can be traced through German Expressionism, French films of the 1930’s and the stark American gangster/crime films of the 1930’s • Answer to the optimistic and The Public Enemy, 1931 patriotic escapist fare • Reflected change in attitude after WWII • 1941-1958

Pepe le Moko, 1937

Film Noir
• Literary tradition • Pulp Fiction • Writer-driven genre
– Raymond Chandler – Dashiell Hammett – James M. Cain

Film Noir
• The “Look” • Stark black & white • chiaroscuro (Italian for light-dark)

T-Men, 1947

– Physical effects of light on surfaces – Dark and light with little gray – Excessive shadows – “Low key” – “High Contrast”

Out of the Past, 1947

Film Noir
• The “Look”
– Disorienting visual schemes – Ominous shadows – Skewed camera angles

T-Men, 1947

He Walked by Night, 1948

Pickup on South Street, 1953

Film Noir
• Night in the city
– Wet – Dark – Murky

• Claustrophobic interiors
– Cheap hotels – Abandoned warehouses – Low rent apartments

The Big Combo, 1955

Film Noir
• The Heroes or anti-heroes
– Cannot escape their past or human nature – Conflicted – Morally ambiguous – Protagonist often doomed to repeat past mistakes or pay for recently made mistakes

The Big Sleep, 1946

Film Noir
• Female archetypes
– The Good Girl
• Trustworthy • Loving • Reliable

– The Femme Fatale

Out of the Past, 1947

• • • • •

Duplicitous Predatory Tough Gorgeous Independent

Film Noir
• The Stories
Elliptical and twisting Cynical Doomed love Dark side of human existence Nobody emerges to triumph Often told in the past tense or flashback – Voice-over narration - subjective, flawed narrator – – – – – –

Sunset Boulevard, 1950

Scarlet Street, 1945

Film Noir
Modern Film Noir

Film Noir
• Brute Force (1947) • Directed by Jules Dassin (1911-2008) who had 2 careers after moving to Europe after being blacklisted in 1952 • Based on a real incident at Alcatraz • Examination of abuses of institutional power

Film Noir
• Was an apprentice w/ Hitchcock & Garson Kanin • Referring to the work he did as an MGM contract director in the first half of the ’40s, Dassin said, “I specialized in shit.” When he received a career retrospective tribute at the Museum of Modern Art in 1995, he requested that his MGM work not be included. • Films include
– – – – – Rififi Thieves Highway Never on Sunday Naked City Topkapi

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