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What is film noir

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Sean Welsh

on 17 July 2017

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Transcript of What is film noir

Significant Neo-Noir Films
What is film Noir
“Film Noir”- means ‘black film’ in French and is a category of films that were produced primarily in post-war America. These films typically explore bleak subject matter whilst creating a dark atmosphere of pessimism or oppression. Film Noir emerged during Post-World War II when German émigrés like Fritz Lang brought with them traditional styles and techniques that were very different to those present in America at the time. utilized high key cinematography that dominantly featured bright direct light and cascading shadow, off-kilter camera angles, and asymmetrical compositions to emphasize the underlining deception and criminal story-lines that are meant to thrill and intrigue.

Significant films
. Force of Evil-1948, MGM/Republic
. Detour- 1945, DRC- released in post-war America, considered first film noir, initially critics refused to rate the film because it broke a rule of American cinema by not having a positive ending. Also established "fall guy" character type
. Asphalt Jungle- 1950, MGM/Turner
. Gun Crazy- 1950, UA/Warner Bros- first time button microphones were used
. Kiss of Death- 1947, 20th century fox
. Pick up on South Street- 1953, 20th Century fox
. The Third Man- 1949, Lumiere Pictures
. Night and the City- 1950, 20th Century Fox
. Kiss me deadly- 1955, UE/MGM
. Mean Streets- 1973, TPS/Universal- first film that tried to be a film noir in colour- directed by Martin Scorsese
Neo-Noir Films
Neo-Noir films are considered to be modern day equivalents of the classic post-war noir films. With noir no longer restricted to black & white film and techniques, film makers began to adapt to the new technology. One of the main developments between the classic noir films and the neo-noir genre is the changes of Hays Code in American Cinema which meant that more graphic violence and sexual scenes were now allowed to be shown on the big screen.
Early influences of the Film Noir genre
. German Expressionism (1920s – 1930s)
. Monster/Horror Films of the 1930s
. Hollywood Gangster Films (1930s)
. Hardboiled American detective and crime fiction
. James M. Cain:
The Postman Always Rings Twice, Mildred Pierce, Double Indemnity
-"He wrote with a meat cleaver... He wrote with a hatchet" Martin Goldsmith, writer of Detour, giving his opinion on James Cain
. Raymond Chandler: The Big Sleep, Farewell, My Lovely (Murder, My Sweet), The Long Goodbye
. Dashiell Hammett: The Maltese Falcon, The Glass Key, The Thin Man




Gun Crazy- 1950, UA/Warner Bros- first time button microphones were used
Asphalt Jungle- 1950, MGM/Turner
Detour- 1945, DRC

Pick up on South Street- 1953, 20th Century fox
Kiss me deadly- 1955, UE/MGM
Mean Streets- 1973, TPS/Universal- first film that tried to be a film noir in colour- directed by Martin Scorsese
The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (d. Robert Wiene, 1920)

The Postman Always Rings Twice
(James Cain 1934)
Neo noir films are in essence modernised Noir Films, where the modern film noir differs from those produced in the 1940s is the technology within them and the modernization of themes to ensure that it is relatable to current audiences ergo attracting a larger target audience and enabling for greater profit margins for the production and distribution companies.
Similarities between Neo-Noir and tradition Noir fims
Chinatown-1974, Paramount
L.A. Confidential- 1997, Warner Bros
Drive- 2011, FilmDistrict
Full transcript