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Transcript of Film Noir
ANDREW AKMAN "Vulnerability and a sense of loss were suggested in Humphrey Bogart’s lined face and slightly bent posture.” -Robert G. Porfiro THE PROTAGONIST NOT HEROES “The word ‘hero’ never seems to fit the noir protagonist, for his world is devoid of the moral framework necessary to produce the traditional hero.” - Robert G. Porfiro “The most consistent aspects of film noir, apart from its visual style, is its protagonists."
-Alain Silver & Elizabeth Ward MORAL AMBIGUITY EXISTENTIALISM "Existentialism is an outlook which begins with a disoriented individual facing a confused world that he cannot accept. It places its emphasis on man’s contingency in a world where there are no transcendental values or moral absolute, a world devoid of any meaning but the one man himself creates.” -Robert G. Porfiro AFFAIR WITH PARTNER'S WIFE JUSTICE FOR PARTNER'S MURDER SAM SPADE'S MORAL CODE NARRATIVE DEVICE NARRATION FLASHBACK “The hero’s dividedness and his lack of self-knowledge are staples of the genre, played upon in the swing between the presentation of the protagonist as a controlling presence, on the one hand, and his doomed or even explicitly acquiescent surrender to narrative loss of control." -DEBORAH THOMAS BEST YEARS OF OUR LIVES, (1946) The Noir Protagonist:
"often mature, almost old, and not too handsome.
Humphrey Bogart typifies him."
-Raymond Borde & Etienne Chaumenton “The striving for control, in other words, is met by a loss of control, and this pattern of struggle and surrender reflects the ambivalence of the protagonist towards society and his place within it, a place which both privileges and constricts him.” -DEBORAH THOMAS 65
0 1941 1942 1943 1944 1945 1946 1947 1948 1949 1950 1951 1952 1953 1954 1955 1956 1957 1958 7 7 4 14 22 38 51 39 47 55 38 24 23 25 25 15 24 10 FILM-NOIR RELEASES (468) THE CLASSICAL PERIOD NUMBER OF TITLES YEAR SHIFT TO
EISENHOWER ERA THE EARLY 60's PSYCHOLOGICAL THRILLERS
EXPRESSIONIST & NOIR TECHNIQUES TO PORTRAY MENTAL DISPOSSESSION PSYCHO (1960), SHOCK CORRIDOR (1963), CAPE FEAR (1962) NOIRISH ATMOSPHERES AND TROPES FOUND IN MANY OTHER GENRES SUCH AS SCI-FI'S & WESTERNS COLD WAR NOIRS MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE (1962), FAIL-SAFE (1964), THE SPY WHO CAME IN FROM THE COLD (1965) THE 60's & 70's:
NEW HOLLYWOOD NEW GENERATION OF CINE-LITERATE FILMMAKERS THE BEGINNING OF HOLLYWOOD REVISIONISM COLOUR
ELIMINATION OF THE ACADEMY RATIO
NEW ACTING AESTHETIC
MORE SEX&VIOLENCE ON SCREEN NEO NOIR COLLECTION NEO NOIR MASCULINITY? Edward G. Robinson in Scarlet Street (1944) Peter Lorre as Cairo George Macready as Ballin FEMALE CHARACTERS TWO ARCHETYPES The Femme Fatale The Nurturing/Normal Woman THE FEMME FATALE MALE GAZE THEORY Classic Raymond Chandler story set in the 70s.
Rambling conversations, pot smoking, eccentric 70s characters.
Film seems less interested in solving a mystery, and more focused on commenting on corruption and unraveling the nature of detective movies. THE LONG GOODBYE, 1973 Elliot Gould is now Phillip Marlowe.
He’s no Humphery Bogart!
Shaggy, down-trodden hapless misfit.
But ultimately a force of good in a corrupt, indifferent society. Dir: Robert Altman Shot in widescreenA wide, vast portrait of LA – Deserts, oceans, etc.Claustrophobic feel of the noir may be lost, but the loneliness is still there. Bright, glaring White + Blue colour palette.
The seediness is no longer hiding in the shadows. THE 80'S AND 90'S Continuation of Revisionist Movement
Raging Bull (1980), Body Heat (1981), The Postman Always Rings Twice (1981) Cyberpunk & Noir meetBlade Runner (1982), The Terminator (1984) Noir starts moving to other genresAction Movies, Horror Films, Thrillers, Crime,
Gangster films, Science-fiction. The Self-Reflexive MovementThe Retro Noirs – L.A Confidential (1997)The A movie/B movie mashup Noirs - Reservoir Dogs (1992)The Irreverent Noirs -> Get Shorty (1995) THE BIG LEBOWSKI (1998) We wanted to do a Chandler kind of story – how it moves episodically, and deals with the characters trying to unravel a mystery, as well as having a hopelessly complex plot that's ultimately unimportant.
- Joel Coen Dir: Ethan & Joel Coen 2000's - Now Flicks like Zodiac, Eastern Promises, Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead, and Gone Baby Gone point towards a film movement not unlike the film noir of the 1940’s that mirrors America’s anxiety towards the chaotic outside world inward against the intimate settings of neighborhoods and families in stylish and unsettling ways.
- David H. Schleicher. Some say that was the end of film-noir, but I don’t see it that way. Film noir was a look, a tone, a feel. The shadows are still deadly. Murder still stalks the streets. Love and violence still share the same bed. Fate can still put the finger on you for no good reason at all. Life doesn’t change, because people don’t change.
- Richard Widmark in American History: Film Noir (1995) SO WHAT MAKES NOIR WORK? Is it simply the aesthetic qualities?
Is it something about the dark themes and characters that click with us?
Or is it a combination of both? Or neither? THE NURTURING OR GOOD WOMAN “It is not that studios and male production executives necessarily wanted greater numbers of women for creative positions; rather, they need them to fill the talent void resulting from the large numbers of men who were away.”
- Sheri Chinen Beisen THE PHANTOM LADY SETTING LOCATIONS The Urban Space
Focus on the Night THE URBAN SPACE 'The whole environment becomes deterministic, hostile, chaotic.’
- Silver, Ward pg. 6
‘Hostile urban setting both defeats and outlasts the characters.’ 139 Crowdus ‘The city stood for capitalism in it’s most degenerated form.’
- 139, Crowdus THE NIGHT AND PARANOIA The film noir is set at night when the impulses of the unconscious are most likely to surface and anything can happen.’
- 139, Crowdus Tracing the visual aesthetics of Film Noir or:
How I came to love venetian blinds. WHAT WE FIRST THINK OF IS OFTEN THE MOST ICONIC.
Our First recollections of film noir are consistent with the 3 key AESTHETICS of film noir:
Camera, Lighting & Mise en scene. MISE EN SCENE
From studio - back lot, locations.
Grilling Props, Venetians, lockups,
police precincts. FILM NOIR TECHNICS: Choreography over sociology? "The City was dark with something more than night."
- Raymond Chandler dutch angles
P.O.V THE CAMERA THE (BLACK) LIGHTING
The 10:1 ratio & chiaroscuro John Alton A.S.C (1901-1996)
He Walked By Night (1947)
Raw Deal (1948)
The Big Combo (1955) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FaH_B6utAyc#t=74m17s WHY FILM NOIR? Raymond Chandler's 'Hard-Boiled Crime' Novels
Realism to the characters ‘“Film noir” … as a black slate on which the culture could inscribe its ills and in the process produce a catharsis to help relieve them.’
- Silver, Alain & Ward, Elizabeth McCarthyism lead to anxiety and paranoia in 1950's America Social commentary of McCarthyism
in Hitchcork's Rear Window GERMAN EXPRESSIONISM “The term itself is vague. For German Expressionism
was less a unified style than an attitude, a state of mind."-Horst Uhr FRENCH POETIC REALISM What's similar?
Does it work? "Though the femme fatale is indeed a threat, she is no more so than the so-called 'redemptive' woman intent on the hero's domestication and the restoration of the status quo."
- Deborah Thomas 1940's-50's America:
Claustrophobia, paranoia and disillusionment