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Film Noir. By: Bryan & Alex. Background Info. FIlm Noir literally means "black film or cinema" It was first called that by a french film critic Nino Frank in 1946, who noticed how 'dark' and downbeat and black the American crime and detective movies looked.

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Film noir

Film Noir

By: Bryan & Alex

Background info
Background Info

  • FIlm Noir literally means "black film or cinema"

  • It was first called that by a french film critic Nino Frank in 1946, who noticed how 'dark' and downbeat and black the American crime and detective movies looked.

  • All the darkness reflected the time period which was post World War II and early Cold War. The tensions were high and there was a lot of mistrust, loss of innocence, fear, and paranoia all over the air.

  • Classic Film Noir movies were made during and after World War II, taking advantage of anxiety, pessimism, and suspicion.


  • The Protagonists in film noir

  • Conflicted hard-boiled * detectives or private eyes

    • cops

    • gangsters

    • government agents

    • lone wolves

    • socio-paths

    • killers

    • crooks

    • war veterans

    • politicians

    • petty criminals

    • murderers

    • Plain "Joes"


  • The Protagonist is usually morally ambiguous, low-lifes from the dark and gloomy underworld of violent crime and corruption. Characteristics :

    • Cynical

    • Tarnished

    • Obsessive(sexual or otherwise)

    • Brooding

    • Menacing

    • Sinister

    • Sardonic

    • Disillusioned

    • Frightened

    • Insecure loner (usually male)

    • Struggling to survive

    • Ultimately losing


  • The story lines were often non-linear and twisting. The stories were very complex and maze-like and convoluted.

  • The story is usually told with a foreboding background music.

  • Often told in flashback or a series of flashbacks.

  • Amnesia suffered by the protagonist is a plot device often used.

  • Also the lost of innocence by falling under temptation or being framed.

Style of film noir
Style of Film Noir

  • It is usually shot in gloomy grays, blacks, and whites, this was done to show the inhumane side of human nature with cynicism and doomed love.

  • They emphasizes the brutal, unhealthy, seamy, shadowy, dark, sadistic sides of the human experience.

  • Camera tactics:

    • expressionistic lighting

    • deep focus or depth of field camera work

    • disorienting visual schemes

    • jarring editing

    • skewed camera angles(usually vertical or diagonal rather than horizontal


  • Interior settings:

    • with a single source of lighting, venetian-blinded windows, dark rooms, claustrophobic, gloomy appearances

  • Exterior settings:

    • urban night scenes with deep shadows, wet asphalt, dark alleyways, rain-slicked streets, flashing neon lights, and low lighting.

  • Story Locations:

    • murky and dark streets,dimly lit and low rent apartments and hotel rooms of big cities, or abandoned warehouses

Cross over noirs
Cross over Noirs

  • The term film noir also been more widely applied to other categories of films. Some of the most interesting film noir derivatives were the film noir westerns of the 1950s:

    • Pursued(1947)

    • The Gunfighter(1950)

    • High noon(1952)

    • The Halliday Brand (1957)

Derivatives of film noir
Derivatives of Film Noir


  • Thrillers- Pickup on South Street

  • Animation- Who Framed Roger Rabbit

  • Horror FIlms- Angel Heart

  • Westerns- Man of the West

  • Gangster-Crime Films- Road to Perdition

  • Science-Fiction- Kiss Me Deadly

  • Superhero Action Films- Tim Burton's Batman

Rebecca 1940
Rebecca 1940

Directed by: Alfred HItchcock

Stars: Laurence Olivier, Joan Fontaine and George Sanders

Plot: When a naive young woman marries a rich widower and settles in his gigantic mansion, she finds the memory of the first wife maintaining a grip on her husband and the servants.

The night of the hunter 1955
The Night of the Hunter 1955

Directed by: Charles Laughton

Stars: Robert Mitchum, Shelley Winters, and Lilian Gish

Plot: A religious fanatic marries a gullible widow whose young children are reluctant to tell him where their real daddy hid 10,000 he'd stolen in a robbery.

Chinatown 197
Chinatown 197.

Directed by: Roman Polanski

Stars: Jack Nicholson, Faye Dunaway and John Huston

Plot: An Los Angeles private detective investigates an adultery case stumbles on to a scheme of murder that has something to do with water in the 1940s.

Blade runner 1982
Blade Runner 1982

Directed by: Ridley Scott

Stars: Harrison Ford, Rutger Hauer, and Sean Young

Plot: Deckard, a Blade Runner, has to track down and terminate four replicants (clones) who hijacked a ship in space and have returned to earth seeking their maker. Takes place in futuristic Los Angeles, circa 2019.

Pulp fiction 1994
Pulp Fiction 1994

Directed by: Quentin Tarantino

Stars: John Travolta, Samuel L. Jackson, Uma Thurnman

Plot: The lives of two mob hit men, boxer, a gangster's wife, and a pair of diner bandits intertwine in four tales of violence and redemption.