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Yet this list is not exhaustive. Thrillers such as This Gun for Hire, The Big Sleep and The Lady in the Lake are as much part of the genre as are the more experimental Call Northshid 777, The House on the 92nd Street and The Naked City. Whatmore, compounding the problem of definition of film noir are the various renowned directors who have embraced the genre. Household names like Billy Wilder, John Huston, Otto Preminger, Robert Siodmak and Fritz Lang have all contributed to film noir. These luminous directors have not merely restricted themselves to film noir but have acquired fame for works in other genres. Hence classification on the basis of director groupings is also inadequate in defining film noir. Perhaps the only definitive quality is that the genre came into its own in the decade after the Second World War. It was an era of morose and confusion, as people (both in the United States and Europe) were grappling with evil tendencies in human nature – something film noir faithfully captures. In my opinion, authors Borde and Chaumeton do a commendable job of attempting to define the genre. They lay out the broader categories into which it falls, which incidentally complicate the problem. Finally, their definition of the genre in terms of its emotional effects on the audience – the state of tension and a specific psychological alienation imposed on the spectator – is something I agree with.
The author begins by acknowledging the difficulties in defining film noir. Contrasting it with other established genres like horror or western, Schrader reckons that the differentiating quality of film noir is its subtle yet dark tone and mood. More than qualities inherent to the film, its periodic setting and its production in the forties and early fifties are better markers of the genre. There were four key socio-political conditions during this period which were instrumental in the birth of film noir. The first was
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Nino Frank coined the term film noir in 1946. Classic film noir is related to the expressionism movement, particularly German expressionism, which is characterised with an extensive use of technical devices and artistic approach, where the personality of the director is predominantly palpable (Luhr 2012, p.56).
To formulate my own understanding and eventually my own definition about Noir, it would be necessary to put in perspective on how it started and eventually developed. The common consensus of Noir films beginning was in 1941 with the film "The Maltese Falcon".
The period of film noir, the 40s and early 50s, was also the time when Freudian influence on psychological studies was strident. The use of voice-overs then, became a way of representing the psychological, inner realm of the characters that could not otherwise be captured in the plot.
Film Noir “Film Noir” is a French term, which literally means ‘Black Film’. It encompassed classic Hollywood crime dramas that were made during the 40’s and 50’s. These movies had a major element of cynicism in them and character drives often were sexual in nature.
The author states that the trend of using less glamorous male characters was explained as being necessary to offset the shortage of eligible men as all able bodied ones were drafted to serve in the Army. This was an important accommodation as the new types of roles were written to pair the beautiful actresses with older men.
characters are also almost generic, the dangerously alluring deadly female (femme fatale), the hard boiled police detective and the anti-hero constantly surrounded by gun wielding thugs. Even with all these, it is the underlying visual styles that employ the creative use of
As most critics suggest, film noir is not strictly an American phenomenon and also need not always have been shot in black and white. But the basic elements of noir which sets it apart from the rest of the crime movies in
He continues to argue that the distinctive noir male agonist is weak, unstable, confused and ineffectual. They are damaged men suffering from a range of psychological neuroses and unable to figure out and resolve the problems they often face. Film noir will always
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