Origins of Film Noir
- While most associate film noir with American crime movies of the post-World War II era, noir beginnings are rooted in European film, German expressionism, and French poetic realism.
- In America, film noir was influenced mainly by post-war anxiety and the emergence of psychoanalysis.
Classic Noir Tropes
- The intricate plot and subversive existentialist philosophy.
- Alienation in a modern American city manifested through criminality, psychosis, and paranoia.
- The frailty of the human condition and the exploration of the “darker self.”
- Exploration of how lust, love, and greed can destroy human lives.
- Male protagonist falling victim to a manipulative femme-fatale.
Noir Aesthetic and Iconography
- Deserted, rain-drenched streets of New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles
- Dark tenements
- Black and white photography
- Use of flashbacks
- Mostly night scenes
- Cigarettes and alcohol
- Neon signs
- Flawed heroes
- Cynical cops
- Lonely and repressed individuals
- The Maltese Falcon (1941)
- The Big Sleep (1945)
- Out of the Past (1947)
For the full story… What is Film Noir?