American film's skepticism of law and its privileging of the legal outsider achieves its greatest expression in the genre of Film Noir. As such, Film Noir is both a commentary on the other major genres of film and the consummation of those genres, and of American film as a whole, insofar as the problem law is central to it.
I identify three major genres of American film: Romantic Comedy, the Western, and Film Noir. To call these the "major" genres is to say several things.
Unlike other recent works on film noir, most of which are critically lightweight and, ultimately, disposable viewing guides (1), Jans B.
Influenced by the work of both feminist film noir critics and social critic bell hooks, Wager's critical perspective parallels a tradition of female-centered film criticism that originally surfaced in the 1970s, in, for instance, the special issue of Film Comment devoted to film noir (1974).
Looking a bit like the excellent Sin City - all black and white shots that could have come directly out of a comic book - Renaissance is an animated film noir
set in Paris in 2054.
The Philosophy of Film Noir
. Lexington, KY: The University Press of Kentucky, 2006.
These films, with their dark, gloomy city streets and constant images of horizontal lines and bars framing down-on-their-luck lead characters, are most often referred to as film noir
. They come directly out of a period of intense class struggle in Hollywood and the nation as a whole and represent certain left attitudes growing out of the Popular or Cultural Front era led by the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO).
Critics debate whether "Double Indemnity" was the first true film noir
, but the real question may be what took so long for Billy Wilder's 1944 pic to get the deluxe DVD treatment.
When the authors analyze classic film noirs
, their basic argument fares better.
Andrew Dickos asks pertinent questions about the nature of film noir
in "Street With No Name." Unfortunately for the reader, he tries to answer them.
When he eventually discusses later color film noirs
, the author interestingly credits early 1970s "blaxploitation" films for experimenting with colored lights and filters "not only to heighten the atmosphere of sex and violence, but also to evoke the monochromatic tradition of high-contrast, black-and-white thrillers" (192).
(French for "black film") is a cinematic term used primarily to describe stylish crime dramas, particularly those that emphasize cynical attitudes and sexual motivations.
Fatalism in American Film Noir
: Some Cinematic Philosophy
However, film noir
seems to have a peculiar fascination for painted portraits of women; in one of the first key texts on film noir
, Raymond Durgnat mentioned their importance as one of many forms of doubling.
Foster Hirsch's Film Noir
: The Dark Side of the Screen (1981) and Alain Silver and Elizabeth Ward's Film Noir
: An Encyclopedic Reference to the American Style (1979) were the first book-length introductions and canonizations of classic film noir