Street with No Name
A History of the Classic American Film Noir
Publication Year: 2002
Published by: The University Press of Kentucky
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Attempting to write a history of the film noir provokes two questions. First, what does one mean by chronicling a loose number of films considered films noirs; that is, What is the film noir? What makes a film noir? And which films best serve to illustrate film noir? ...
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The persistent questions in most theoretical discussions of the film noir are what makes a film a film noir and whether such films can be considered to constitute a genre, an entity that possesses a language of iconography and conventions, or whether they instead merely display a certain cinematic style, intergeneric ...
1. THE NOIR IN AMERICA
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It is perhaps most useful to consider the development of the film noir as the confluence of cinematic changes that, in themselves, are found in other kinds of films without the specific resonances and appeals that in play with one another establish the coherent mythology that we recognize as noir cinema. ...
2. THE HARD-BOILED FICTION INFLUENCE
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From the early 1920s and continuing throughout the war years, the hardboiled fiction of the pulp magazines and booklets, published cheaply and selling briskly, attracted a readership all too familiar with the emotions, crimes, and violence that would find expression in the film noir. This literature as a body ...
3. WOMEN AS SEEN IN THE FILM NOIR
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Sexual power is defined most clearly in the context of gender conflict, and noir cinema illustrates this in all its creative tension and tragic consequences as few other film genres do. Bracketing the treatment of women in noir cinema is a dubious and faintly rewarding exercise, for women are an essential part of the noir world; ...
4. NOIR PRODUCTION
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The films noirs produced in Hollywood were not identified as such, and even well into the fifties they did not receive generic definition by the industry. They were very much a part of the melodrama/thriller films, often of B-movie status, financed by the studios. The stylistics of these movies, discussed in ...
5. THE NOIR INFLUENCE ON THE FRENCH NEW WAVE
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The French romance with American culture extends back to the tum of the previous century and before, but the appeal of American popular art stems from the interwar and immediate postwar attraction to products elusively appealing in their liberating vulgarity. What do we find valuable, even ennobling, in Bogart and Wayne, ...
Epilogue: Comments on the Classic Film Noir and the Neo-Noir
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Like errant children, films noirs have changed, subsumed by their history and turning into self-referential creatures not always beholden to their parents. What is it that makes one film made in the nineties a great noir (The Grifters), whereas another made almost twenty years ago (Body Heat) is a decided offshoot ...
Appendix: Credits of Selected Films Noirs
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Page Count: 328
Publication Year: 2002