Film Noir - French for "dark film": Film Noir is a moody, violent, melodramatic genre that originally derived much of its material from the hardboiled school of crime fiction that emerged in the United States during the Great Depression. The classical Hollywood film noir period extends from the early 1940s to the late 1950s and was unrecognized by most American film industry professionals until the 70s when it was defined retrospectively. Visually it is defined by its low-key black-and-white lighting that has its roots in German Expresionism. And; like expressionism it was all about the interior darkness of humanity. Often pulpy and violent and sexual; it was always trying to kick the audience in the guts.
D. O. A. (1950)
1:23:09 USA Dir Rudolph Mate
The film begins with what a BBC reviewer called "perhaps one of cinema's most innovative opening sequences." The scene is a long, behind-the-back tracking sequence featuring Frank Bigelow (Edmond O'Brien) walking through the hallway of a police station to report his own murder. Regarded as a noir classic it initially received a lukewarm critical reponses. Told entirely in flashback the frantically paced plot revolves around a doomed man's quest to find out who has poisoned him, and why. Tracking down his killer just before he dies — discovering the reason for his death — turns out to be the triumph of his life. The film ends with the police detective taking down the report instructing that his file be marked "D.O.A." Production Credits
Notorious - Alfred Hitchcock
1:41:34 1946 Ostensibly a spy thriller, Notorious, uses flawed and complex characters to talk intimately about trust and redemption; and in a typically twisted Hitchcockian world, is a deeply moving love story. Made just after the conclusion of WWII who would have thought the audience could ever empathise with a Nazi. Described by Roger Ebert as 'the most elegant expression of the master's visual style', this is a stunning and affecting movie. A beautiful woman with a tainted past (Ingrid Bergman) is enlisted by American agent Devlin (Cary Grant) to spy on a ring of Nazis in post-war Rio. Her espionage work becomes life-threatening after she marries the most debonair of the Nazi ring, Alex (Claude Rains). Only Devlin can rescue her, but to do so he must face his role in her desperate situation and acknowledge that he’s loved her all along. The film was the official selection of the 1946 Cannes Film Festival. Production Credits
1:43:03 USA Dir: Richard Fleischer. Compulsion is a compelling, stylish thriller, loosely based on the famous 1924 murder trial of thrill-killers Loeb and Leopold, two homosexual students who murdered a young boy to demonstrate their intellectual superiority. The film is based on the 1956 novel of the same name by Meyer Levin, both in turn influenced Truman Capote's, 'In Cold Blood'.
Although the principal roles are played by Dean Stockwell and Bradford Dillman, top billing went to Orson Welles, who does not appear in the film's first hour. The film was entered into the 1959 Cannes Film Festival, where Dillman, Stockwell and Welles won the Best Actor Award. Production Credits
Kansas City Confidential
1:42:54 USA 1952 Dir. Phil Karlson. A low budget hard nosed noir about an ex-con trying to go straight, until he is framed for a million dollar armored car robbery and must go to Mexico in order to unmask the real culprits. John Payne is the kind of star you have when you dont have a star and the whole movie is a fairly low-key ensemble project with lots of energy. According to Howard Hughes (Crime Wave: The Filmgoers' Guide to the Great Crime Movies 2006) the plot served as inspiration for Tarantino's Reservoir Dogs - never trust a crook! Production Credits
Scarlet Street (1945)
1:41:26 1945 USA Dir Fritz Lang based on the French novel La Chienne (The Bitch) by Georges de La Fouchardière, that previously had been dramatized on stage by André Mouëzy-Éon, and cinematically as La Chienne (1931) by director Jean Renoir. Scarlet Street is about a middle-aged painter (Edward G Robinson) who is seduced by a woman (Joan Bennett) and paints her a portrait, only to come across that she's using him for his money and fame. Production Credits
Kiss Me Deadly (1955)
1:38:52 USA Based on a novel by Mickey Spillane, produced and directed by Robert Aldrich and starring Ralph Meeker. "Kiss Me Deadly". is often considered a classic of the noir genre.
When released the Kefauver Commission, called it a film designed to ruin young viewers. As described by Paul Schrader, "Robert Aldrich's teasing direction carries noir to its sleaziest and most perversely erotic. Hammer overturns the underworld in search of the 'great whatsit' [which] turns out to be—joke of jokes—an exploding atomic bomb."