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Film Noir

Updated on January 20, 2016

What is Film Noir? Part I

A term used to describe stylish Hollywood crime drama. Drama's that highlight cynical and sexual attitudes and motivations. This cinematic duration was from early 1940s to the late 1950s, the visual effect was black and white. The genre was associated with German Expressionist Cinematography of the period.

Film Noir means "black film" in french. The term was first used in Hollywood by French critic Nino Frank in 1946. Most of these films are filled with twists and turns that leave the viewer surprised at the end. There is still an argument of whether Film Noir qualifies as a genre or a melodrama. All I know is they're my favorite movies of all time.

Sunset Boulevard Movie Poster

Sunset Boulevard

Last weekend, my husband and I spent Sunday morning apart. He in the living room and I in the bedroom. This is common for us during basketball playoffs, don't get me wrong I like some sports, but basketball is a major yawn for me.

The morning was crisp, I settled back with some reading material, hot cup of coffee, flipped on the television and started my usual channel surfing. The Movie Channel was playing film noir. I'm now in heaven first on the menu;

Sunset Boulevard- this movie is top of my list in the film noir genre. A 1950 vehicle starring William Holden, Gloria Swanson and Erich von Stroheim. It's a story of a down on his luck writer who gets more than a little cozy with an aged, but rich, silent movie actress. A diva of the silent film era who is surrounded by and swimming in a sea of denial. The opening scene is a visual shock when you spot a body floating in a swimming pool.  And you realize "the body" is narrating giving the audience the 411 on how he got there.

Bogart (Bogie) and Bergman

Casablanca and Double Indemnity

Casablanca - Humphrey Bogart (Bogie), Ingrid Bergman and Paul Henried (1942) - war, romantic drama. Full of classic scenes, a classic song (As Time Goes By) and a classy cast. Takes place during World War II, a harden expatriate, Bogie's character, must choose between the woman he loves and assisting her husband, a resistance fighter against the Nazis, escape the Moroccan city of Casablanca.

There are some classic scenes that include character actors Sidney Greenstreet and Peter Lorre. Please note; the effervescent beauty of actress Ingrid Bergman, even in close ups her face is flawless.

Double Indemnity - Fred MacMurray, Barbara Stanwyck and Edward G. Robinson 1944 classic film. Ms. Stanwyck is at her conniving best in this film about, lust, money and murder. Fred MacMurray as a wisecracking, fast talking, slick insurance salesmen and Edward G. as his crusty, but wise boss.

Based on a true story of a woman from Queens, New York, her lover and their unsuccessful attempt to get away with murder in 1927. The movie is gritty and lustful without showing one inch of skin. Loaded, as most films of this genre, with twists, turns and a surprise ending.


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    • pmccray profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Utah

      Micky Dee my friend you're welcome in pmccrayworld anytime my friend and guess what you don't have to leave your crazy at the door. Peace to you dear friend.

    • Micky Dee profile image

      Micky Dee 

      8 years ago

      I have to come back often to read your hubs. Don't mind me. Just wandering around pmccrayworld! (and I dance on the buttons when I remember)

    • Micky Dee profile image

      Micky Dee 

      8 years ago

      Great movies Pmccray! I'm glad you had some good clean fun! Great way to chill out!

    • pmccray profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Utah

      William F. Torpey: only two modern day films live up to the genre: Body Heat and The Sixth Sense. I love films that keep me riveted to the screen, with plots that twist and turn. Thank you for dropping in or a read and leaving a comment.

      Sandyspider: Thank you for your time and comment. These memories are precious to me and just writing about these movies was a great pleasure.

    • Sandyspider profile image

      Sandy Mertens 

      8 years ago from Wisconsin, USA

      Oldies and goodies!

    • William F. Torpey profile image

      William F Torpey 

      8 years ago from South Valley Stream, N.Y.

      You've chosen three of my favorite movies to write about, and I couldn't agree more with your assessment. "Double indemnity," in my opinion, is underrated. It's a real thriller. "Sunset Boulevard" was also a great movie, and I greatly admire Erich von Stroheim, who was also brilliant in "Five Graves to Cairo." Bogie and Ingrid Bergman were great in "Casablanca" as were Peter Lorre, Sidney Greenstreet and Paul Henreid and Claude Rains -- What a cast! Thanks for the memories.

    • pmccray profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Utah

      Thank you so much. It is a great movie and thank you for your read and comment. Have a great evening.

    • Canklefish profile image


      8 years ago from East Coast

      I have to admit, 'Double Indemnity' is my fave when it comes to Noir.

      Great Hub.

    • pmccray profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Utah

      Why thank you Crazdwriter, and thanks so much for dropping in for a read and leaving a comment.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Very interesting hub. great information about the movies. thanks


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