Hardly any movement in film history has entered pop culture as much as film noir. Everyone knows the image of the smoking private detective in a trench coat or the seductive femme fatale; the motifs of the Black Series still permeate modern genre cinema.
The term film noir was coined by a French film critic who recognized a new, gloomy tendency in the American crime novels of the early forties. In 1941 the first big film noir appeared with The Trace of the Falcon , the era of which would dominate US cinema for twenty years before In the Sign of Evil the classic phase of the trend ended in 1958.
The aesthetic of the Black Series comes from expressionist silent films from Germany. Works like The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari created their own parallel cinematic worlds from an exaggerated play of light and shadow. When the German directors immigrated to the United States when the Nazis came to power, they also exported this style. In 123movies tv you can now have the best options to watch the perfect noir films.
The trend of poetic realism emerged in France in the 1930s and marks a period in which filmmakers and writers turned to the milieus of the common people. Works such as The Day Is Dawning or Bestie Mensch themed the longings and problems of the socially disadvantaged, whose stories often end in fatal defeats.
American gangster films
The formal and content-related features of the two aforementioned currents from abroad fell on the fertile soil of an original American subject – the fascination with crime, which was fed in the thirties by gangster films such as Howard Hawks’ Scarface or William A. Wellman’s The Public Enemy .
Hard boiled literature
At the same time, some crime authors swung themselves into ever harder novels, the protagonists of which move in a corrupt, cynical world. Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler’s private detectives Sam Spade and Philip Marlowe became icons of the genre, and their creators wrote for Hollywood from then on.
Introductory film: Woman without a conscience
Billy Wilder’s Film Noir from 1944 is considered one of the prototypes of the Black Series. Woman without a conscience includes almost all stylistic features of the current: It is told in flashbacks and by means of a voice-over and is about a man who is seduced by a woman and driven to murder. The low-key lighting makes for great pictures, while Fred MacMurray as the antihero and Barbara Stanwyck as the femme fatale demonstrate fantastic chemistry. The snappy dialogues of crime legend Raymond Chandler are also great fun.
“I killed for money, and for a woman. I didn’t get the money and I didn’t get the woman. “
Nowhere else does Murphy’s Law apply more than in Film Noir. Friends and lovers cheat on one another, hopes turn into nightmares, and any plan produces collateral damage. The master of this fatalism turned not in the United States, but in France: in the works of Jean-Pierre Melville, everything basically always goes down the drain. The fact that his heroes and anti-heroes fight their long-lost battles all the more desperately is what makes Melville’s films so incredibly exciting.
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