Film noir

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  • Publié le : 11 avril 2011
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The term “Film noir” originates from a French critic, Nino Frank. He used this term in 1946 to describe “The Maltese Falcon”, released in 1941, “Murder, My Sweet”, “Double Indemnity” and “Laura”, allreleased in 1944. This type of film, unlike previous crime films, emphasizes no longer on the resolution of the crime, but more on the characters. Many called it “murder with a psychological twist”(Spicer, 2002, p.1) It showed the darker side of society and introduced the “femme fatale”. Spicer talks about many cultural influences on film noir. The 2 that will be treated are “Hard-boiled” crimefiction and German Expressionism.
The first he writes about and in my opinion of the most influential is “Hard-boiled” crime fiction. In fact, Spicer wrote: “almost 20 per cent of noir thrillersproduced between 1941 and 1948 were direct adaptations of “hard-boiled” novels and short stories.” (Spicer, 2002, p.5) “Hard-boiled” crime fiction reflects the evolution of the American people’s way ofthinking. The conception of the darker society was created. Corruption, alienation and violence were the new words to describe the population. Dashiell Hammett was one of the first to put first-personnarration in films noir. The sentences were often short and straight, which gave a feeling of speed, rush and urgency. The male in “hard-boiled” fiction is obsessed with women, “but only with theirbodies and look, the way they move or wear make-up and clothes.”(Spicer, 2002, p.7) Women were “femmes fatales”, which means erotic, desirable and manipulative. The most popular authors in “hard-boiled”crime fiction are Dashiell Hammett, with his character Sam Spade in “The Maltese Falcon”, Raymond Chandler with Philip Marlowe and James M. Cain with many characters.
As said in the book, “GermanExpressionism is always cited as the major influence on film noir’s arresting visual style and also its pessimistic mood.” (Spicer, 2002, p.11) German Expressionism came from the “Gothic Romance”...
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