Essay Film Noir

Submitted By renelopez15
Words: 1007
Pages: 5

Development of Film II

As a cinematic genre dating back to the mid 1930's, Film Noir is generally defined as a dark, suspenseful thriller with a plot-line revolving around crime or mystery. Following World War II, Film Noir gained much recognition when Hollywood thrillers, such as The Maltese Falcon with Humphrey Bogart and Sidney Green street, could be seen in the French cinemas. In the genre of Film Noir, a particular blackness of physique, such as dark, wet city streets or the use of shadowing, as well as light beaming on certain characters for effect purposes, were intended to be an important element as well as the depiction of a dark world of corruption, violence and crime. Soon after the war, film noir became very popular with the French post-war generation of filmgoers and was adopted by some filmmakers. In most occasions, Film Noir involved the use of several special techniques usually brought about through photographic ingenuity and innovation at that time period. Basically, Film Noir included the application of sharp-edged shadows and camera shots, strange angles and settings which are often bleak and mundane. although it is not often incorporated into an atmosphere of hard urban reality, such as city streets, back alleys, rundown hotels, dark, smoke-filled barrooms and dimly-lit cafes. One of the most familiar themes associated with Film Noir contains a hero who is not a criminal but a weak, ineffective man who is tempted by a beautiful and mysterious woman, also known as a Femme Fatale. This role was originally created in the 1940’s as one of the leading characters in Film Noir, when a female character did not conform to the societal stereotype of an ideal woman, she was portrayed as evil. Women who were independent, rebellious and selfish were seen as dangerous, and were ostracized by the other characters and eventually the audience. One of the most acclaimed roles of the deviant woman is that of the femme fatale, a character who relies on her seductive capabilities to manipulate and control the male lead and doomed the fate of the protagonist. Despite the femme fatale’s apparent reliance on seduction as a form of manipulation, she derives a certain amount of control from her sexuality and uses her intellect to get what she wants. In 1944, the Billy Wilder directed the film, Double Indemnity. It is now regarded as a landmark in Film Noir. This film has all the characteristics and the primary moods of classic Film Noir which are melancholy, estrangement, bleakness, failure, pessimism, moral corruption, evil, guilt and paranoia. The entire film takes place in the city of Los Angeles. It follows the characters around the streets and into apartment buildings. The camera barely ventures outside during the daytime. If the action is during the day, we are inside and the lighting isn’t overblown by the daylight. The first encounter of Walter and Phyllis takes place during the day, yet the living room is extremely dark and the blinds look like cell bars against the characters. Low-key lighting shows us pools of light, surrounded by borders of darkness. When Walter enters his office at the beginning of the film to confess, there is no light in the entire room until Walter clicks on a small desk lamp and the lamp illuminates just sections of the desk and Walter. He is surrounded by the darkness. Lots of close ups are also used in the film. A great use of the darkness to illustrate a point is on the train. Walter keeps his head down while on the train and this blocks any light from leaking onto his face. He doesn’t want to be seen and even the viewer has a hard time seeing him clearly. Close ups and