Film Noir Studies
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FILM NOIR STUDIES

A dark city street bathed in shadows. A seedy office with “Investigations” stenciled on the door. A winding road along the ocean cliffs. An isolated house on the outskirts of town. The scenes of film noir are all disturbingly familiar, as are the archetypal characters: the hard-boiled detective, the dangerously alluring femme fatale, and the well-heeled villain surrounded by gun-toting thugs. But even so, it is the visual style – canted camera angles, deep-focus shots, high-contrast lighting – and ultimately subversive message that are the hallmarks of classic film noir.

Yet, in spite of its recognizable elements, this deeply complex film genre – yes, it is a genre – has been the source of much discussion since it appeared in the early 1940s, later giving rise to modern neo-noir and tech-noir and forever changing the face of American cinema. Today, movie buffs attend film noir festivals, colleges offer courses on the subject, and critics argue whether the latest film is a noir or something just a bit different. The topic is as vibrant and intriguing now as it was 70 years ago.

Film Noir Studies found its own origins in a college course and a long-time fascination with old black-and-white movies. Its purpose is to continue the discussion about film noir – perhaps even fueling the fascination with the topic – by focusing on the classic noir films of the 1940s and ‘50s. The site is also intended to be an important resource for film students, professors, and movie buffs, alike.

   
  All text is copyright © 2008 John J. Blaser and Stephanie L.M. Blaser. All rights reserved. Contact: info@FilmNoirStudies.com.