Film Noir Studies
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    Film Noir's Progressive Portrayal of Women
by John Blaser
The quintessential femme fatale of film noir uses her sexual attractiveness and ruthless cunning to manipulate men in order to gain power, independence, money, or all three at once. She rejects the conventional roles of devoted wife and loving mother that mainstream society prescribes for women, and in the end her transgression of social norms leads to her own destruction and the destruction of the men who are attracted to her...

Film Noir and the Hard-Boiled Detective Hero
by John Blaser
The American hard-boiled detective film began to appear in the early 1940s, providing an alternative to the traditional murder mystery that had dominated detective films throughout the silent era and into the 1930s. These films represented an artistic effort to break the rules of the game laid down by countless movies about Sherlock Holmes and Philo Vance, and by the ongoing "Thin Man" series...

The Outer Limits of Film Noir
by John Blaser
So many critics can't be wrong. Yet The Maltese Falcon and Touch of Evil could be described more accurately as transitional films that mark the boundaries between true film noir and films that have few or no noir elements. The Maltese Falcon introduces elements that later became hallmarks of film noir — in particular the alienated and amoral hero, the femme fatale, and the dark and disturbed urban environment in which they live — but it stops short of a purely noir outlook and visual representation...

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