Film Noir: The American Genre

Of all the genres of film, Film Noir is the only one with truly American roots. Starting with films like Stranger on the Third Floor and The Maltese Falcon, audiences were introduced to a world straight off the pages of the pulp novels. Many of the stories came from crime and detective novels written by authors like Dashiell Hammett, James M. Cain, and Raymond Chandler. With the shadowy depiction of a pessimistic America, films took a new turn. Instead of a hero in a white hat, we began to see the cynical detectives like Philip Marlowe. Instead of a classic and innocent beauty, we were treated to the femme fatale, embodied by great actresses like Barbara Stanwyck. This era of film-making lasted only a short time, but produced a world of shadows, intrigue, murder, fedoras, and consequence.

RebeccaRebecca (1940)

The Maltese FalconThe Maltese Falcon (1941)

Dr. Broadway 1

Dr. Broadway (1942)

Gaslight (1944)

Ministry of FearMinistry of Fear (1944)

Double IndemnityDouble Indemnity (1944)

Mildred PierceMildred Pierce (1945)


Leave Her to Heaven (1945)

The Big SleepThe Big Sleep (1946)

Brute Force 1

Brute Force (1947)

Deep Valley 1

Deep Valley (1947)

Key Largo (1948)

Call Northside 777 1Call Northside 777 (1948)

The Third Man 2The Third Man (1949)

Flaxy Martin 1

Flaxy Martin (1949)

Sunset BlvdSunset Blvd. (1950)

In a Lonely Place (1950)

Night and the City (1950)

The Asphalt Jungle (1950)

Suddenly 1Suddenly (1954)

Time Without Pity 8

Time Without Pity (1957)

Sweet Smell of Sucess (1957)


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