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The American Dark Cinema: Classic Film Noir.

In: Film and Music

Submitted By Nickill
Words 355
Pages 2
Growing up I watched black and white movies with my dad. They were always just mystery movies to me, but there was something compelling about them. I was intrigued. I find that as I watch these movies again I’m able to view them with a more critical eye looking for what made them so special.

Prior to World War II American films were about singing, dancing and happy endings. The occupation in Europe changed all that. Many European directors, artists and actors escaped to America and brought their artistic visions and hellish nightmares with them. The movies they made provided them with a creative outlet. They showed a dark side to humanity in which American soldiers returning from war could relate to. It helped them see that they were not the only ones with problems and that life was not always easy. It helped normalize what they were feeling and perhaps even helped them adjust to coming back home.

Film Noir films were a complete change to what the American public was familiar with. They exposed the audience to something new and different. These movies brought an “edge and roughness” to life as they knew it. Most of all they provided new techniques to film making. The director’s innovative use of lighting and cinematography were never seen before. The audience was drawn in to focus on the main characters which I think made the scene more intimate. The actors had to up there performances showcasing their acting ability. Music played a big role in these movies as well. If you closed your eyes you could hear the tension and emotion of the scene through the musical score. It helped set the mood and kept you engrossed in the film.

Many of the elements used in Film Noir movies are still in use today especially the lighting and camera angle shots. In recent years others have made movies trying to copy the Film Noire style, such as Body Heat, The Black Dahlia, The Grifters and Sin City but I don’t think they come close to the feel of the originals from the 1940’s and 1950’s.

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