Film noir

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Film noir [ filmˈnwaʀ ] ( French for “black film”) is a term used in the field of film criticism . Originally, this term was used to classify a series of cynical US crime films of the 1940s and 1950s characterized by a pessimistic worldview , which in the German-speaking area are also summarized under the term "black series". Usually, The Trail of the Falcon from 1941 is regarded as the first and In the Signs of Evil from 1958 as the last representative of this classic era.

The roots of film noir are primarily in German Expressionist silent film and the US Hardboiled - crime fiction of the 1920s and 1930s. Accordingly, the films of the classical era are usually characterized by an image design dominated by strong light-dark contrasts, alienated or embittered protagonists and urban settings.

The style and content of film noir continued to be used after 1958. These later produced films with characteristics of the classical era are often referred to as " neo-noir ". The restriction on the use of the term film noir to films of American origin has increasingly been abandoned, so that the country of production is often no longer relevant for the classification nowadays.

About the term "film noir"


In contrast to other film genres such as horror films , thrillers or westerns , the term film noir was developed on the part of film journalism and retrospectively summarizes a group of films that were previously perceived in a loosely context.

The formulation was first used in an article by French film critic Nino Frank published in August 1946 . This dealt with a number of Hollywood films from the early 1940s which, due to an import ban, only found their way into French cinemas after the end of World War II. The films The Trace of the Falcon (1941), Woman Without a Conscience (1944), Laura (1944) and Murder, My Sweet (1944) were among others . In these four productions Frank believed he was discovering a new “darker” variety of crime film, which basically paid more attention to the characterization of the characters than to the plot. He pointed u. a. to the use of off-camera comments, which fragment the plot and highlight the “lifelike” side of the film. Frank created the phrase film noir probably alluding to the title of the series Série noire by the Parisian Gallimard publishing house, in which translations of American hardboiled detective novels have been published since 1945. Until the late 1960s, however, the use of the term was essentially limited to France. In the US itself, the films in question were usually referred to as psychological melodrama or psychological thriller .

Film series, genre or style?

To this day, there is no consensus in film studies on how to classify film noir. In one of the first essays on the subject by the French Raymond Borde and Étienne Chaumeton from 1955, it says:

“A new 'series' had emerged in the film. A series can be defined as a group of films from a country that share certain characteristics (visual style, atmosphere, subject matter ...) so convincingly [...] that they are given an unmistakable character over time. "

In their 1968 book Hollywood in the Forties , the British Charles Higham and Joel Greenberg described film noir as an independent genre :

“The visual form was strongly romantic, and its precise adaptation to the stories of fatal women and desperate men […] gave film noir of the [19] 1940s its perfection as a genre. A world was created that was as sealed off from reality as the world of musicals and Paramount's subtle comedies, but still more delicious in its own way than either. "

In contrast, the British critic Raymond Durgnat postulated in 1970:

"'Film noir' is not a genre like the western or the gangster film , and it leads us into the area of ​​classification by motif and mood."

The American Paul Schrader took a similar view in 1972 when he compared film noir with styles such as Nouvelle Vague or Italian neorealism . Like this, film noir should be seen as a temporary phenomenon characterized primarily by motivic and stylistic features.

Difficulties of assignment

Since there is no clear definition of film noir, the definition of the term is naturally relatively vague. Opinions as to whether a certain film should be classified as film noir can vary widely.

For example, the time frame of the classical era is usually limited to the 1940s and 1950s, but both forerunners (e.g. Gehetzt [1937]) and more recent films (e.g. Explosion des Schweigen [1961]) can be under fall the term. There is also no consensus on origin as a defining factor. Although many film noir experts such as Paul Schrader or Alain Silver and Elizabeth Ward explicitly only classify Hollywood productions as classic film noir, some film scholars such as James Naremore or Andrew Spicer take the term further and include British and French productions in particular a (see “ Film noir outside the United States ” section).

In terms of content, there are also no definitive criteria for assignment. Even the widespread view that films noirs are exclusively crime films is by no means generally accepted. Nino Frank used the term explicitly on Billy Wilder's The Lost Weekend (1945), a “problem film” melodrama about an alcoholic. Although this film was largely ignored in later treatises on the subject, but over time were, among others, even some Western (z. B. Tracks [1947]) or historical films (eg. Demon of Paris [1949]) the classic movie -noir canon assigned.

Precursors and Influences

Cinematic precursors

German expressionism

The aesthetic of film noir is strongly influenced by the expressionist silent film of the 1920s with its sharp contrasts between light and dark, tracking shots with an “ unleashed camera ” and distorted camera perspectives. Expressionist works such as The Last Man (1924) or Metropolis (1927) met with great admiration in the American film industry and influenced the horror films of Universal Studios there as early as the early 1930s . The Metropolis cameraman Karl Freund played an important part in this development . a. participated in Dracula (1931) and Murder on Rue Morgue (1932). Freund later photographed the films noirs The Unknown Beloved (1946) and Gangster in Key Largo (1948).

During the 1930s, the promising opportunities in Hollywood and the rise of National Socialism led to the emigration of numerous other filmmakers of German and Austro-Hungarian origin. They brought their image design techniques with them to Hollywood and strengthened the expressionist influence there. Particularly noteworthy here is the director Fritz Lang , whose first two Hollywood films Blinde Wut (1936) and Gehetzt (1937) already anticipate many visual and thematic elements of film noir. The cameraman Theodor Sparkuhl , whose low-key photography in Zum Leben verdammt (1941), The glass key and The black curtain (both 1942), with the low-contrast lighting of many gangster films of the 1930s , also had an early influence on the visual style of film noir broke.

Other Hollywood immigrants who were important for film noir were the directors Robert Siodmak , Billy Wilder , Otto Preminger , John Brahm , Max Ophüls , Fred Zinnemann , William Dieterle , Edgar G. Ulmer , Curtis Bernhardt , Rudolph Maté , Anatole Litvak and Michael Curtiz , who made numerous important films of the classical canon, as well as the style-setting cameraman John Alton , who photographed the films noirs of Anthony Mann and Joseph H. Lewis , among others .

Poetic Realism and Neorealism

The movement of poetic realism in French cinema of the late 1930s, which addressed the bitter social and political realities of the lower social classes, was also groundbreaking for film noir . Works such as Julien Duvivier's Pépé le Moko - Im Dunkel von Algier (1936), Jean Renoir's Bestie Mensch (1938) or Marcel Carné's Hafen im Nebel (1938) and The day breaks (1939) (all with Jean Gabin in the leading role) mixed romantic crime stories with heroic, doomed protagonists. If not quite as misanthropic and cynical as the film noir, there is a clear relationship between the two movements. Logically, Bestie Mensch and Der Tag breaks an provided the templates for the films noirs Lebensgier (1954) and The Long Night (1947). Temptation Street (1945) is also based on a Renoir film.

In contrast to their German colleagues, the French filmmakers hardly played a role in Hollywood in the 1940s and 1950s. With regard to the film noir, only Jean Renoir's melodrama Die Frau am Strand (1947) should be mentioned, which some critics assigned to the classic cycle. The important film noir director Jacques Tourneur, on the other hand, was French by birth, but learned his trade in Hollywood.

After the end of the Second World War , Italian neorealism, with its quasi- documentary authenticity, also influenced the development of film noir. Filmmakers like Jules Dassin ( City without a Mask , Danger in Frisco ) and Elia Kazan ( Boomerang , Under Secret Orders ) moved their locations from the film studios to the streets.

The March of Time and the documentary

In addition to the documentary stylistic devices of neorealism, authentic documentary films also left their mark on film noir. Louis de Rochemont, who became famous with the documentary series The March of Time , produced Das Haus on 92. Straße (1946), the first representative of the so-called semidocumentaries (about "semi-documentary films"). Its success was followed by a series of feature films in which the investigative work of police officers and other state employees was shown and commented on by a spokesman, including Secret Agent T (1947), City Without a Mask (1948) and Under Secret Orders (1950).

Literary influences

The main literary influence on film noir had the "hardboiled" school of American crime literature , which was shaped by authors like Dashiell Hammett since the 1920s and mostly published in pulp magazines such as Black Mask . The early film noir masterpieces The Trail of the Falcon (1941) and The Glass Key (1942) are both based on novels by Hammett. As early as 1931, a decade before the beginning of the “classical era”, one of Hammett's stories served as the basis for the gangster film Streets of the Big City by director Rouben Mamoulian and cameraman Lee Garmes . This film is now considered an important precursor to film noir due to its visual style.

Soon after his first novel, The Big Sleep, was published in 1939, Raymond Chandler became the most famous writer of the Hardboiled School. Several of Chandler's novels have been processed into films noirs, for example Murder, My Sweet (1944), Dead sleep tight (1946) and The Lady in the Lake (1947). Chandler was also an important screenwriter for the film noir, who wrote the scripts for Woman Without a Conscience (1944) and The Blue Dahlia (1946) as well as the first version of The Stranger on the Train (1951).

While Hammett and Chandler geared most of their stories to the character of the private detective, James M. Cain depicted less heroic protagonists in his works and focused more on psychological study than on solving the crime. Cain's novels provided the basis for the films noirs Frau ohne Conscience (1944), As long as a heart beats (1945) and In the Net of Passions (1946).

Another influential writer was Cornell Woolrich (also known by the pseudonyms George Hopley and William Irish) in the 1940s . No other author contributed as many templates for films noirs as he did: Silver & Ward name a total of 13, including Witness Wanted (1944), Forgotten Hour (1946), The Night Has Thousand Eyes (1948) and The Unheimliche Fenster (1949).

The work of WR Burnett is equally essential for film noir . Burnett's first novel Little Caesar served as a template for the classic gangster film The Little Caesar (1931), and he also wrote the dialogues for Scarface (1932). Also in 1932, The Beast of the City was created based on a Burnett model. Despite its early year of production, this film is already viewed by some critics as film noir. During the "classic era" Burnett then provided the basis for six other films as a novelist or screenwriter, which are now considered films noirs, including Decision in the Sierra (1941) and Asphalt Jungle (1950).

Other important authors who did not belong to the hardboiled school but provided the literary templates for films noirs were, for example, B. Eric Ambler ( Chased by Agents [1943], The Mask of Dimitrios [1944]), Graham Greene ( The Scarred Hand [1942], Ministry of Fear [1944]) and Ernest Hemingway ( Avengers of the Underworld [1946], People Smuggling [ 1950]).

The "Black Series"

According to most experts, John Huston's detective film The Trail of the Falcon (1941) should be regarded as the first classic film noir. (However, the recently published but less well-known Stranger on the Third Floor from 1940 is occasionally mentioned in this context .) The film, in which Humphrey Bogart and Mary Astor appear as the main characters, appears visually conventional, but possesses with the private detective and a number of eccentric protagonists typical features of later films noirs.

This also marks the beginning of the first of three phases of American film noir, which the critic Paul Schrader differentiates, the "wartime period" ("phase of the war years") from around 1941 to 1946. During these years the character of the private detective or the so-called " lone wolf ”prevailing. Books by Chandler and Hammett often serve as the basis, and a number of actors establish themselves in film noir, such as Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall ( Dead sleep tight , 1946) and Alan Ladd and Veronica Lake ( The Scarred Hand and The Glass Key , both 1942 ). While some films noirs came from directors who were already established, such as Tay Garnett ( In the Net of Passions, 1946), Fritz Lang ( Dangerous Encounters , 1944) or Howard Hawks ( Dead sleep tight, 1946), others served their directors as a career springboard, including John Huston, Otto Preminger ( Laura , 1944), Billy Wilder ( Woman Without a Conscience , 1944) and Edward Dmytryk ( Murder, My Sweet , 1944). For Schrader, Wilder's wife without a conscience marks the transition from the first to the second phase of film noir.

Schrader calls the second phase of the “Black Series” the “post-war realistic period” (“realistic post-war phase”) from around 1945 to 1949. The films from this period deal more with crime on the street, corrupt politicians and everyday investigative work . The heroes are far less romantic than their predecessors, and the films' urban appearance is more realistic. Representatives of this phase are Das Haus on 92. Straße and Avengers of the Underworld (both 1946), The Kiss of Death and secret agent T (both 1947) and City without a Mask (1948).

The third and final phase, from about 1949 to 1953, is, according to Schrader, the “period of psychotic action and suicidal impulse” (“phase of psychotic actions and suicidal instincts”). The characters' personality dissolves, and psychotic killers are now often the main characters. Aesthetically and sociologically, these are the most penetrating films for Schrader, often made as B-productions . This phase includes Schrader Joseph H. Lewis ' Dangerous Passion , Otto Preminger's Law of the Big City , Gordon Douglas ' You Won't See Tomorrow (all 1950) and Fritz Lang's Hot Iron (1953).

As a 1955 rat's nest of Robert Aldrich came out, the phenomenon film noir was "stopped" (Schrader). The America of the Eisenhower era wanted to see more positive images of its "way of life", and at the same time television and color film were on the rise. Orson Welles ' 1958 masterpiece Under the Signs of Evil is mostly seen as the end of classic film noir. However, since the end of the classical phase, films have occasionally been produced that take up thematic, visual or other elements of film noir. Nowadays these are mostly described with the term " Neo-Noir ". In addition, films were also produced outside the United States during the classic phase, which many experts have now classified as film noir (see section “ Film noir outside the United States ”).


Subjects and characters

Crime, especially murder, is a core element of almost all film noirs, with motives such as greed for money or jealousy often coming into play. Solving the crime that may be involved in a private detective, a police inspector or a private individual is a common, but non-predominant issue. Other plots may be about a robbery, scams, or conspiracies and affairs.

Films noirs tend to be about heroes (actually antiheroes ) who are unusually vicious and morally questionable. They are often described as alienated (sold dt., Alienated) above, or in the words of Alain Silver and Elizabeth Ward, as "filled with existential bitterness." Among the archetypal characters of film noir are hardboiled detectives, femmes fatales , corrupt police officers, jealous husbands, intrepid insurance employees and shabby writers. Of these, as the majority of neo-noirs show, the detective and the femme fatale are the characters most likely to be associated with film noir, although by no means all of the classic films noirs feature these two characters. The image of man is pessimistic. Often everyone is against everyone, everyone is only looking for their own benefit and whoever trusts others is left behind.

The urban settings are typical of film noir, with Los Angeles , San Francisco , New York City and Chicago being among the most popular. The city usually symbolizes a labyrinth in which the protagonists are trapped; Bars, nightclubs and gambling dens, shabby factory floors and lonely street canyons are the usual locations for the action. In particular, the tension peaks in some films lie in complex, often industrial scenes, such as the explosion in Leap in Death (1949).

Narrative technique

Flashbacks and voice-over (= a narrator's voice) are among the narrative techniques often used in film noir. A voiceover often serves to underline the hopelessness of a situation or a protagonist and anticipates the fatal outcome of the story at the beginning of the film. However, the voice-over can also have a security function for the viewer: "In the deadly unstable world of noir, the voice-over often serves as a stop [...] it is our guide through the noir labyrinth" (Foster Hirsch).

Furthermore, films noirs are more fixated on the subjective view of the protagonist than other Hollywood productions, for example in the dream and hallucination scene in Murder, My Sweet . The Lady in the Lake and The Black Snake (both 1947) are filmed over long distances from the perspective of the respective main character, so that the viewer can only see them in mirror images.

Visual style

The film noir style is characterized by low-key lighting that creates strong light-dark contrasts and eye-catching shadow images. Further visual peculiarities of film noir are its use of oblique camera perspectives , extreme under or overhead supervision and the frequent use of wide-angle lenses . Film noir is characterized by shots of people in the mirror and through curved glass, as well as other bizarre effects. In the late 1940s, many films were also made on their original locations. This was made possible by increasingly sensitive film material and lighter equipment.

Nevertheless, the visual style in film noir is by no means homogeneous: Black and white photography is often seen as essential, but there are examples of color films that are called film noirs, such as Mortal Sin (1945), Niagara (1953) or The Girl from the Underworld (1958) are recognized. Films that were mainly photographed in broad daylight are also classified as film noir, for example M and Reporter des Satans (both 1951).

Worldview and mood

Film noir is fundamentally pessimistic. In the stories that are seen as characteristic, the characters find themselves trapped in unforeseen situations and fight against the fate that usually brings them a bad end. The films describe a world in which corruption is inherent. Many film theorists associate film noir with the society of its time in the USA , which was marked by fear and alienation as a result of the Second World War . Nicholas Christopher puts it this way: "It is as if the war and the social upheaval that followed it had released demons locked in the psyche of the nation."

Instead of limiting itself to simple good-and-bad constructions, the film noir builds up moral dilemmas that are unusually ambiguous - at least for typical Hollywood cinema. They are not characters who pursue their goals according to clear moral guidelines: the investigator in The Trace of the Stranger (1946), who obsessively wants to track down a Nazi criminal, puts other people in mortal danger in order to catch the target person.

“The hallmark of film noir is its sense of trapped people - trapped in a web of paranoia and fear, unable to distinguish guilt from innocence, true identity from false. The bad guys are attractive and personable [...]. His heroes and heroines are weak, disturbed, and prone to false perceptions. The environment is gloomy and closed, the scenes suggestively oppressive. In the end, the evil is exposed, but the victory of the good remains unclear and ambiguous. "

- Robert Sklar

The pessimistic mood of film noir is also described by critics as dark and "overwhelmingly black" (Robert Ottoson). Paul Schrader wrote that film noir is defined by its mood, a mood that he describes as "hopeless". On the other hand, certain films in the Black Series are famous for the quick-wittedness of their hardboiled characters , which is peppered with sexual innuendos and self-reflective humor.

Social criticism and politics in film noir

Many films noirs, especially those based on templates by hardboiled authors, illuminate the milieu of socially disadvantaged classes or contrast different social classes. Films like Der gläserne Schlüssel (1942) and Murder, My Sweet (1944) are, according to Georg Seeßlen, pervaded by “a latent tendency towards social criticism, as can be demonstrated in the films in general, but even more in the people involved in them, that the genre the private-eye films might well be a derivative of a « left » tendency in Hollywood. "Directors who excelled with socially critical topics were Edward Dmytryk (Murder, My Sweet, Cornered , Im Kreuzfeuer ) , Robert Rossen ( Johnny O ' Clock , Hunt for Millions) , Jules Dassin ( Cell R 17 , The Naked City) and Joseph Losey (You don't sing songs to Satan, M) . With the beginning of the anti-communist McCarthy era , the careers of these directors came to an abrupt end. Thom Andersen created the term film gris for these films, which sought to achieve “greater psychological and social realism” .

James Naremore adds Orson Welles and John Huston to the list of socially committed directors and sees the film noir of the 1940s divided into two camps, that of “ humanism and political commitment” on the one hand, that of “cynicism and misanthropy ” (represented for example by Alfred Hitchcock and Billy Wilder) on the other hand. The McCarthy-era "blacklist" marked the end of an "important movement in American cultural history" because "without the generation of the Reds of the 1940s, the tradition of film noir would hardly exist." (Naremore)

In the late 1940s and early 1950s, the changed political climate in the USA was also reflected in film noir. A series of films were made that warned of the danger of communist "infiltration" such as The Woman on Pier 13 or I was FBI Mann MC Detailed descriptions of the environment as in wanted poster 7-73 by John Berry (who was also blacklisted) disappeared from the film noir. One exception was Samuel Fuller's police intervening , who combined an anti-communist message with a portrait of representatives of the American lower class. In the American detective novel, Mickey Spillane'sfascist avenger” (Naremore) Mike Hammer became the most popular character of those years.

Film noir outside of the United States

In post-war Great Britain a whole series of films were made that are stylistically close to film noir, which led to the coining of the term “British Noir”. Prominent examples are Brighton Rock by John Boulting based on a novel by Graham Greene , Convict 3312 by Alberto Cavalcanti and Outcast by Carol Reed , all from 1947. Carol directed The Third Man (1949, also based on a Graham Greene novel) Reed is probably the most famous representative of British Noir. Due to the repression of the McCarthy era , some Hollywood directors also emigrated to Great Britain, where they also created outstanding works of British noir, such as B. The madness of Dr. Clive (1949) by Edward Dmytryk , Diabolical Alibi by Joseph Losey and Duel at the wheel by Cy Endfield (both 1957).

In France, too, numerous films were produced during the classical era that are in the tradition of American film noir. One of the best known of these is Rififi (1955) by Jules Dassin, who emigrated to France from the USA . Other outstanding examples are Henri-Georges Clouzot's Under False Suspicion (1947) and Die Teuflischen (1954), Jacques Becker's Goldhelm (1952) and When Night Falls in Paris (1954) and Jean-Pierre Melville's Three O'clock at Night (1956). With The Devil with the White Waistcoat (1962) and The Second Breath (1966), Melville continued to create important French film noirs even after the end of the classical era.

In their fight against the established and boring French “quality cinema” of the 1950s, the directors of the Nouvelle Vague also had a preference for the quickly and cheaply produced films of the “black series”. The younger representatives such as Samuel Fuller and Robert Aldrich were particularly admired by them, and film noir became a source of inspiration in their work. Louis Malles Elevator to the Scaffold (1958), a forerunner of the Nouvelle Vague, makes extensive use of the thematic and stylistic guidelines of film noir, and François Truffaut's Shoot at the Pianist (1960) is based on a novel by the noir author David Goodis .

Some films with noir attributes were even made in Germany and Austria. The most important of these today is Peter Lorre's The Lost (1951). Further examples are Epilog - The Secret of Orplid (1950) by Helmut Käutner , which thematically and stylistically ties in with The Third Man , Adventure in Vienna (1952) by Emil-Edwin Reinert and Robert Siodmaks Nachts bei der Teufel haben (1957).

Neo noir

The term neo-noir is used to summarize films that have been made since the end of the era of classic film noir and that vary or only reproduce the typical visual and narrative elements of film noir.

Film noir in other media

TV Shows

When film noir was nearing its end in the cinemas, the new medium of television , which at that time was still black and white, began to spread rapidly. Despite the completely different viewing experience and unclosed format of the series, some filmmakers dared to produce noir-style television shows. It all started with the detective series China Smith (1952–1954), to which Robert Aldrich also contributed a few episodes. The main character was characterized by sarcasm, homelessness and his own moral code. The series Four Star Playhouse (1952–1956), in which Robert Aldrich, screenwriter Blake Edwards and actor Dick Powell were involved, also presented itself in the noir style . Other "die-hard" detective series in the 1950s were Mickey Spillane's Mike Hammer (1956–1959) and The Man with a Camera (1958–1959).

Peter Gunn (1958–1961), who shows an emotionally isolated detective as the main character, is particularly dark, fatalistic and violent. Theseries Johnny Staccato (1959–1960), whichappeared only a little later, is inspiredby Peter Gunn , which alsomakes useof low-key lighting and first-person narrators , but is more strongly influenced by the jazz music used. Some of the episodes of Johnny Staccato were directed by John Cassavetes .

The most successful of all the noir series was Auf der Flucht (1963-1967) based on a concept by Roy Huggins . It is mainly based on the novels of David Goodis . The main character Dr. Kimble (played by David Janssen ), who is scarred by alienation and fear, is a typical antihero.

Then the noir series disappeared again and only reappeared in the heyday of neo noir. Michael Mann's Miami Vice (1984–1989), Robert B. Parker's Spenser: For Hire (1985–1988), the remake Mickey Spillane's Mike Hammer (1984–1987) and Fallen Angels (1993–1995) are examples of recent homages to the Film noir. With Noir (2001), there is also a series of animation that is strongly inspired by film noir.

In the television series Veronica Mars (2004-2007), a schoolgirl takes on the role of the die-hard detective. As the daughter of a private detective and former police chief, she helps him out with various cases outside of her school time. She is an outsider, shaped by personal trauma like her alcoholic mother and her own rape by a classmate and has a disillusioned view of life in her school and hometown.


The graphic style of film noir found its way into the comic world early on. Will Eisner's comic series The Spirit , which appeared for the first time in 1940 and for the last time in 1952, was groundbreaking in this regard. Their hero, private detective Danny Colt, has no supernatural powers, but walks through the ominous, gloomy city with a bare eye mask. Minor characters in outsider roles take center stage in the stories.

Inspired by The Spirit , numerous noir-style comics have been created over the past few decades, the most important of which are Watchmen by Alan Moore , Daredevil by Stan Lee and Batman by Bob Kane . One of the latest examples is the comic book author Frank Miller with the series Sin City , which was filmed in 2005. The French comic artist Jacques Tardi should be mentioned as a European representative .

Computer games

There are now a number of computer games that are based on well-known models of film noir or see themselves in the tradition of film noir. These are mostly adventures , as they can represent the plot as well as typical visual elements. However, individual style elements can be found, albeit rarely, in other game genres such as the first-person shooter or the third-person shooter .

The most faithful representative of the film noir can be found in the adventure game Private Eye , which is an adaptation of the Phillip Marlowe novel "The Little Sister" ("The Little Sister"). The original plot of the novel or an alternative story course can be played in the game.

Another representative of the genre is Grim Fandango from LucasArts, an adventure game that takes place in a realm of the dead and offers a very unusual look. Likewise, Sam from the adventure game Sam & Max is a character of the hardboiled detective borrowed from film noir, and the expression is also taken from film noir. In one episode it is even possible to give "Noir" as an option for an answer in dialogues.

LA Noire is a 2011 computer game by Rockstar Games that is also dedicated to film noir. It mixes action and open world elements with adventure-like investigative passages. In addition to LA Noire , the story- heavy adventure Heavy Rain is a modern representative of film noir. Here the mood is determined by the consistently falling rain and the dark basic tone.

Discworld Noir from Perfect Entertainment offers a different approach . Classic film noir examples (such as The Trail of the Falcon ) are heavily referenced here, but presented in a different form, adapted to the Discworld universe. In the game Max Payne , cinematic elements from the action genre in the style of John Woo are combined with strong influences from film noir, especially in the framework story, and underlined with appropriate music. Hotel Dusk: Room 215 for the Nintendo DS is a mixture of interactive film and adventure with classic film noir elements.

Filmography: important representatives of film noir


  • Alexander Ballinger, Danny Graydon: The Rough Guide to Film Noir . Rough Guides, London and New York 2007, ISBN 978-1-84353-474-7 .
  • Thomas Brandlmeier: Film noir. The dress rehearsal of postmodernism . Munich: edition text + kritik 2017, ISBN 978-3-86916-599-8 .
  • Ian Cameron: The Book of Film Noir . Continuum International, New York 1994, ISBN 978-0-8264-0589-0 .
  • Christian Cargnelli, Michael Omasta (Ed.): Shadow Exile. European emigrants in film noir . PVS Verleger, Vienna 1997, ISBN 3-901196-26-9 .
  • Martin Compart (Ed.): Dark Zone - A Noir Reader . Fantasy Productions, Erkrath 2004, ISBN 3-89064-818-5 .
  • Bruce Crowther: Film Noir. Reflections in a Dark Mirror . Virgin, London 1988, ISBN 0-86287-402-5 .
  • Norbert Grob (Ed.): Film genres: Film noir . Reclam, Stuttgart 2008, ISBN 978-3-15-018552-0 .
  • Adolf Heinzelmeier, Jürgen Menningen, Bernd Schulz: Cinema of the Night: Hollywood's Black Series , Rasch and Röhring, Hamburg 1985, ISBN 3-89136-040-1 .
  • Foster Hirsch: The Dark Side of the Screen: Film Noir . Da Capo Press, New York 2008 (1981), ISBN 978-0-306-81772-4 .
  • Foster Hirsch: Detours and Lost Highways. A Map of Neo-Noir . Limelight Editions, New York 1999, ISBN 0-87910-288-8 .
  • Armin Jaemmrich: Hard-Boiled Stories and Films Noirs: Amoral, Cynical, Pessimistic? An analysis of Dashiell Hammett, Raymond Chandler, James M. Cain, Cornell Woolrich, WR Burnett and other authors as well as relevant films noirs . Self-published, Frankfurt am Main 2012, ISBN 978-3-00-039216-0
  • Michael F. Keany: Film Noir Guide: 745 Films of the Classic Era, 1940-1959 . McFarland & Co, Jefferson NC 2011, ISBN 978-0-7864-6366-4 .
  • Geoff Mayer and Brian McDonnell: Encyclopedia of Film Noir . Greenwood Press, Westport 2007, ISBN 978-0-313-33306-4 .
  • Eddie Muller: Dark City: The Lost World of Film Noir . St. Martin's, New York 1998, ISBN 978-0-312-18076-8 .
  • James Naremore: More than Night: Film Noir in Its Contexts . University of California Press, Berkley 2008 (1998), ISBN 978-0-520-25402-2 .
  • Robert Ottoson: A Reference Guide to the American Film Noir: 1940-1958 . Scarecrow Press, Metuchen (NJ) and London 1981, ISBN 978-0-8108-1363-2 .
  • Robert Porfirio, Alain Silver, James Ursini (Eds.): Film Noir Reader 3 . Limelight Editions, New York 2002, ISBN 0-87910-961-0 .
  • Paula Rabinowitz: Black & White & Noir: America's Pulp Modernism . Columbia University Press, New York 2002, ISBN 978-0-231-11481-3 (paperback), ISBN 978-0-231-11480-6 (hardback).
  • Burkhard Röwekamp: From film noir to méthode noire - the evolution of filmic black painting , Schüren Verlag, Marburg 2003, ISBN 3-89472-344-0 .
  • Spencer Selby: Dark City: The Film Noir . McFarland & Co, Jefferson (NC) 1997 (1984), ISBN 978-0-7864-0478-0 .
  • Alain Silver, Elizabeth M. Ward (Eds.): Film Noir: An Encyclopedic Reference to the American Style . 3. Edition. Overlook Press, Woodstock NY 1992, ISBN 0-87951-479-5 .
  • Alain Silver, Elizabeth Ward, James Ursini, Robert Porfirio: Film Noir: The Encyclopedia . Overlook / Duckworth, New York / London 2010, ISBN 978-1-59020-144-2 .
  • Alain Silver, James Ursini: Der Film Noir (Orig .: The Noir Style ). Könemann Verlagsgesellschaft, Cologne 2000, ISBN 3-8290-4608-1 .
  • Alain Silver, James Ursini (Eds.): Film Noir Reader . Limelight Editions, New York 1996, ISBN 0-87910-197-0 .
  • Alain Silver, James Ursini (Eds.): Film Noir Reader 2 . Limelight Editions, New York 1999, ISBN 0-87910-280-2 .
  • Alain Silver, James Ursini (Eds.): Film Noir Reader 4 . Limelight Editions, New York 2004, ISBN 0-87910-305-1 .
  • Alain Silver, James Ursini, Paul Duncan (Eds.): Film Noir (Orig .: Film Noir ). Taschen, Cologne 2012, ISBN 978-3-8365-3459-8 .
  • Andrew Spicer: Film Noir . Longman / Pearson Education, Harlow UK 2002, ISBN 978-0-582-43712-8 .
  • Andrew Spicer: Historical Dictionary of Film Noir . Scarecrow Press, Lanham MD 2010, ISBN 978-0-8108-5960-9 .
  • Barbara Steinbauer-Grötsch: The long night of shadows: film noir and film exile . 3. revised Edition Bertz & Fischer, Berlin 2005, ISBN 3-86505-158-8 .
  • Marcus Stiglegger : Film noir. In: Thomas Koebner (Hrsg.): Sachlexikon des Films. Stuttgart 2007, ISBN 978-3-15-010833-8 , pp. 224ff.
  • Michael L. Stephens: Film Noir: A Comprehensive, Illustrated Reference to Movies, Terms and Persons . McFarland & Co, Jefferson NC 2006 (1995), ISBN 978-0-7864-2628-7 .
  • JP Telotte: Voices in the Dark: The Narrative Patterns of Film Noir . University of Illinois Press, Urbana / Chicago 1989, ISBN 978-0-252-06056-4 .
  • Paul Werner : Film noir and neo-noir. 5th updated and expanded edition, Vertigo Verlag, Munich 2005, ISBN 3-934028-11-X .

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. cf. Heinzelmeier, Menningen and Schulz (1985).
  2. Anja Christine Rørnes Tucker: TEEN NOIR. A Study of the Recent Film Noir Revival in the Teen Genre . May 2008 ( PDF [accessed January 16, 2020]).
  3. Nino Frank: “Un nouveau genre 'policier': L'aventure criminelle”, in: L'Écran français 61, August 1946, pp. 8-14
  4. a b cf. Ballinger and Graydon (2007), p. 5.
  5. a b cf. Robert G. Porfirio: "No Way Out: Existential Motifs in the film noir", in: Sight and Sound 45 No. 4, Fall 1976 (republished in: Silver and Ursini [1996], pp. 77-93).
  6. ^ Borde, Raymond; Chaumeton, Étienne: Panorama du Film Noir Américain. , Les Éditions de Minuit, Paris 1955.
  7. “The visual mode was intensely romantic, and its precise matching to the stories of fatal women and desperate men […] gave Forties film noir its completeness as a genre. A world was created, as sealed off from reality as the world of musicals and of Paramount sophisticated comedies, yet in its way more delectable than either. "- Charles Higham, Joel Greenberg: " Black Cinema " from Hollywood in the Forties , AS Barnes / Tantivy, New York / London 1968, pp. 19–36 (republished as “Noir Cinema” In: Silver and Ursini [1996], pp. 27–35).
  8. "The film noir is not a genre, as the Western and gangster film, and takes us into the realm of classification by motif and tone." - Raymond Durgnat: Paint It Black: The Family Tree of the Film Noir. In: Cinema 6/7 (UK), August 1970 (republished in: Silver and Ursini [1996], pp. 37-51).
  9. a b c cf. Paul Schrader: Notes on Film Noir. In: Film Comment 8 No. 1, spring 1972 (republished in: Silver and Ursini [1996], pp. 53-64).
  10. cf. z. B. Ottoson (1981) or Selby (1984).
  11. a b cf. Silver and Ward (1992).
  12. cf. Naremore (1998).
  13. cf. Spicer (2002).
  14. cf. Naremore (1998), pp. 13-14.
  15. cf. Silver and Ward (2010), pp. 236f and 247f.
  16. a b cf. Silver, Ursini and Duncan (2012), p. 11
  17. cf. Crowther: (1988), p. 39 f.
  18. cf. Stephens (1995), p. 160 u. 340.
  19. cf. Crowther: (1988), p. 62 f.
  20. a b c cf. Ballinger and Graydon: (2007), p. 13 f.
  21. a b cf. Hirsch (1981), pp. 65ff.
  22. ^ Bert Cardullo: After Neorealism: Italian Filmmakers and Their Films; Essays and Interviews. Cambridge Scholars Publishing, Newcastle upon Tyne 2009, pp. 6-7.
  23. cf. Spicer (2010), pp. 211f.
  24. cf. Silver and Ward (1992), pp. 59 f.
  25. cf. Silver and Ward (1992), p. 16 f.
  26. cf. Silver and Ward (1992), pp. 340 f.
  27. cf. Crowther (1988), p. 28.
  28. "In the fatally unstable noir world, voice-over narration often serves as an anchor. [...] the voice-over narrator is our guide through the noir labyrinth. "- cf. Hirsch (1981), p. 75.
  29. cf. Silver and Ward (1992), p. 2.
  30. "In 1945, it is as if the war, and the social eruptions in its aftermath, unleashed demons that had been bottled up in the national psyche [...]" - Nicholas Christopher: Somewhere in the Night: Film Noir and the American City . Owl / Henry Holt & Co., New York 1997, p. 37.
  31. The hall mark of film noir is its sense of people trapped-trapped in webs of paranoia and fear, unable to tell guilt from innocence, true identity from false. Its villains are attractive and sympathetic, masking greed, misanthropy, malevolence. Its heroes and heroines are weak, confused, susceptible to false impressions. The environment is murky and close, the settings vaguely oppressive. In the end, evil is exposed, though often just barely, and the survival of good remains troubled and ambiguous. - Robert Sklar: Movie-Made America: A Cultural History of American Movies. Revised and Updated. Vintage Books / Random House, New York 1994, p. 253.
  32. cf. Ottoson (1981).
  33. a b Georg Seeßlen: Murder in the cinema. History and mythology of the detective film. Rowohlt, Reinbek bei Hamburg 1981, ISBN 3-499-17396-4 , p. 231.
  34. Thom Andersen: “Red Hollywood”. In: Suzanne Ferguson, Barbara S. Groseclose (Ed.): Literature and the Visual Arts in Contemporary Society. Ohio State University Press, Columbus 1985, pp. 141-196.
  35. cf. Naremore (1998), p. 125 u. P. 130f.
  36. cf. Naremore (1998), pp. 130f.
  37. cf. Spicer (2002), p. 175 ff.
  38. ^ Norbert Grob, Bernd Kiefer and Thomas Klein: Nouvelle Vague. Verlag Bender, Mainz 2006, ISBN 3-936497-12-5 , p. 77
  39. cf. Ballinger and Graydon (2007), p. 262.
  40. James Ursini: Fear at Sixty Fields per Second . In: Silver and Ursini (1996), pp. 275-287
  41. Will Eisner, biography on
  42. Review of The Secret of the Strangler ( Memento from April 6, 2013 in the Internet Archive ), accessed on February 16, 2013.
  43. Review of Im Visier , accessed February 16, 2013.
  44. a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj ak al am an ao ap aq ar as at au av aw ax ay az ba bb bc bd be bf bg bh bi bj bk bl bm bn bo bp bq br bs bt bu bv bw bx by bz ca cb cc cd ce cf cg ch ci cj ck cl cm cn co cp cq cr cs ct cu cv cw cx cy cz da db dc dd de df dg dh di dj dk dl dm dn do dp dq dr ds dt du dv dw dx dy dz ea eb ec ed ee ef eg eh ei ej ek el em en eo ep eq er es et eu ev ew ex ey ez fa fb fc fd fe ff fg fh fi fj fk fl fm fn fo fp fq fr fs ft fu fv fw fx fy fz ga gb gc gd ge gf gg gh gi gj gk gl gm gn go gp gq gr gs gt gu gv gw gx gy gz ha hb hc hd he hf hg hh hi hj hk hl hm hn ho hp hq hr hs ht hu hv hw hx hy hz ia ib ic id ie if ig ih ii ij ik il im in io ip iq ir is it iu iv iw ix iy iz ja jb jc jd je jf jg jh ji jj according to Silver and Ward (1993), p. 7 ff.
  45. a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj ak al am an ao ap aq ar as at au av aw ax ay az ba bb bc bd be bf bg bh bi bj bk bl bm bn bo bp bq br bs bt bu bv bw bx by bz ca cb cc cd ce cf cg ch ci cj ck cl cm cn co cp cq cr cs ct cu cv cw cx cy cz da db dc dd de df dg dh di dj dk dl dm dn do dp dq dr ds dt du dv dw dx dy dz ea eb ec ed ee ef eg eh ei ej ek el em en eo ep eq er es et eu ev ew ex ey ez fa fb fc fd fe ff fg fh fi fj fk fl fm fn fo fp fq fr fs ft fu fv fw fx fy fz ga gb gc gd ge gf gg gh gi gj gk gl gm gn go gp gq gr gs gt gu gv gw gx gy gz ha hb hc hd according to Selby (1984), p. 125 ff.
  46. a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj ak al am an ao ap aq ar as at au av aw ax ay az ba bb bc bd be bf bg bh bi bj bk bl bm bn bo bp bq br bs bt bu bv bw bx by bz ca cb cc cd ce cf cg ch ci cj ck cl cm cn co cp cq cr cs ct cu cv cw cx cy cz da db dc dd de df dg dh di dj dk dl dm dn do dp dq dr ds dt du dv dw dx dy dz ea eb ec ed ee ef eg eh ei ej ek el em en eo ep eq er es et eu ev ew ex ey ez fa fb fc fd fe ff fg fh according to Tim Dirks ( )
  47. a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj ak al am an ao ap aq ar as at au av aw ax ay az ba bb bc bd be bf bg bh bi bj bk bl bm bn bo bp bq br bs bt bu bv bw bx by bz ca cb cc cd ce cf cg ch ci cj ck cl cm cn co cp cq cr cs ct cu cv cw cx cy cz da db dc dd de df dg dh di dj dk dl dm dn do dp dq dr ds dt according to Werner (2005), p. 209 ff.
  48. a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj ak al am an ao ap aq ar as at au av aw ax ay az ba bb bc bd be bf bg bh bi bj bk bl bm bn bo bp bq br bs bt bu bv bw bx by bz ca cb cc cd ce cf cg ch ci cj ck cl cm cn co cp cq cr cs ct cu cv cw cx cy cz da db dc dd de df dg dh di dj dk dl dm dn do dp dq dr ds dt du dv dw dx dy dz ea eb ec ed ee ef eg eh lt. Hirsch (1981), p. 1 ff .
  49. ^ Matthias Merkelbach: der Film Noir de ,
  50., ( Memento from September 4, 2014 in the Internet Archive )
  51. according to Spicer (2010), p. 407 ff.
  52. according to Mayer and McDonnell (2007), pp. 85 ff.
  53. a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj ak al am an ao lt.Silver, Ward, Ursini & Porfirio (2010), p. 23ff.
  54. according to Stephens (1995), p. 359f.
  55. a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj ak al am an ao ap aq ar as at au av aw ax ay az ba bb bc bd be bf bg bh bi bj bk according to Naremore (2008), p. 1ff.
  56. a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj ak al am an ao ap aq ar as at au av aw ax ay az ba bb bc bd be bf bg bh bi bj bk bl lt. Hirsch (1999), p. 329 ff.
  57. according to Stiglegger
  58. SINGAPORE SLING - image disruption . In: Bildstoerung . ( [accessed on March 31, 2017]).
  59. Singapore Sling. Retrieved March 31, 2017 .
  60. according to Spicer (2002), p. 161.
  61. ^ Film noir in the Lexicon of International FilmsTemplate: LdiF / Maintenance / Access used , accessed on March 5, 2008
  62. ^ Sarah Hughes: Humphrey Bogart's back - but this time round he's at high school in the Observer from March 26, 2006
  63. cf. Naremore (2008), p. 299 ( excerpt from Google book search)
  64. Nina Metz How 'teen noir' looks , article in the Chicago Tribune of March 12, 2010, accessed October 26, 2012.
  65. ^ Film review by Susan Vahabzadeh at, December 13, 2008 .
  66. ^ Film review by Peter Zander at, August 30, 2006 .
  67. ^ Watchmen - The Guardians in the Lexicon of International FilmsTemplate: LdiF / Maintenance / Access used .
  68. ^ Roger Ebert : Shutter Island on February 17, 2010
  69. The Killer Inside Me (PDF; 193 kB) - brochure of the Berlinale 2010
  70. Drive in the Lexicon of International FilmsTemplate: LdiF / Maintenance / Access used .
This version was added to the list of articles worth reading on January 27, 2007 .