November Theme – Film Noir

After setting a personal goal to cover one theme for an entire month and actually being able to stick with it, I’ve found an incredible amount of inspiration and motivation in continuing to write about films, whether people out there or reading or not.  Having some sort of theme, no matter how strict or loose, gives me something to look forward to for an entire month, and has already taught me a great deal about writing and about films.  I’ve finally seen documentaries that I’ve been putting off for years now, and I hope to do the same with many different genres, movements, and filmmakers throughout the life of this blog. While I don’t think I’m a terrific writer by any means, being able to have some sort of creative outlet in my life feels incredible, and I plan on seeing this thing out to the bitter end.  There comes a point where endlessly listening to film podcasts, browsing discussions and reviews online, and thinking day and night about movies just isn’t enough, which is why I’ve decided to write.  This is something I’m incredibly passionate about, and boy is it a great feeling to finally get my thoughts out there without constantly worrying about views and being self-conscious of my own writing style.

I’ve decided the theme for November is going to be an introduction to the film noir genre, and will officially titled Noirvember.  You may ask yourself, what exactly is film noir?  Well, that’s a terrific question, and hopefully you’ll bear with me in order to find out.  Film noir is a genre of crime film that was immensely popular during the 1940’s and 1950’s, featuring expressionistic black and white cinematography, shadows, fog, and thick clouds of cigarette smoke, notoriously unhappy endings, fedoras and shabby suits, and most famously femme fatales – strong women who often blur the line between wanting to love and kill our main character.  Film noir is without a doubt one of the most iconic and famous American film genres, sitting beside its polar-opposite neighbor, the Western. These films are concise, fun, full of dread and betrayal on all sides, and are infinitely re-watchable as a result.

The pioneers of the film noir genre include the famous Hollywood bad boy Orson Welles, with films like Touch of Evil and The Lady from Shanghai, Polish export auteur Billy Wilder for the iconic Double Indemnity and Sunset Blvd., John Huston for The Maltese Falcon, The Asphalt Jungle, and Key Largo, and Fritz Lang for Scarlet Street and The Big Heat among many others.  These are films that have often been parodied and poked fun at, but the influence they hold over modern filmmakers is unparalleled, as are the reputations of many of these incredible and timeless works. To keep things fresh, I’ve decided to only tackle films that I have never seen before.  The tentative schedule for Noirvember is as follows:

#1 – Laura (1944) (dir. Otto Preminger) – November 1

#2 – Detour (1945) (dir. Edgar G. Ulmer) – November 5

#3 – The Killers (1946) (dir. Robert Siodmak) – November 8

#4 – Nightmare Alley (1947) (dir. Edmund Goulding) – November 12

#5 – They Live by Night (1948) (dir. Nicholas Ray) – November 15

#6 – The Big Clock (1948) (dir. John Farrow) – November 19

#7 – D.O.A. (1950) (dir. Rudolph Mate) – November 22

#8 – Night and the City (1950) (dir. Jules Dassin) – November 26

#9 – Kiss Me Deadly (1955) (dir. Robert Aldrich) – November 29

#10 – Touch of Evil (1958) (dir. Orson Welles) – November 30

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