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Film Noir - How To Improvise

Film Noir"She gave me a smile I could feel in my hip pocket."
—Farewell My Lovely, Raymond Chandler

Introduction

This is a style very popular in the 1940s. Films are usually in Black and White and darkly lit. Their views of life are quite dark, showing the gritty underside of human life.

Essence

  • Narration (especially at the start), usually by the lead character
  • Dark and murky locations: the seedy side of life
  • Everybody smokes and most people drink too much
  • Cheap offices with flickering neon sign outsie
  • Rain and nighttime

Characteristics

WhereUS Cities.
Private Detective’s Office; Criminal hide-outs; Police stations; DA’s office; Mansions of the rich with secrets; secluded shacks; seedy bars
When 1940s - 1950s
WhoDown-at-heel detectives; gangsters; femmes fatales
The central character is usually a hard-boiled, life-weary detective with a drink problem. The leading lady is often a femme fatale, who often hires the detective to do some dirty work often involving covering up a family secret. seedy sidekicks, big stupid bodyguards, mobsters, tough but useless cops, politicallymotivated DA; women who use sex to get what they want, rich millionaires whose daughters are embroiled in murder; small-time crooks; prositutes; plenty of washed-up characters.
WhatInvestigating crimes; meeting informants; committing crimes especially of passion; illicit meetings in dingy places; murder.

Examples (from Amazon)

 
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