Print E-mail

Film Noir - How To Improvise

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


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.


  • 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


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)

< Prev   Next >