Diving Deeper: 10 More Noir Films to Watch

Forget rom coms- noir is where it’s at! Someone (much wiser and succinct than me) noted film noir is about “a woman with a past and a man with no future.” This is a follow-up to my April 10, 2020 post Getting Started with Film Noir:[https://knightleyemma.com/2020/04/10/noir-start]

The Lady Vanishes (1938)

I haven’t seen this (early Hitchcock) movie in a many yrs, BUT I do recall enjoying it! It has Brits in the ensemble cast, and (no doubt) inspired later TV series (which some of you watched on PBS) w/ mysteries/murders happening on train trips.

Gaslight (1944)

[https://knightleyemma.com/2020/03/29/gaslight]

Double Indemnity (1944)

[https://knightleyemma.com/2011/10/30/two-great-classics]

Just try to forgive the terrible (platinum blonde) wig they gave Stanwyck; everything else about this film is top-notch!

Leave Her to Heaven (1945) [https://knightleyemma.com/2010/10/19/recent-views-and-more]

This is domestic noir (in Technicolor) b/c hey, dark events happen in the daylight, too!

Mildred Pierce (1945)

This is an iconic film that packs some punches! Mildred (Joan Crawford) is a smart, beautiful, working-class woman whose goal is to better the life of her daughter (who is the real femme fatale) NO matter what it takes! HBO made a pretty good miniseries in 2011 starring Kate Winslet, Guy Pearce, and Evan Rachel Wood.

Gilda (1946)

[https://knightleyemma.com/2012/10/30/gilda-1946/]

This is one of the most famous/successful noirs out there w/ two terrific leading performances; the actors were once romantically involved (and remained lifelong friends)! When Gilda slaps Johnny hard across both sides of his face, Rita Hayworth broke two of Glenn Ford’s teeth. He held his place until the take was finished. Wow!

The Postman Always Rings Twice (1946)

This one is for all of you who think B&W/classic films are too tame; the chemistry between Turner’s working-class housewife and Garfield’s drifter almost pops off the screen! It took 12 years to adapt the explicit material (by 1940 standards) of the novel into a screenplay which would comply with the Production Code prevalent at the time. You can skip the remake; it just doesn’t measure up anything close to the original.

The Lady from Shanghai (1947)

This is one of the first films that got me interested in the noir genre (before I knew much about it). It’s unique (as one would expect from Orson Welles) and was not a box-office hit; in later years, it has been appreciated by critics and viewers alike. Welles (who does a quite good Irish accent) really knows how to set a mood!

Criss Cross (1949)

[https://knightleyemma.com/2014/02/17/criss-cross-1949]

If you liked The Killers (also w/ Burt Lancaster), you’ll also enjoy this film. I discovered it a few years ago (thanks to film fest). Be on the lookout for Tony Curtis as one of the young dancers in the club!

Sunset Boulevard (1950)

[https://knightleyemma.com/2010/12/19/three-must-see-classics]

Honestly, I didn’t get what was the big deal re: this movie (until I got older)! You need to see it twice to appreciate all that’s going on; it was “meta” before that became popular. William Holden is one of my mom’s faves; he does a fine job here. FYI: Gloria Swanson was only playing an actress 50 yrs old (which is certainly not “old” by our modern standards)!

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