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 out modern standards)!

Getting Started with Noir: 10 Films to Watch

  1. The 39 Steps (1935) starring Robert Donat & Madeleine Carroll [https://knightleyemma.com/2019/11/16/the-39-steps/]

2. The Maltese Falcon (1941) starring Humphrey Bogart, Mary Astor, Peter Lorre, & Sydney Greenstreet

3. Laura (1944) starring Gene Tierney, Dana Andrews, Clifton Webb, Vincent Price, & Judith Anderson [https://knightleyemma.com/2008/10/15/classic-movie-review-laura/]

4. Notorious (1946) starring Cary Grant, Ingrid Bergman, & Claude Rains [https://knightleyemma.com/2019/10/30/notorious/]

5. The Big Sleep starring Humphrey Bogart & Lauren Bacall

6. The Killers (1946) starring Burt Lancaster & Ava Gardner [https://knightleyemma.com/2014/02/08/the-killers-1946/]

7. The Strange Love of Martha Ivers (1946) starring Barbara Stanwyck, Van Heflin, Kirk Douglas, & Lizabeth Scott [https://knightleyemma.com/2011/09/10/the-strange-love-of-martha-ivers-1946/]

8. Out of the Past (1947) starring Robert Mitchum, Jane Greer, & Kirk Douglas [https://knightleyemma.com/2009/08/05/out-of-the-past-1947/]

9. In a Lonely Place (1950) starring Humphrey Bogart & Gloria Grahame [https://knightleyemma.com/2009/08/23/in-a-lonely-place-1950/]

10. Strangers on a Train (1951) starring Farley Granger, Robert Walker, & Ruth Roman

More Movie Trailers

The Aftermath (in theaters this FRI, March 15th) – Starring Keira Knightley, Alexander Skarsgard, & Jason Clarke

Set in postwar Germany in 1946, Rachael Morgan (Keira Knightley) arrives in the ruins of Hamburg in the bitter winter, to be reunited with her husband Lewis (Jason Clarke), a British colonel charged with rebuilding the shattered city. But as they set off for their new home, Rachael is stunned to discover that Lewis has made an unexpected decision: They will be sharing the grand house with its previous owners, a German widower (Alexander Skarsgård) and his troubled daughter. In this charged atmosphere, enmity and grief give way to passion and betrayal. -Synopsis by Fox Searchlight Pictures

Long Shot (in theaters May 3rd) – Starring Charlize Theron, Seth Rogen, Alexander Skarsgard, Andy Serkis, Bob Odenkirk, Randall Park, & June Diane Raphael

Fred Flarsky (Seth Rogen) is a gifted and free-spirited journalist with an affinity for trouble. Charlotte Field (Charlize Theron) is one of the most influential women in the world. Smart, sophisticated, and accomplished, she’s a powerhouse diplomat with a talent for…well, mostly everything. The two have nothing in common, except that she was his babysitter and childhood crush. When Fred unexpectedly reconnects with Charlotte, he charms her with his self-deprecating humor and his memories of her youthful idealism. As she prepares to make a run for the Presidency, Charlotte impulsively hires Fred as her speechwriter, much to the dismay of her trusted advisors. A fish out of water on Charlotte’s elite team, Fred is unprepared for her glamourous lifestyle in the limelight. However, sparks fly as their unmistakable chemistry leads to a round-the-world romance and a series of unexpected and dangerous incidents.

The Sun is Also a Star (in theaters May 17th) – Starring Yara Shahidi & Charles Melton

College-bound romantic Daniel Bae and Jamaica-born pragmatist Natasha Kingsley meet—and fall for each other—over one magical day amidst the fervor and flurry of New York City. Sparks immediately fly between these two strangers, who might never have met had fate not given them a little push. But will fate be enough to take these teens from star-crossed to lucky in love? With just hours left on the clock in what looks to be her last day in the U.S., Natasha is fighting against her family’s deportation as fiercely as she’s fighting her budding feelings for Daniel, who is working just as hard to convince her they are destined to be together.

Aladdin (in theaters May 24th) – Starring Will Smith, Mena Massoud, Naomi Scott, Marwan Kenzari, & Nasim Pedrad. Directed by Guy Ritchie.

Actor Will Smith released the final full movie trailer (after mos. of speculation & waiting) today on his YouTube channel!

Movie Trailers & Interviews (March 2019)

The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind (now on Netflix)Directorial debut of Chiwetel Ejiofor

A boy in Malawi helps his village by building a wind turbine after reading about them in a library book.

The Wedding Guest (in limited release March 1st) -Starring Dev Patel & Radhika Apte

Review from Vulture

Yardie (in limited release March 15th) – Directorial debut of Idris Elba

Set in ’70s Kingston and ’80s Hackney, Yardie centres on the life of a young Jamaican man named D (Aml Ameen), who has never fully recovered from the murder, committed during his childhood, of his older brother Jerry Dread (Everaldo Creary). D grows up under the wing of a Kingston Don and music producer named King Fox (Sheldon Shepherd). Fox dispatches him to London, where he reconnects with his childhood sweetheart, Yvonne (Shantol Jackson), and his daughter who he’s not seen since she was a baby. He also hooks up with a soundclash crew, called High Noon. But before he can be convinced to abandon his life of crime and follow “the righteous path”, he encounters the man who shot his brother 10 years earlier, and embarks on a bloody, explosive quest for retribution – a quest which brings him into conflict with vicious London gangster Rico (Stephen Graham). -Studiocanal

New African Film Festival: Selected Trailers

NOTE: This film festival (now in its 15th year) runs from March 7-17 at AFI in Silver Spring, MD. Click here for more info!

Deep End (FRI, 3/8: 5PM & SUN, 3/10: 5:15PM)

This South African spin on Bend it Like Beckham substitutes surfing for soccer to explore the coming-of-age journey of Sunitha Patel (Carishma Basday), a young woman from a traditional Gujarat family in Durban who aspires to be a surf champion.

Nigerian Prince (FRI, 3/8: 8PM)

When troubled Nigerian-American teenager Eze (Antonio J. Bell) is sent away to his mother’s native Nigeria against his will, he quickly finds himself entangled in a dangerous web of scams and corruption…

The Mercy of the Jungle (SAT, 3/9: 3PM)

Set in 1998 at the outset of the Second Congo War, this movie (2018 TIFF Official Selection) about a pair of Rwandan soldiers lost behind enemy lines between the Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda. When experienced soldier Sergeant Xavier (Marc Zinga, DHEEPAN, THE UNKNOWN GIRL) and fresh recruit Private Faustin (Stéphane Bak, ELLE) are accidentally left behind by their battalion just as Congolese militia begin swarming the area, they only have each other.

Pili (SUN, 3/17: 11AM)

In this BAFTA-nominated first feature, Pili (Bello Rashid) lives in rural Tanzania, working in the fields for less than $1 a day to feed her two children and struggling to manage her HIV-positive status in secret. When she is offered the chance to rent a sought-after market stall, Pili is desperate to have it.