Film noir is a type of film genre that portrays the underside of society. The genre began in the 1930's and remained as a strong cinematic medium until the early 1960's. Film noir literally means "black film" in French and features themes which are more negative than positive, with an overall dark and shadowy outlook--being filmed in black and white. This film genre takes in detective and crime noir as well as many gangster films of the 1930's. Movies such as Bullitt and Vertigo are just a few examples of "black film." Although these movies were filmed in different eras, they share common aspects that really define the genre and will further be discussed. These aspects are as follows: film noir stories feature main characters who find themselves embroiled in hopeless situations, fighting against a force that threatens to overtake them, and that the main character is often a male.
It may not be intentional for the main character to become involved in a situation that takes a turn for the worst and lands them in a hopeless state of being. Steve McQueen's character in Bullitt, Lt. Frank Bullitt, was specially assigned by a would-be Senator to protect a character witness. But as the movie unfolds, Frank Bullitt soon finds himself tangled in a web of deceit and the blood of his partners on his hands. A similar misfortune had befallen James Stewart's character detective John "Scottie" Ferguson in the movie Vertigo. He was a retired police detective suffering from acrophobia who is hired as a private investigator to follow the wife of an acquaintance to uncover the mystery of her peculiar behavior. This sense of hopelessness is essentially the main driving force behind these successful film noir movies because of the way that it incorporates spine tingling suspense and relative emotions to its audience.
Struggles and threatening forces cooked up a storm for both Lt. Frank Bullitt and detective Scottie in variety of ways. Be it mental, physical, emotional and/or...
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