During the 1940s, a new style of film emerged, which was later referred to as "film noir." These films were set apart from others due to their gritty nature and overall dark quality. They were inspired by the culture of the 1950s. There is a common belief that the 1950s was a time of complete bliss for everyone involved. In fact, it was a time of global distress due to communism and nuclear weapons and misogynist gender roles. Film noir movies were excellent at portraying the culture of fear of the decade, which we are so quick to forget, such as our so-called hero Mike Hammer, the somewhat sleazy private eye and con artist, and his ultimate mission to find the "Great Whatzis."
The airwaves of the 50s were dominated by shows such as Leave It to Beaver and Ozzie and Harriet. The biggest problem on shows like that was a little bit of conflict between siblings or studying for a quiz after a kid received a bad grade. Mike Hammer is the antithesis of a 50s role model, creating a sort of anti-hero hero. Unlike the incorruptible male role models in shows such as Father Knows Best, Hammer can be, and is, tempted by a few different women. However, he has moments of great detective work and shows the fantastic courage, toughness, and cunning exuded by the greatest of heroes. He represents the atomic culture fear by representing everything that people were afraid society could become in his moments of ego-centricity and loose morals.
In the first scene of the movie, we meet a woman named Christine. After she seduces Hammer, they are attacked by some goons. However, we do not see their faces. This is representative of the widespread fear of communism. During the 50s, the worst crime you could be charged with was being a communist or a communist sympathizer. There was the haunting fear that anyone anywhere could be a communist and a threat to the American way of life. People started to fear the faceless communist since there were absolutely no limits on who could be...
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