Film Noir

1938 Young and Innocent (1:22:06) Also released as "The Girl Was Young". When an actress is murdered by her jealous estranged husband, her boyfriend, writer Robert Tisdall discovers her body on the beach. He is erroneously thought to be the murderer. He is able to escape and goes on the run with a police constable's daughter Erica, determined to prove his innocence.

1955 Cast a Dark Shadow (1:22:24) After a year of marriage, Edward "Teddy" Bare (Dirk Bogarde) kills his wealthy older wife, Monica (Mona Washbourne), after she asks her lawyer, Phillip Mortimer (Robert Flemyng), to make a will. He stages it to look as if she was accidentally asphyxiated while drunkenly trying to light a gas heater.

1948 Ruthless (1:46:37) is a drama film directed by Edgar G. Ulmer and starring Zachary Scott and Louis Hayward. Horace Vending shows himself to the world as a rich philanthropist. In fact, the history of his rise from his unhappy broken home shows this to be far from the case. After being taken in by richer neighbors, he started to exhibit an obsessive and selfish urge to make more and more money, loving and leaving women at will to further his end.” 

1945 Strange Illusion (1:25:10) Paul has a strange, recurring dream in which his mother falls in love with a dangerous man, a dream which also contains the image of his father's death in an automobile accident under mysterious circumstances. Through the help of his friend, a psychiatrist, Paul realizes that his dream is coming true, and that his mother is falling under Curtis's influence. Curtis, in fact, is a homicidal maniac who lives as an out-patient at the sanitarium of the unscrupulous Dr. Muhlbach. 

1941 I Wake Up Screaming (1:22:12) A young promoter, Frankie Christopher is accused of the murder of Vicky Lynn, a young actress he ‘discovered’ as a waitress while out with ex-actor robin Ray and gossip columnist Larry Evans. Frankie hides out with Vicky’s sister Kull with whom he is falling in live but is eventually captured and interrogated by the cops. An obsessive police officer, Cornell, knows that Frankie is innocent but because the evidence is completely incriminating, he tries to put the suspect behind bars anyway.” ~Wiki link

 1948 He Walked by Night (1:18:54) “The film's no-frills parallel narrative is divided between hunters and hunted - the L.A.P.D. and a coolly calculating electronics expert/cop killer, respectively. Sought by authorities for the point blank murder of an off-duty officer who had stopped him for questioning, Roy Martin (Richard Basehart) easily makes noir's most malevolent psycho-loners top ten.” Link: Film Noir of the Week

1953 The Hitch-Hiker (1:10:48) "The Hitch-Hiker (1953) is a film noir directed by Ida Lupino about two fishing buddies who pick up a mysterious hitchhiker during a trip to Mexico...The film is based on the true story of Billy Cook, a psychopathic murderer. It has been called the first film noir directed by a woman..." Link

1946 The Stranger (1:31:13) "Rankin's wife Mary begins to suspect the worst of her husband, but is too blinded by love to accept the facts. She is torn between desires to learn the truth about her husband, and torn by the idea of helping Rankin create his new life." Article about The Stranger

1954 Suddenly (1:15:40) Film critic Carl Mazek makes the case that the “Machiavellian attitude" of John Baron links the picture with the brutal films noir of the 1950s. Moreover, the themes of violence, sense of claustrophobia and despair mark the film as completely amoral and, as such, Suddenly is quite opposite of non-noir films like The Desperate Hours (1955). Link

1946 The Strange Woman (1:38:37) If noir looks at the darkness of the human soul, this is one of the darkest journeys into human sexuality…Ulmer fortunately refuses to give this character a typical Freudian explanation found so often in pictures of this time, and instead allows the duality between her saintly philanthropic good deeds and her sadomasochistic nature to not be answered, only to add mystery to this femme fatale, who truly is a 'strange woman.’ Link: Film Noir of the Week

1954 The Sleeping Tiger (1:27:18) Two criminals are stalking the streets of London one dark night. Frank Clemmons, a cocky young man, holds psychiatrist Dr. Clive Esmond up at gunpoint, but Dr. Esmond manages to overpower him. Frank has two options; he can go to prison or he can be a guest at Dr. Esmond’s house where he’ll be a human guinea pig subjected to Dr. Esmond’s scrutiny, which aims to cure him of his criminality. Frank agrees upon the latter.

1945 Strange Illusions (1:25:10) Paul, a young man whose father was once lieutenant Governor of California before his untimely death, has a strange, recurring dream in which his mother falls in love with a dangerous man, a dream which also contains the image of his father's death in an automobile accident under mysterious circumstances. Through the help of his friend, a psychiatrist, Paul realizes that his dream is coming true, and that his mother is falling under Curtis's influence. Curtis, in fact, is a homicidal maniac who lives as an out-patient at the sanitarium of the unscrupulous Dr. Muhlbach. When Curtis makes an attempt to marry Paul's mother, Paul intervenes, and after a series of events discovers that Muhlbach and Curtis murdered Paul's father many year earlier, just as it happened in Paul's dream.

1944 The Woman in the Window (in fourteen parts) is a film noir directed by Fritz Lang that tells the story of psychology professor Richard Wanley (Edward G. Robinson) who meets and becomes enamored with a young femme fatale...the film was suspenseful, ably directed by Lang, and filled with all kinds of Freudian psychological interpretations about sexual repressions. The dark camera shots and jittery angles caught by cinematographer Milton Krasner, added to the tension seen in Robinson's internal struggle. The performances by the stars were superb. That the Robinson character made one wrong move in his life and had to pay for it, shows how even the most innocent type of person is capable of murder if he's faced with the right circumstances..."

1945 Detour (1:07:39) Detour is a film noir thriller that stars Tom Neal, Ann Savage, Claudia Drake and Edmund MacDonald. The 68-minute film was released by the Producers Releasing Corporation (PRC), one of the so-called "poverty row" film studios in mid-twentieth century Hollywood. Although made on a small budget with bare sets and straightforward camera work, Detour has gathered much praise through the years and is held in high regard. 

1950 D.O.A. (1:23:10) "…directed by Rudolph Maté, the frantically paced plot revolves around a doomed man's quest to find out who has poisoned him – and why – before he dies…he key to the mystery is a bill of sale for what turns out to be stolen iridium. Bigelow had notarized the document for Eugene Philips six months earlier. He connects Eugene's mistress Marla Rakubian to gangsters led by Majak. They capture Bigelow and since he has learned too much about the theft, Majak orders his psychotic henchman Chester to kill him. However, Bigelow manages to escape." Link

1947 The Two Mrs. Carrolls (trailer only)
An artist, Geoffrey Carroll, meets Sally while on a vacation in the country. They develop a romance but Carroll doesn't tell her he's already married. Suffering from mental illness, Carroll returns home, where he paints an impression of his wife as the angel of death and then promptly poisons her. He then marries Sally, but after a while he also paints Sally as the angel of death. Article About the Two Mrs. Carrolls

1950 Sunset Boulevard (1:44:67) LinkAmerican film noir …named after the boulevard  that runs through Los Angeles and Beverly Hills, California. The film stars William Holden as an unsuccessful screenwriter, Gloria Swanson as a faded silent movie star who draws him into her fantasy world, in which she dreams of making a triumphant return to the screen…Praised by many critics when first released, Sunset Boulevard was nominated for eleven Academy Awards and won three. It is widely accepted as a classic, often cited as one of the most noteworthy films of American cinema. Deemed "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant" by the U.S. Library of Congress in 1989, Sunset Boulevard was included in the first group of films selected for preservation in theNational Film Registry. In 1998, it was ranked number twelve on the American Film Institute's list of the 1oo best American films of the 20th century, and in 2007 it was 16th on their 10th Anniversary listSunset Boulevard Discussion Thread

1951 The Thirteenth Letter (1:25:28) This film noir concerns a Canadian doctor who receives a series of poison pen letters. Letters are  sent to other members of the town, signed with the mysterious pseudonym "Raven."

1945 Leave Her to Heaven (1:44:00) Ellen is already engaged to another man (Vincent Price), but she jilts him and rapidly marries Richard, who at first is fascinated not only with Ellen's beauty, but with her exotic and intense manner. It gradually becomes apparent however that Ellen is pathologically jealous towards any other person and any other activity that her husband cares about.

1957 Sweet Smell of Success (1:36:00) The film tells the story of a powerful newspaper columnist (clearly based on Walter Winchell) who uses his connections to ruin his sister's relationship with a man he deems inappropriate. Despite a poorly received preview screening, Sweet Smell of Success has greatly improved in stature over the years. In 1993, the film was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant." Sweet Smell of Success Discussion Thread

Steve is the Film Noir of the Week editor. The blog was started in 2005 - and has been updated every week since the summer of '05.

Film Noir Studies found its own origins in a college course and a long-time fascination with old black-and-white movies. Its purpose is to continue the discussion about film noir – perhaps even fueling the fascination with the topic – by focusing on the classic noir films of the 1940s and ‘50s. The site is also intended to be an important resource for film students, professors, and movie buffs, alike.