Noir films?

I’ve found that I really dig noir. I just saw Memento for the first time, and being my 3rd noir film I have to say it’s probably my favorite method of storytelling. So, I’m curious, what other noir films have you seen that are any good? These are the 3 I’ve watched:

LA Confidential

The Big Lebowski. (Comedy Noir!)
The man who wasn’t there.
Touch of Evil.
Miller’s Crossing. (Gangster Noir!)
The Big Sleep (Old School Noir!)
Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (another comedy Noir!)
Sunset Boulevard
Blade Runner (Sci-fi Noir!!)
The Maltese Falcon (Old School Noir!)
Dark City (Sci-fi Noir!)
A simple Plan (Sam Raimi Noir!)
Mulholland Drive (Surreal Noir!)

And as a bonus

Veronica Mars Season 1 & 2 (Television High-school Noir!) - it’s like if Brick decided to invade the OC with a cute girl as the lead.

I’ve been on a Noir Run for most of this year. Lot’s of great stuff out there, and I’ll throw out a few more classics…
Out of the Past
Double Indemnity
The Killing
The Set Up
Asphalt Jungle
Murder, My Sweet

The seventies neo-noir movement is really when the best stuff starts to show up:
Night Moves
French Connection
Get Carter
Long Goodbye

I’ve got a ton more I’m going to be watching, and there’s some others that don’t really rise to “A” level in my book. But there’s plenty of great stuff out there…

You should also watch Gun Crazy/Deadly is the female (beautiful movie, very modern for its time), The Maltese Falcon, The Woman in the Window, Key Largo, the Lady from Shanghaï, This gun for hire, Kiss me deadly and The Killers, which are absolute classics. There’s also In cold blood, very “noir” in its theme and visuals.

There was a Noir-ish road flick from the 40/50s. Two guys go on a road trip, tell their wives they are going fishing, but instead head toward Mexico and pick up a drifter… Anyone recall this?

Edit: Found it with a little research. The Hitch-Hiker (1953) It’s directed by a woman and could be considered a film about masculinity.

Red Rock West
After Dark, My Sweet

Another for Miller’s Crossing (one of my favorite movies).
A bunch of other Coen films also count as Noir, and they’re all pretty good, such as Blood Simple and The Man Who Wasn’t there.

Oh, and for an old classic, try M.

Technically, film noir is historical description - i.e., American crime dramas made between 1940 and 1958. I say “1958” because the end of noir is generally considered to be Orson Welles “Touch Of Evil”, the ne plus ultra of noir. (If you haven’t seen it, do so. For my money, it’s a better movie than Citizen Kane.)

Any film after this period is “neo-noir” - there seem to be periodic outbursts of Hollywood neo-noir every fifteen years or so as new generation discover the classics. The neo-noir period of the 1970s was particularly fertile in that it created a handful of movies (Chinatown and The Long Goodbye, especially) that could stand up to the classics.

Besides the ones that have already been mentioned, Robert Aldrich’s Kiss Me Deadly should be required viewing. For one thing, you’ll understand Pulp Fiction slightly better. For another, it’s one part crazy style (dig the reverse credits at the end) to one part brutal violence. Aldrich inverts the usual noir formula by portraying Mike Hammer as a meat-headed thug who basically punches his way to the finale. Awesome, awesome movie.

Gun Crazy was already mentioned, but it has one of the best scenes in noir - a real-time handheld camera shot of a bank heist. The rest of the movie isn’t as good, but that scene kicks ass.

Another personal favourite: Detour. Made by B-movie king Edward Ulmer, Detour is a key film in the cycle mostly for it’s deeply strange narrative. Saying anything more is ruining it, so watch it for yourself.

Also, no examination of noir is complete without a quick viewing of some Fritz Lang classics. German expressionism was the main wellspring for noir’s visuals, and nobody did expressionism like Lang. The well-known ones (especially M) are all worth watching, but see if you can track down a lesser-known one called Hangmen Also Die!, which has some outstanding black & white cinematography grafted onto a heavily political storyline.

Wild Things (Florida Noir)

The Third Man is one of the best Noir films of all time, IMO.

More like Obvious Body Double Psuedo-Lesbian Make Out Noir.

I was going to mention this one, but it is a pretty silly film in the end. The bank heist is neat, but so radically different in tone from the rest of the movie that it just makes you realize that the rest is really poor.

Another personal favourite: Detour. Made by B-movie king Edward Ulmer, Detour is a key film in the cycle mostly for it’s deeply strange narrative. Saying anything more is ruining it, so watch it for yourself.

Yeah. Good one. Here’s my take on it: It’s a non-genre Twilight Zone episode gone horribly, horribly wrong.

Good call on Touch of Evil. One thing about that movie is that it’s intentional Noir. It’s Welles jumping onto the movement and then ending up directing it’s final stop.

If you want a really fun way to watch the films just follow the career of Sterling Hayden. The man is the living embodiment of Noir, and it’s amazing to watch him age in film.

He’s also general Jack D. Ripper in Strangelove. You know who I’m talking about, don’t you Mandrake?

Rififi - awesome scene where, for about 15 minutes, there is no dialog. But you’re riveted. One of the early noir films, and a great one.

I sorta dig the ending, actually. SPOILARZ FOR A MOVIE MADE ABOUT A MILLION YEARS AGO FOLLOW: I like how it plays out like a dark fairy-tale - the couple is trapped in the foggy marshes, not quite sure where the cops’ voices are coming from, and the slow realization that this, finally, is a place they can’t shoot their way out of.

Oh, and by the way: No discussion of American noir classics is complete without a mention of Night Of The Hunter. It’s not technically a noir, but it’s not really like anything else either - Charles Laughton (the only movie he ever directed, sadly) throws in elements of German expressionism, surrealism, noir, horror movies, Aesop fables, and pretty much everything else. Robert Mitchum is totally amazing in it - he gives a performance that is at turns laconic, threatening, comic, tortured, mythic. Noir freaks will love it, but everybody should see this movie before they die.

I guess. To me it kinda felt like they’d walked onto the set of a Lassie film. “Where are they girl? You can find them!”
I guess I’ve just watched too many films of that era with robots mocking them to take them seriously when they’re not being very good.

Thanks for the recommend on Night of the Hunter. I’ll grab it if I don’t end up buying the Complete Twilight Zone, which I’m struggling not to purchase this very second.

I highly recommend this fun collection of noir reviews written by Barry Gifford: The Devil Thumbs a Ride. You can get it for cheap, and it’ll shine you on to a lot of great noir flicks. It’s a bit dated, from '88, and out of print, but can be found for cheap online.

And The Last Seduction by the same director.

You can take the movie versions of a lot of noir-style novelists from the 40s as well, like Eric Ambler with Journey into Fear or The Mask of Dimitrios or Graham Greene (The Third Man, The Quiet American or Ministry of Fear).

From one of my film classes they seemed to make noir seem a bit more of a style of film, making use of darkly (or dimly) lit scenes, odd or skewed camera angles, different filming techniques, etc.

— Alan

Oh yeah, brilliant film. I watch it practically every year.

Well, that’s true to a point - there is a distinctive “noir” style that sprang out of American cinema in the 40s and 50s, but so much of that was due to the influence of expressionistic film-makers who escaped Germany during WWII and were then working in Hollywood. You can see it’s influence even the non-noir films of the time. Citizen Kane is a great example of it, actually - the set design of Kane’s massive living room in Xanadu with the fireplace and wonky staircase could have been lifted whole from a Fritz Lang movie.