Final Project DRAFT


One might define “film” as an optical illusion that merely captures an abundance of still images and sequences them in rapid succession in such a way that it hypnotizes an audience into feeling a particular experience. But, why does film matter? I found an interesting response by Intellect Publishing Short films editor, Richard Raskin, to that very question—“There is simply a need that has to be fulfilled—a need to experience meaningful, life-enriching stories unfolding on the screen.” It is an art. There’s nothing like a good movie. But, there’s nothing like a good movie that hypnotizes you in such a way that it confuses you, loses you entirely—it puts a touch of love and comedy into a poetic spin of dark suspense and irony. It is the art of Noir. Now, what the hell is that? Before I proceed any further, it is important for us to take a step back into gaining an understanding for what “Noir” really is. Is it a “genre?”—and if so, how could we even begin to classify it as a Genre when there are so many different kinds of categories of “genres” that contain noir? Is it even appropriate for me to even ask that question? It was the beginning of an era when filmmakers began to twist and add a sense of style to their films. It was taking a love comedy and compounding it with dark conflict against one’s own biggest downfall that we ascertain ourselves as we decode information about a character or plot. The innovation of Noir comes into development during the World War II era when film critics in France became intrigued by the particular style and cinematography of American films of crime and detectives. It was a style that was seemingly influenced by the mood of the post-war generation that implemented a different sense of style and suspicion. It was the beginning of something that many weren’t really sure what that something really was. I’ve concluded that it is not necessarily a “genre” but a style of genre. The elements of these styles and confusions is the purpose of this endeavor of an excerpt that I will attempt to analyze and explain.

  • Describing/defining Noir and discussing it’s history
  • Identifying what “Genre” is.
  • Discussing what different websites are saying about what Noir is.


  • GILDA:
    • Themes:
    • Styles:
    • Flashback/Narrative:
    • Lighting:
    • Femme fatale HER SEXUALITY:
      • She does kind of a striptease
      • A little revealing in her dress wardrobe
      • Her facial expressions, the way she moves. She seduces to manipulate men into getting them to do what she wants—it drives them crazy.
      • Wears dark red lipstick
      • Even in her femme fatale roles Rita’s vulnerability came through. Her likeability and vulnerability are essential factors in her appeal.” (
      • Gilda is not your regular femme fatale who manipulates everyone to get what she wants. To me she is a woman who doesn’t know what she wants, so instead she ends up rebelling against everyone and everything. Not as a search for her place in life, but as the only thing she can think of. This isn’t an evil woman who makes you cold to the bone. Gilda is a tragic character that makes me truly sad.” (Noir of the Week)
      • MY RESPONSE:
      • I actually feel like Gilda knows what she wants but is fighting so hard against what she really wants. She knows exactly what she is doing, but it’s almost like that if she cannot have her way, then she will bring the rest of the world down with her.

One of the pioneers of Noir.

      • Gilda actress (Rita Hayworth)—mostly known as a comical actress.
      • Gilda: 1946 (World War)
  • Femme Fatale


    • THE MEN:
      • Johnny Farrell
      • “But Ford’s performance is equally memorable for the actor’s sudden, dramatic shift from happy-go-lucky rogue to brooding sadist. That degree of intensity and world-weariness was perhaps intensified by the actor’s recent return from a stint in the Marines during World War II. It was, after all, the pessimism and sense of ennui created during that war that helped nurture film noir as an expression of national despair.” (
      • Mr. Munson
      • Dressed very stylish in Tuxedo dress.
  • What makes this films “Noir-ish?”
    • The film Gilda is centered around 2 gentlemen caught between a love triangle of a beautiful woman named Gilda and money illegally made from an illegal gambling casino.
    • BIG surprise with Mr. Munson coming back to life to stir up the plot and climax
    • Not as claustrophobic
  • STYLE: discuss the violence.
    • Depicts crime from criminal point of view instead of the police.
  • Both films have a love story.



    • Themes: the director seems to want to find ways to get the audience to sympathize with the criminals.
    • One of the first films to portray crime from a criminal’s point of view.
      • Crime is a left-handed form of human endeavor.”
    • Styles: Very uncluttered styling. Relies on the City style setting to influence everything within the film, even the characters.
    • “he uses space, shadow and a very clever mise-en-scene to physically illustrate the film’s themes. Scene after scene, we feel the actors closed-in and trapped, almost crushed by the very frame itself. It’s all the more ironic when the last surviving member of the heist dies — in long shot in an open field, surrounded by horses.” (Rotten Tomatoes;
    • “the claustrophobic quality is less pronounced.”
    • MY COMMENTS: what does this say about the style and characteristics of how noir films are illustrated??


    • Mise-en-scene:
    • “In his exemplary mise-en-scene, Huston treats the material with utmost respect and precision, avoiding any moralistic judgment on the characters on either side if the law. He shows in visually graphic detail the position and movements of each character before, during, and after the heist.  There is no use of any gimmicks, and the absence of music during the robbery, relying on naturalistic sounds, heightens the tension involved in the entire process.”
    • Flashback/Narrative:
    • Lighting:
    • Femme fatale:
      • There are no femme fatales. Although, the men’s drive for the women’s attention could be their biggest enemy.
    • Themes:
    • Styles:
        • Uses low angles which are reminiscent of film noir.


    • “Film noir is the term initially used for stylized crime dramas of Hollywood, now the definition is blurry, but they all have few common characteristics. – Grey main characters, usually with some shadowy trait/secret, there are always strong viewpoint in how they view the world. – The storyline is almost always dark and cynical, thats why the name “film noir” which means “black film” in French. Everything in the storyline is pausible, there are no supernatural or sci-fi elements and no sugary romance either, instead there may be strong sexual motivations. – The concept of “mood” of the film is extremely prominent, a good film noir sucks you into an uncomfortable abyss which leaves you in a state where you are confused as what your reaction to the movie should be, you find yourself empathizing with the imperfect setting and even more imperfect characters. Let’s come to Pulp Fiction. It’s definitely a black comedy, you love it or hate it but you can’t ignore it. It has everything a classic film noir requires, dark setting, flawed characters, crime, boxing, drugs and violence. I would like to point two very striking thing about Pulp Fiction that is essence of a film noir, a) All characters have strong opinions and they express it in a very strong way, the movie itself portrays a message, it just slams it on your face. b) The matter-of-fact attitude of the characters regarding well everything is particularly alluring and disturbing at the same time.”
      • DISAGREE:
      • “I don’t think that Pulp Fiction is a noir, it can be categorized as nihilistic one, most of the Tarantino movies are. Where for Noir, apart from theme, the use of shadows, low angle shots and shoulder angle shots are salient features.” (Ali Lliyas)
    • Flashback/Narrative:
    • Lighting:
    • Femme fatale:
      • Can we consider Mia a femme fatale??


    • Themes:
    • Styles:
    • Flashback/Narrative:
    • Lighting:
    • “Any film you watch will have an element of lighting that will add to a specific scene or theme. The movie Scarface (1983) was directed by Brian DePalma and features Al Pacino as Tony Montana. This movie is a very dark movie as it is a part of the gangster genre. Mise en scene would dictate the types of props used in the movie; the things that you see in the scene. For instance in Tony Montana’s house, you can see that he used dark colors in his house, dark reds and blacks. These colors will reflect very dark lighting and a sense of evil. This is how mise en scene correlates to the type of lighting that is used in a film. The picture below will show a better description of what I am speaking of. You can see how even though there is lighting being used on the walls and in the doorway, there still a dark aura because of the colors used on the wall and floors, to include all of the props in the room”


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Noir Film Reflection

Given that I had zero knowledge whatsoever as to what Noir is nor was prior to the semester, I would say this has been one of my favorite courses that I’ve taken in Media Studies. How fun is it that we get to study and analyze different films as classwork?! But, it’s even more fun when you can take a handful of the things we have learned over the course of the semester and apply those same elements in our own creation of a short film noir. The difficulty in understanding these elements is whether not we identify Noir as a separate Genre or whether we consider it as a particular style to any existing Genre. In our short film, we aimed to illustrate a number of themes and styles that were characteristic to previous film noir screenings such as femme fatales, voice-over, flashbacks, and dark key lighting. Given the short time period we had to innovate and put this altogether, it was somewhat difficult to be able to portray a clear backstory to the audience regarding our characters Brian, Richard, and Julia. It was also very difficult to focus and implement as many of these themes and styles as we could within that said limited time frame.

All of this stated, we were still able to capitalize on the illustration of the most typical key elements and styles of Noir. Earlier on in the semester, we discussed the importance of perhaps the most common element of noir and that is the implementation of the use of voice-over and flashback. The combination of their uses tends to demonstrate a character’s obsession over the past to provide a unique backstory that gives information to an audience that allows them to better understand a character or for them to speculate on different outcomes or even trick them when they think they might know what is going to happen. Tellote mentions in his article of Noir Narration that– “a voice in present time introduces and then comments on a scene from the past, so that we see as if through the narrator’s mind’s eye.(37).” He then follows up with this saying “In this way, the narrative can insert some significant information from the past or set up a context for present events, as in the case of Double Indemity.”  We definitely used this combination strategy of voice-over/flashback when I was being filmed in our short film when playing the character, Brian. In the beginning of the film, Brian is sitting on the couch through flashback replaying the joyful memories with his ex-girlfriend Julia while reflecting on how and why things went wrong with them through my voice-over narration. Another few things I will touch up on here while I’m discussing this scene is the use of the dark lighting. The low-key lighting that we implemented was very crucial for setting the mood of our film. Place and Peterson discuss these characteristics in what they felt was anti-traditional lighting and style compared to previous films. In this scene while Brian is on the coach, there is a very distinct bit of light coming from the right side of Brian’s face to portray a gloom of a shadows past the left side of his nose to illustrate the characters dark sadness. The lighting reflection on his eyes at this moment emphasize even more of his sadness as he his attempting to hold back his tears. Place and Peterson depict this in their article when discussing their ideas of the “key light.” “The key light is the primary source of illumination, directed on the character usually from high and to one side of the camera. The key is generally a hard direct light that produces sharply defined shadows.” This element is very obvious in this scene.

As the short film progresses, the audience learns through Brian’s voice-over narration that this Julia woman had just rocked his world in a bad way. Furthermore, we learn that Julia is the femme fatale in this film. Her characteristics, however, were different than most other femme fatales we see in noir. While she was indeed a cold-blooded killer, she was not very sexually revealing nor did she create any real sexual tension to get what she wanted. Instead, it would appear that she relied heavily on her smarts and intellect as source for her manipulation into getting what she wanted and killing Richard so “innocently.” In Dickos’ discussion of Women in Noir, he gives his perspective on the femme fatale when he says–“Here, bad women, despearate women, determined women, or women blind to the destructive passions that motivate them are, much like their male counterparts, consciousnesses accruing the individuality and power to command recognition on their own terms. The femme fatale may indeed be wicked, but she is also fascinating, because she does not (or does not easily) acquiesce or suffer the traditionally imposed travails of her subordinated function in a male-dominated society.” There is quite a congruence here when I look at Julia’s character. Julia has an obsessed passion for her work that she will stop at nothing to prevent anyone from taking away or destroying her “life’s work.” There is also the aspect of how Julia supercedes both of our male characters as both of them die and she continues on when making the connection to Dickos’ remark about femme fatales refraining from subordination to males.

it should be noted that there were a number of additional things that we applied in the making of this film such as the dark jazz music to add a cold-blooded touch to the scenes, the corruption of Brian and Julia, but given limited length to this excerpt, I shall not expel any further of what I felt was most important to the contribution  of this production. I would say that I participated as best as I could in this project given the limited time I had with it. One should also be reminded of the difficulties in putting together a production. In every production, there is always a deadline due to limited amount of resources and of course time. In a limited time, it is always so crucial to have a plan of action to coordinate personnel and equipment to appropriate schedules. There is also the potential issue of being limited in skillset regarding personnel. Fortunately for us, I feel very confident in saying that I was very content with how we came together to make this production work. I don’t think we had a single case of disagreement/frustration. Everyone seemed very well prepared and were definitely very cooperative. Before this semester, again, I had no clue what Noir was. But, having put together a production combining many of the key elements we’ve learned and discussed over the semester, I’m confident in saying that I’ve had a great  learning experience with the course and definitely happy to say that I enrolled in it.





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Project Prospectus

The core of my Project Prospectus centers around the idea of gathering as much research as I can from discussion boards on iMDb, other blogs, and in some cases magazine articles regarding at least 4 Noir Films (in class) that we have watched over the course of the semester. In addition, my plan is to also gather research from other message boards regarding films/tv shows outside of class that I feel are relative to the discussion of Noir. The purpose of my research is to analyze the information that I have researched to draw compare/contrasting evidence that will portray my argument for how Noir is discussed (who’s the Noir audience & why?; characteristics such as themes, styles, femme fatales, flashbacks, lighting) in each of these message boards/blogging sites that range from original Noirs to Neo-Noirs–along with what the authors from our readings are saying about Noir.





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Blog Post 5

Oh man, is Pulp Fiction just one of the strangest movies you will ever see with all sorts of twists and turns and different plots interwoven all throughout the film. The scenes of the film were definitely pretty dark and uncomforting. There are a lot of flashbacks into earlier and later periods on the time table consisting of significant cuts of the puzzle to be placed together at the proper time. The erratic attributes of the film’s plot were definitely much more confusing than would be expected in the previous noir screenings we’ve had thus far in the semester. Probably the main thing that I felt made this  film much more different than the others was its lack of a true protagonist while at the same time consisting of a plethora of antagonists. There was somewhat of a femme fatale kind of character played by Uma Thurman who absolutely soaked up all of her sexuality for what it was worth to tempt the men in the film and mainly Vincent, in particular, the scene where they are out to eat and she gets him to participate in the dancing contest. What is curious is that in previous noirs, the femme fatalle type of character is similar in that the scenes took place while one or more characters “dancing”

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Project Proposal

For my project proposal, my goal is learn more about what the overall perspective  of my peers or students gain in regards to how to decode film noir and how it can be discerned from genre. Noir in itself has evolved into a number of different directions and as such, it can be quite confusing. Knowing that our class as a whole has spent quite a deal of time analyzing film noirs over the course of the semester, it would be intriguing to see how my own peers can evaluate the same context in a limited amount of time and bring up some discussion and even debate about the topic of Noir vs. Genre.

I would certainly like to get a few screenings of noirs with a handful of students or my peers together to watch. I would also consider implementing some noir-ish type of video games for students or my peers to play. We could evaluate and analyze the media texts as a group or individually.

Some trouble I may run into is trying to decide how I’m going to get data for project. I could conduct a series of interviews with sample sizes from my audience and analyze what they discussed or decoded in that sense; OR I could put together a generic survey or questionnaire of some sort to get their thoughts or opinions. Probably the biggest issue I would run across would be coordinating a schedule and a screening with either my peers or students to come watch. Nonetheless, it would be a lot of fun!

As far as resources, I would need a handheld video camera, tripod, and maybe some lightbars. The project itself would have to be done somewhat quickly to allow me time to edit my video essay and put it together for an in-class presentation.



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Compare & Contrast Outline for Presentation

Goldeneye Vs. Gilda

  • Both of these films were obviously made during different time periods.

o   Gilda: 1946 (World War II)

o   Goldeneye: 1995

  • What makes these films “Noir-ish?”

o   The film Gilda is centered around 2 gentlemen caught between a love triangle of a beautiful woman named Gilda and money illegally made from an illegal gambling casino.

o   Goldeneye is a film about powerful satellite weapon of mass destruction that falls into the hands of James Bond’s of a villain who turns out to be Bond’s best friend whom he thought was killed right in front of him at the beginning of the film. Bond battles him and his beautiful ally, Xenia Onatopp.

  • My Main Topic of Focus will be on the centralized women of both of these films.

o   While I do not want to discredit any of the other characters in the films, there is so much to be said about the women in both films and their sexuality.

  • The way both women dress
  • The way they move, their facial expressions, and every single annoying seductive ways about them that they use to manipulate the men around them.
  • The manipulation of these men drives both respective films into a bit of an engine of chaos.
  • The Clean Slick Look of the Men and the parting of their Hair.

o   Compare James Bond Character vs. Johnny Farrell

o   Compare each men’s wardrobe


o   One of the many similarities that I found regarding both films were their use of casinos and the almost identical use of their characters in the way they dress:

  • Men in classic Black and White Tuxedo dress.
  • Both Gilda and Xenia look very seductive but a difference is that Gilda is wearing white suggesting a much bigger hint of innocence.
  • Xenia Wearing black in casino and really all throughout the film makes her seem quite a bit more sadistic and suggests that she’s obviously got a very edgy and sexy appeal to the audience.
  • The makeup of both women is also very similar with a bright dark red lipstick to highlight their lips.
  • Gilda has her hair down all throughout the film giving her more of a classy look.
  • Xenia has her hair tied up all throughout the film suggesting that she’s always READY TO GO and get dirty—maybe? J
  • Both Goldeneye and Gilda feature some pretty big surprises although both scenes occur at entirely different times:

o   In Gilda, we think that Mr. Munson kills himself and dies in a plane crash. However, at the end of the film, he shows up again and to our main characters it is a massive surprise and they feel as though they have seen a ghost!

o   In Goldeneye, James Bond thinks that his best friend and partner, Trevelyan (006), is killed right before him! But obviously not!!!!

  • Both films contain PLANE Crashes but in entirely different contexts.
  • Discuss Lighting Angles & Camera Shots
  • Both films obviously contain violence but much more in Goldeneye.
  • Both films have a love story.

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Blog Post 4

The film, Unforgiven, despite being mainly a Western, has some undeniable elements that are very characteristic of many of the previous noirs we’ve watched throughout the semester. Probably the most notable of all of these elements is the main male character and our protagonist, William Munny. Like some other noir films, this film illustrates Munny at his present day self portraying a bit of wisdom that he’s obtained over time through some pretty tough experiences aided by the guilt of his conscience. The film reveals his dark past with murder, violence, and stealing. After the passing of his wife, he vowed to never get involved with any of that nonsense ever again. Later in the beginning of the film, a young man rides up on Munny’s hog farm property and engages to ask for his help to kill Mike for substantial reward money that the prostitutes raised after Mike’s assault against Delilah was only punished by giving up horses from Sheriff Little Bill. Munny.  Upon being fronted about the bounty reward opportunity by Kid, Munny immediately denies wanting to be a part given the guilt of his past and wanting to be a better man for his family after making a promise to himself after his wife’s passing that he would never get involved with anything like that again.  After first rebutting Kid’s offer, Munny invites him inside his home and begins to rethink the offer before Kid eventually leaves. After Munny comes to the realization that he needs the money, he comes to his senses and rides out to find his old partner Ned Logan to help him go look after Kid to help him complete the bounty. However, even after he meets up with Ned, he expresses to him at the 29:40 mark that his past wife, Claudia, affected him in such a way that he didn’t want to be a part of those old habits anymore. The darkness of lighting where we struggle to see Munny in this scene helps us as an audience to be able to identify with Munny’s internal struggle of his past sins and not wanting to turn back to them. He further states that even though he is going to be participating in this bounty hunt, it does not mean that he will be turning back into that lifestyle, he’s just doing for the money.  This is a crucial part that is often typical of the noir male characteristics in that these men struggle with their identity of their new self wanting to overcome the sins of their old self which remains a constant struggle throughout the film up until the end of the movie when Munny goes on his little rampage at the saloon.

Now, when you have an old and gritty, seasoned character like Munny, Braudy brings up to discussion the creation of new ideas to be implemented in what “preexisting audiences” have originally expected and have seen in previous films. Braudy talks about this in the first paragraph of his exceprt about how films have previously created their “classic” elements but it starts to get fun when one begins to create their “own special audience” by extending the bar a bit further so to speak. In Unforgiven, this notion is easily noticed by taking the elements of classic Westerns and even a classic Western character such as Clint Eastwood and adding a bit of noir elements to the film such as the struggling internal conflict of Munny, the violence throughout the film, and the inclusion of the sensitive subjects of how horrible women were treated at those times



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In-Class Noir-ish scenes

Notes: Key concepts embodied in Noir. Corruption, Hopelessness, Femme Fatale, etc.

The noir film, Gilda, has definitely been my favorite of all the films, thus far. Gilda is the classic female character that the film centers around. She takes full advantage of her looks to create sexual tension and manipulation of the men around her to get what she wants. In some cases, you can’t even really tell if that’s really what she wants or if she just enjoys creating the thrill of chaos. The flirtation of her dancing with other men to make the 2 main male characters jealous and the spotlight that seems to be around her while the rest of the scene is dark.

In the Touch of Evil the corruption aspect of the film regarding the scene when Quinlan used the empty shoe box to frame Sanchez was really fascinating in a number of ways. The angle and lighting of that particular scene catapulted the importance of the scene.

ONE SENTENCE: The devil is a beautiful woman in a red dress.

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Compare/Contrast Proposal


I am actually pretty excited about this Compare/Contrast assignment! For this project, I would like to compare the Film Noir–Gilda and two other films that are outside the screenings assigned for our class. These two films will be between Goldeneye and the Godfather. I’m intrigued by the movie Goldeneye because of the femme fatale character, Xena, who much like Gilda uses her sexuality and looks to manipulate the men around her and get what she wants. Both films have scenes from casinos to ignite their stories which I found interesting. The lighting in both films and camera angles interest me through their sequences and styles. The corruption that exists in both films is comparable to one another and it’s definitely something I would like to touch on.  For this assignment, I plan on creating an in-class timed presentation of which I can give a detailed textual analysis where I can compare the films and their characters as well as styles.

If I am to use the Godfather, I will have to rent the movie and watch it. I’ve always wanted to see it and from what I’ve heard it draws many comparisons to film noir. I will watch the movie over the break and if it is appropriate for comparison with Gilda, then I will further explore that route in my presentation while still including major comparisons and contrasts of both Gilda and Goldeneye.




Each student will submit a Proposal in which they provide the following: the two films you would like to compare and contrast; what interests you about them both, and why you feel the second film (that is, the film we did not watch in class) is relevant in an analysis of characteristics of film noir.

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Blog Post 3

The Touch of Evil is definitely quite different than the other films of noir that we’ve  watched. It’s much more lively and not nearly as dark and ‘noir-ish’ as the other films. There’s a lot more characters, both men and women, and the music is often upbeat. The story centers around an investigation of the carbomb murder of Rudy Linnekar and his mistress at the beginning of the movie. Mr. Vargas who is a very well respected narcotics officer from Mexico witnesses the murder with his newlywed wife Susie and begins to suspect that the bombing involved a gang from the Mexican side of the border. Vargas is really just in the beginning of his troubles with this investigation. The plot takes a big turn once he realizes that Captain Hank Quinlan and his partner are corrupt when they took an empty shoebox and implanted evidence of dynamite sticks to accuse Mr. Sanchez of the murder. Things get even crazier when Vargas is alerted at the 1:18:30 minute mark that his wife Susie has not only been found, but she’s been arrested for drug possession (she was heavily drugged when Grandi was killed right in front of her while she was on the bed) and Grandi’s murder of which she was framed by Captain Quinlan.

The article by Place & Peterson makes note of different camera angles and lighting of typical noir films. For about the first 20+ minutes of Touch of Evil, the lighting was incredibly subpar with all of these scenes being pretty dark which is typical of film noir. The key lighting was decent in these first 20+ minutes, but the light filling and back lighting was not very good. This establishes somewhat of the darkness of the film as the majority of the rest of the film transitions into much more lighting. The darker lighting doesn’t start back up until about the 1:13:00 minute mark when Captain Hank begins his attempt to kill Grandi before finally strangling him at the 1:14:30 minute mark.

One thing I found very interesting was that there were many more female characters than previous noir films that we’ve watched. His wife who is the main female character in the film lacks the femme fatale attributes that I otherwise would have assumed beforehand given the previous screening experiences.

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