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The Top 5 Best Classic Film Noir Movies

Paola_Bassanese_itcher_contributorYou must be a certain kind of person to like film noir movies: you love intrigue, murder, mesmerising characters and an unhappy ending. ~ Paola Bassanese
Film noir movies are crime dramas with a strong stylish and sexy element and were particularly popular in the 1940s and 1950s.
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Film Noir Movie Characteristics

Film noir movies share similar plots: a private detective is investigating a murder; a mysterious, glamorous woman appears.

The protagonists: the detective is smart, intelligent, charming and handsome. The female lead is a sultry seductress, ie, a femme fatale.

The films tend to have various degrees of brutality and eroticism depending on the director’s style.

The structure of the film is stripped bare: there’s no gore like in horror films and no special effects. The main characteristics of film noir movies are the mood and the ambience.

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What are Film Noir Movies

Film noir movies are set in urban or suburban areas and the action mostly take place on the road. These movies create a special atmosphere of suspense and thrill. Film noir movies have been heavily influenced by German Expressionism from the 1910s and 1920s.

Here’s what I think are the top 5 best classic film noir movies

In no particular order, here’s some unforgettable film noir movies.

1. `Sunset Boulevard´ (Billy Wilder, 1950)

Sunset Boulevard is a classic noir film directed by Billy Wilder (who directed Marilyn Monroe in The Seven Year Itch and Some Like It Hot) featuring Gloria Swanson, a faded movie star who dreams of a return to her former glory.
Sunset Boulevard won three Oscars and was nominated for 11.

2. `Asphalt Jungle´ (John Huston, 1950)

John Huston directed this noir in 1950 – he won two Oscars and was nominated for 15.
Asphalt Jungle gave Marilyn Monroe her first serious film appearance, launching her career as an actress.
The film follows a group of men who plan a robbery.

3. `The Maltese Falcon´ (John Huston, 1941)

Humphrey Bogart (lead in Casablanca and Oscar winner for The African Queen directed by John Huston) plays a San Francisco detective. A mysterious femme fatale appears on the scene and just as mysteriously a man is killed. The main theme is the frantic search for a statuette, the Maltese falcon from the movie’s title. The film is directed by John Huston.

4. `Screaming Mimi´ (Gerd Oswald, 1958)

Actress Anita Eckberg (lead in Fellini‘s La Dolce Vita) is attacked with a knife in the shower – this film is considered as a precursor to Alfred Hitchcock‘s thriller Psycho (1960). The main setting is a seedy strip club.

5. `Nora Prentiss´ (Vincent Sherman, 1947)

The story of a doctor in San Francisco who is getting frustrated and bored with his life, until he meets femme fatale Nora Prentiss. He falls in love with Nora and devises a plan to leave his wife.

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Which One?

Which one to choose?

I would probably start from Asphalt Jungle just for Marilyn‘s performance.

 

I am Paola Bassanese, and I love twitter – I think in slogans! I am a contributing author at itcher mag covering mainly quirky movies that I like and that I hope you′ll like too. [n-e-x-t] I have written a few books including The Foraging Home Cook, and also write about health and lifestyle for the Huffington Post. I consider myself to be a Londoner even though I was born in Italy. I love 80s music and foreign language films, but I also enjoy going to the opera and ballet.
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