Richard Widmark narrates this entry into the American Cinema series and we get interviews with Martin Scorsese, Abraham Polonsky, Kathryn Bigelow, Jean-Pierre Gorin, Joe Lewis, Marie Windsor, Paul Schrader, Lawrence Kasden and Edward Dmytryk. Fans of the noir genre are really going to enjoy this documentary because of all the familiar faces that discuss the films in question. Scorsese is really the main interest as he talks about FORCE OF EVIL in great detail and talks about what an important film it was in his life and career. He also talks about MEAN STREETS and what aspects of the noir he was trying to work into it. The documentary also covers the majority of the bigger noirs films that were released after WWII and there's a lot of talk about the freedom it allowed certain actresses to really play something sexual. This was certainly true as women were using their sexuality for the first time since the pre-code era. There's also talk about the censor board and how the majority of what you saw in noirs were things that weren't supposed to be show (bad guy getting off, unhappy ending). Dmytryk, no stranger to noir, says it was a good thing because it caused the filmmakers to think more in regards to ways of getting around the system. There's a little talk about more current noirs like CHINATOWN and BODY HEAT but for the most part we stay in the classic era.
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