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The Rules of Film Noir (2009)

Documentary that shows the characteristic traits of film noir and their historical context.

Writer:

Matthew Sweet
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Matthew Sweet Matthew Sweet ... Himself - Presenter
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Sheri Chinen Biesen Sheri Chinen Biesen ... Herself - Author, 'Blackout: World War II & the Origins of Film Noir'
Neil Brand Neil Brand ... Himself
Sarah Churchwell Sarah Churchwell ... Herself
Roger Deakins ... Himself
John Mathieson ... Himself
George Pelecanos George Pelecanos ... Himself
Paul Schrader ... Himself
Adrian Wootton Adrian Wootton ... Himself - Director of Crime Scene Festival
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Storyline

Matthew Sweet explores his rules of 1940s and 50s American film noir thrillers: *Choose a dame with no past and a hero with no future *Use no fiction but pulp fiction *See America through a stranger's eyes *Make it any colour as long as it's black *It ain't what you say, it's the way that you say it Written by Anonymous

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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

22 August 2009 (UK) See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

BBC Scotland See more »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Color:

Black and White (archive footage)| Color
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Features Kiss Me Deadly (1955) See more »

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User Reviews

 
A very good programme from BBC which will bring nostalgia to film noir lovers
22 April 2010 | by amarvSee all my reviews

The music in background is the nostalgic classic jazz. Everything is in black & white. Matthew Sweet gets out of a car & says this "Dark, isn't it? You better get used to it. For the next hour, this is how the world is going to be. THIS IS THE WORLD OF FILM NOIR. It's a dark American place with a fancy French name. A place where the sun has died & people get buoy with Neon, where the only pleasures to be had are from bourbon & the satisfaction of knowing that life is a cheap little game in which everyone plays dirty". I immediately knew that the next hour is going to be a superb fun ride & boy! Am I delighted by the end of the programme.

This BBC programme, narrated by Matthew Sweet, deals with the wonderful world of film noir. The word film noir invokes different things to different people. If I have to say 3 things that flash in my mind in a nanosecond, they would be unbelievable shadows, tobacco smoke & Put the blame on Mame. Isn't Rita Hayworth ravishing in Gilda? I would love to know the 3 things that come to your mind first when you hear the word 'film noir'.

In the programme, we get a brief history of film noir & the things that make a film noir unique. Some of the people involved with film noir telling about their understanding & also walking through few of their memorable scenes. You could see the names of the people in the programme here. Matthew Sweet sure loves talking about film noir.

Also in the one hour, there are scenes from a minimum of 25 films which makes you completely nostalgic after seeing this. I actually wanted to mention all the names of films in this but saw no point in it because this covers almost all of the classics.

Coming to the title of the programme, most of the people have their own rules for film noir. What we have here are the following 5 rules of film noir according to Matthew Sweet.

1. Choose a dame with no past and a hero with no future 2. Use no fiction but pulp fiction 3. See America through a stranger's eyes 4. Make it any colour as long as it's black 5. It ain't what you say, it's the way that you say it

Matthew Sweet's ending lines for the programme were "In film noir, life seems to get cheaper by the minute. It's every man & woman for themselves and that's horrifying but it's intoxicating too because maybe a little part of us believes that that's how the world really is & that's why we can't tear our eyes from the shadows & why more than half a century later we keep on staring into the dark."

This is a must see programme for all film noir connoisseurs. Seeing most of the stars of the film noir in 1 hour is really great. Even if you don't know anything about film noir, you could learn a few things about the wonderful style of film-making that is film noir.

Warning: Since the programme contains many clips from so many films, some of the clips may act as spoilers for you if you haven't watched them. In fact I'm yet to see many of these movies. So I skipped when they were showing scenes from the movies that I'm yet to see. So watch with discretion.

You know what I'm going to do now? I'm going to watch The Maltese Falcon.


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