straight down the line

Learning Noir

Coming into this class I knew nothing about noir, but the readings and viewings I’ve done this week have definitely enlightened me. Learning about the history of noir and how it came to be, throughout the war,  post war, and the depression was very interesting. But the thing I liked most about learning the concept of noir was all the different types that can be found within a show, or movie, or written work.

In Scooby Doo’s The Backstage Rage, the examples of noir that caught my attention most were the setting and the villain. Episode starts out in the dark street corner, with the silhouette of a man wearing a hat and trenchcoat.  These articles of clothing are two of the main aspects of noir in the costume category. As the episode goes and moves into the puppet shop, dark and creepy ambience continue until the end of the episode.

In Bugs Bunny’s Racketeer Rabbitexamples of nor can be found in almost every aspect of the clip. From the setting and lighting, to the outfits and accessories (including cigars, revolvers, etc). This example definitely includes a dark sense of humor as well, with all the fighting and banging around of Rocky. In this clip, they even include a character, Hugo, who emits the feeling of noir to the viewers with his appearance, behavior, and voice. The image below shows Hugo on the left.

bugs noir

Pretty Little Liar’s Shadow Play,   Lighting plays a major role in the film noir. The director of this show often uses effects similar to this episode to create eerie feelings throughout the series. It also uses flashbacks and costumes to create the effects of noir.

In Nightmare Town,  Hammet uses descriptions to enable the reader to visualize the noir. For example, in one line he states, ‘The man in bleached khaki examined the other from the tips of his broad?toed shoes to the creased crown of
his black hat…” Referring to the character as “the man” creates a sense of mystery because the narrator is unfamiliar with whoever he is. The description of their clothes is an example as well because they are part of the noir costume.

The Dark Knight is an example of noir  because of the dark costumes as well as the plot and setting. Gotham city is filled with crime. When views of the city are shown, the street is frequently wet. The towers create the vertical lines that were discussed in Paul Shrader’s Notes on Noir, and the colors are always shades of grey and black.

The thing that stuck in my head most from the intro readings of noir, is that it is not a genre as I had originally assumed. It is a sort of style that can appear in different amounts and at different points within a single piece of work.


Looking back on the movies I’ve seen, I think a good example of noir is All Dogs Go to Heaven. This movie depicts characters with dark attitudes, crimes, etc. It includes noir costumes and accessories. Below can be seen one of the villains whose cigar smoke is filling up the air around him, creating a dark, musty setting.

noir dog



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