A film noir is traditionally used to describe stylish Hollywood crime dramas, especially the type with sexual motivations and to emphasize cynical attitudes. Film noir is believed to of started from the early 1940’s stretching to the late 1950’s. This era of film noir is associated with a low key, black and white visual style. French critic ‘Nino Frank’ was the first person to use the term film noir. This was unknown to most American film industry professionals from this classical era. Film noir covers many different plots such as the lead role, which tends to be a detective, plain clothes police man, ageing boxer, hapless grafter, a law abiding citizen lured into criminal life, or a victim of incident. In the beginning stages of a film noir most features where American productions, from the 1960’s onwards however film noir has been made throughout the world. Despite different producers and script writers, each individual film noir still contains attributes from the originals. Neo noir are simply modern renditions and echoes of the classic version of film noir. “The first major film to overly work this angle, was French Director ‘Jean-Luc Godard’s’ Á Bout De Soufflé, which pays it’s literal respects to Bogart and his crime films while brandishing a bold new style for a new day”. Film noir and Neo Noir are generally set post date (before the time they were filmed).
Plots, characters and settings. – all film noirs have the element of crime – usually murder. Motivations for the crimes are generally greed or jealousy. There will be in all film noirs an investigator, whom is prevalent, but far from dominant. False suspicions and accusations of the crime are a common trait in the plot. The heroes in the plots of film noir, who are morally questionable, are often fall guys of some sort. Film noir is generally associated with urban settings in cities such as: Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco etc. The cities where they are set are said to be by critics “like a labyrinth or maze” – including settings within bars, lounges, night clubs and gambling venues; these tend to be the scenes of action! Commonly in film noir there is a lot of filming set at night or whilst it is raining.