Introduction to Hollywood Cinema:Revisionism, Noir, and Devil in a Blue Dress<br />Prof. Julia Leyda<br />September 12, 20...
quiz<br />	Describe the crazy man in Easy’s neighborhood. What is he always trying to do? What does he symbolize?<br />(10...
functions of genre<br />audience: helps to describe a movie, and also to know what to expect before we see it<br />industr...
genre conventions<br />elements that appear in almost all of that genre’s movies <br />themes: gangster movies are usually...
neo-noir and revisionist noir<br />from 1970s on: movies with dark visual styles, themes<br />often revise race, gender, h...
African American Hollywood <br />few roles, sometimes white actors in blackface<br />servants / slaves (maid, cook) and pe...
social problem films <br />1940s and 50s cycle of liberal, anti-racist movies <br />African American victimization, usuall...
Devil in a Blue Dress (1995)<br />based on Walter Mosley novel<br />written and directed by Carl Franklin<br />stars Denze...
revisionist (neo-)noir<br />revisionist genre films: <br />revising some conventions, maintaining others<br />emphasis on ...
black world invisible in 1940s films<br />
“My name is not ‘fella.’”<br />
making space racial<br />setting in DIABD: segregated 1948 Los Angeles<br />public spaces: still socially segregated<br />...
fear of miscegenation in public space<br />
breaking “white only” hotel rules<br />
white man enters black public space<br />
home invasion: Albright<br />
home invasion: Daphne<br />
making mobility racial<br />driving with “white” Daphnein his car<br />Easy’s body language changes when he moves from his...
“I was stupid”<br />
“I love coming home to my house.”<br />
discussion questions<br />Discuss Devil in a Blue Dress in terms of genre conventions and revisionism. Compare it to other...
HC7. Genre, Revisionism, and Film Noir in Devil in a Blue Dress
HC7. Genre, Revisionism, and Film Noir in Devil in a Blue Dress
HC7. Genre, Revisionism, and Film Noir in Devil in a Blue Dress
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HC7. Genre, Revisionism, and Film Noir in Devil in a Blue Dress

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HC7. Genre, Revisionism, and Film Noir in Devil in a Blue Dress

  1. 1. Introduction to Hollywood Cinema:Revisionism, Noir, and Devil in a Blue Dress<br />Prof. Julia Leyda<br />September 12, 2010<br />
  2. 2. quiz<br /> Describe the crazy man in Easy’s neighborhood. What is he always trying to do? What does he symbolize?<br />(10 minutes)<br />
  3. 3. functions of genre<br />audience: helps to describe a movie, and also to know what to expect before we see it<br />industry: helps in publicity and marketing <br />critics: helps provide context by categorizing and placing a movie within the history of its genre<br />
  4. 4. genre conventions<br />elements that appear in almost all of that genre’s movies <br />themes: gangster movies are usually about a rise to power and loss of humanity<br />techniques: horror and thriller usually have dark, moody lighting and dramatic music <br />iconography: symbolic images that carry similar meaning from film to film<br /><ul><li>revisionist movies change or even reverse conventions (i.e., a revisionist Western)</li></li></ul><li>social function of genre<br />reflectionist: at certain times in history, the stories, themes, values, or imagery of the genre can reflect contemporaneous ideologies<br />be careful not to overemphasize the reflectionist approach in your analysis<br />remember the industry’s profit motive in production decisions that give the people what they want<br /><ul><li>popular movies both express and influence ideologies, but not always accurately or directly</li></li></ul><li>film noir<br />from French “black film” because of dark images<br />originally a group of 1940s-50s movies with dark visual imagery and dark themes; happy endings?<br />not agreed upon as a “genre”; visual style / mood<br />postwar / Cold War atmosphere of cynicism, fear, betrayal, mystery, mistaken identity, dystopia<br /><ul><li> unlike most Hollywood movies, noirs don’t show Americans what they want to believe is true</li></li></ul><li>conventions of film noir<br />dark visual imagery and dark themes: chiaroscuro lighting, night scenes, crime<br />disillusioned anti-hero struggles against corruption, crime<br />often detective narrative or quest for truth or information<br />femme fatale (deadly woman) uses her sexuality to manipulate, control men<br />ex.: Double Indemnity, Gilda, Cat People, In a Lonely Place, The Killers, Mildred Pierce, Night and the City <br />
  5. 5. neo-noir and revisionist noir<br />from 1970s on: movies with dark visual styles, themes<br />often revise race, gender, history, sexuality, or setting <br />still feature noir conventions:<br />corruption, crime, and femme fatale<br />mood of cynicism, fear, betrayal<br />not always happy endings<br />ex.: Chinatown, Klute, Blade Runner, One False Move, L.A. Confidential, Bound, The Grifters, Sin City <br />
  6. 6. African American Hollywood <br />few roles, sometimes white actors in blackface<br />servants / slaves (maid, cook) and performers (musicians, singers, dancers)<br />stereotyped representations <br />Toms, Coons, Mammies: older, non-sexual, childlike<br />Black Bucks and Tragic Mulattoes: sexual threat of miscegenation<br />ideology of white patriarchy rarely challenged in early Hollywood cinema<br />
  7. 7. social problem films <br />1940s and 50s cycle of liberal, anti-racist movies <br />African American victimization, usually from white POV<br />sympathetic but tragic black characters<br />more tragic mulattoes = danger of miscegenation<br />biggest star: Sidney Poitier<br />positive role model<br />noble, articulate characters (against stereotypes)<br />often compared to Denzel Washington<br />
  8. 8. Devil in a Blue Dress (1995)<br />based on Walter Mosley novel<br />written and directed by Carl Franklin<br />stars Denzel Washington, Jennifer Beals, Don Cheadle<br />African American neo-noir set in 1948 L.A. <br />other interesting neo-noirs of the 90s: <br />L.A. Confidential, Bound, Reservoir Dogs<br />
  9. 9. revisionist (neo-)noir<br />revisionist genre films: <br />revising some conventions, maintaining others<br />emphasis on ideology and hegemonic negotiation<br />DIABD recreates settings of classic film noir but in racialized city spaces, with AA characters and POV<br />“documents” previously invisible black film world<br />highlights racism of the late 40s<br />
  10. 10. black world invisible in 1940s films<br />
  11. 11. “My name is not ‘fella.’”<br />
  12. 12. making space racial<br />setting in DIABD: segregated 1948 Los Angeles<br />public spaces: still socially segregated<br />restricted white spaces are carefully guarded<br />but African American spaces are not very safe <br />
  13. 13. fear of miscegenation in public space<br />
  14. 14. breaking “white only” hotel rules<br />
  15. 15. white man enters black public space<br />
  16. 16. home invasion: Albright<br />
  17. 17. home invasion: Daphne<br />
  18. 18. making mobility racial<br />driving with “white” Daphnein his car<br />Easy’s body language changes when he moves from his own neighborhood to white areas<br />relaxed, free, big gestures, laughs, plays with friends<br />cautious, watched by police and whites, fearful<br />“I love coming home”: Easy’s house represents his independence and freedom (economic, social)<br />
  19. 19. “I was stupid”<br />
  20. 20. “I love coming home to my house.”<br />
  21. 21. discussion questions<br />Discuss Devil in a Blue Dress in terms of genre conventions and revisionism. Compare it to other film noir movies you have seen.<br />How does the movie portray white supremacy in 1948 Los Angeles? Give some other examples.<br />How does Daphne fit the types of the femme fatale and the tragic mulatto? <br />How does this movie fit in with Denzel Washington’s star image?<br />

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