Dames, Coppers, and Crooks: A Look At Film Noir
Film noir is a style of black and white American films that first evolved in the 1940s, became prominent in the post-war era, and lasted in a classic “Golden Age” period until about 1960. Frank Nino, a French film critic, first coined the label film noir, which literally means black film or cinema, in 1946. Nino noticed the trend of how “dark” and black the looks and themes were of many American crime and detective films released in France following World War II. In fact, only French critics used the term film noir in their work until the era of noir was over. The French label did not become widely known until the 1970s. The term film noir is now a more familiar term and it is used more often.
There are many historical factors that influenced the creation of film noir. During the 1930s, American was struggling with the Great Depression. There was widespread unemployment. The country also led an isolationist political belief, had beliefs of lasting world peace and pledged neutrality. They also had a very small standing army. America had all of these beliefs as they entered World War II.
The United States emerged as the one great victor of the war. The war had devastated Europe and shattered Asia. America, however, had not had any major warfare on its own territory, and during the war it had managed to leap out of the depression and reach almost full employment for it’s inhabitants. America also had the world’s largest military force and the world’s most threatening weapon. The country now had interests and responsibilities all over the world, but especially in Europe. As the Americans emerged from the war, they were elated and proud, happy of their victory and proud of their military and industrial might.
The 1940s and 50s were an era of economic boom, partly upheld by military demands during and after WWII, and partly by the Americans new consumer demands. Most people wanted newer and better things, which they now could also afford. It was at this time that the G.I. Bill of Rights was created. This bill was a veteran funding system that led to an increase in both college education and the founding of the suburban homes of the 50s. This was a kind of social revolution with consequences like democratization of the education system and the mere fact that more people became higher educated. Advertising was also a phenomenon that came to show its full potential during the postwar years. Then along came the baby boom, a high increase in marriages, and a high increase in new house owners.
Another phenomenon was the explosion of suburban communities. This created a need for building new houses and a demand for cars and highways. Many people moved to the suburbs because they had a longing for more spacious homes, greater security, and better education for...