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The Big Sleep, The Postman Always Rings Twice, And Gilda's Adherence To The Noir Genre

1721 words - 7 pages

The Film Noir genre is the product of the 1940’s which reflects the darker attitude of society representing depression, realism, and amplifying a new dynamic for women on screen. As World War II progressed, there was less money compiling in Hollywood. The little money collected affected the creative drive for the directors in how they were able to produce for their films. The smaller budget impacted money to spend on lighting, sets, costumes, as well as providing pay for extras to appear in scenes. In addition to the money limitation, the realism presented in this genre expresses the reflection on the darker tones in 40’s society. As War was active, many experienced turmoil in their personal lives. Serious situations stirring emotions were nigh. In particular, the dynamic on screen character of the femme fatale became a strong essential in Hollywood. The film noir genre representing darker moods produced a functional up and coming femme fatale to thrive on a being an interesting, sensual, dangerous, and a seducing woman for movie goers to follow. The first movie to mark this genre became known with the film Double Indemnity directed by Billy Wilder starring Barbara Stanwyck, Fred MacMurray, and Edward G. Robinson. The following films to adhere this striking new genre have varied far and few. However, three films The Big Sleep, The Postman Always Rings Twice, and Gilda all contribute to the promise of the film noir feel. These three films are in comparison to Double Indemnity by observation in their style, characters, and story.
The Big Sleep released in 1946 embarks on the character Phillip Marlowe played by Humphrey Bogart and the femme fatale Vivian Rutledge played by Lauren Bacall. The story works around crime, murder, and with a bit of romance between the two leads. The film noir genre characteristics embraced by this film include the use of black and white. Many scenes included rainfall that also affected story progression. For example, after a murder takes place, Phillip Marlowe explains that the rain had inhibited further detective work investigation. Smoking was also heavily present throughout the film. The main character detective Marlowe illustrates subtle sexual tension between various female characters. The dialogue pace is fast as characters were often overlapping each other. There is not permanent narrative in the film. However, The Big Sleep only features a brief narrative introductory explanation. Crime dominates this film with guns, murders, blackmail, and thugs. The declared femme fatale in The Big Sleep portrayed by Lauren Bacall is Vivian Rutledge. Vivian is the character who becomes Marlowe’s love interest. Vivian’s sternness vastly overshadows her seductive appeal. She is very mysterious as well as coy when it comes to withholding information from detective Marlowe. Vivian does show vulnerability over time as she develops feelings for Marlowe amidst the dangerous environment they are inhabited. ...

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