Eat your heart out X-Files and clones, with your puny flashlights beaming through dusty warehouses. Hide your longing, Christopher Nolan; for all your special effects, nothing forebodes danger more than the iconic black-and-white, film noir murder scene in Elia Kazan's Panic in the Streets. Low-budget, high-imagination, starkly lit, black-and-white film perfectly matches the chill producing terror of human vulnerability in the shadows of the night and the mind.
|Lupino: the perfect cocktail of hardboiled and vulnerable. No slouch as a directer, either.|
The term "film noir" was coined by French critic Nino Frank in 1946 to describe certain American "B" movies, but it wasn’t considered a genre (like Westerns, musicals, or comedies) by the industry itself:
Film noir didn’t exist [in Hollywood] as a banner in the years it peaked as a style. As a result, many elements that have come to characterize film noir—high-contrast chiaroscuro lighting, expressionistic staging, hard-boiled stories set deep in the underworld, location shooting, themes of sexual betrayal and innocence undone—evolved in a more competitive than formulaic environment, as filmmakers outdid each other in the relatively unmonitored world of low-budget second features.So says Gary Giddins in Warning Shadows: Home Alone With Classic Cinema, a perfect companion book for classic cinema fans, with an entire section dedicated to film noir.
Linda Thornburg is a filmmaker who longs to work with the likes of Lauren Bacall, Ida Lupino, and Ingrid Bergman on some dark and smoky film.
Watch the Panic in the Streets trailer here!
Watch the trailer for Linda Thornburg's feature film Mrs Stevens Hears the Mermaids Singing, an adaptation of the May Sarton novel.