Classic Film Noir

Here be those darkly vexing offerings one should include in their diet periodically. Film Noir (literally 'black film or cinema') was coined by French film critics (first by Frank Nino in 1946) who noticed the trend of how 'dark' and black the looks and themes were of many American crime and detective films released in France following the war. It was 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 1965. With the list below Alice has included many "Contempory Noirs", making browsing that much more "coloured"..... Right: Orson Wells stars and directs "A Touch Of Evil".

Rebecca (1940)

Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Starring: Laurence Olivier, Joan Fontaine, George Sanders

Hitchcock's first American film, based on a Du Maurier gothic romance. With Laurence Olivier and a fine performance by Joan Fontaine as a shy young wo... Read more

The Third Man (1949)

Director: Carol Reed
Starring: Joseph Cotten, Alida Valli, Orson Welles, Trevor Howard

Joseph Cotten is pulp fiction writer Holly Matins, who arrives in Vienna to work for his friend Harry Lime (Orson Welles), only to be told that Lime h... Read more

Citizen Kane (1941)

Director: Orson Welles
Starring: Orson Welles, Joseph Cotten, Everett Sloane

Generally regarded as the greatest and most influential films of all time; Orson Welles directorial debut (he was only 25!) is the story of newspaper... Read more

Touch of Evil (1958)

Director: Orson Welles
Starring: Charlton Heston, Janet Leigh, Orson Welles, Akim Tamiroff, Joseph Calleia, Marle...

This twisting cinematic masterpiece of style and suspense, based on the Whit Masterson novel, features Orson Welles as a corrupt cane-wielding officia... Read more

The Big Sleep (1946)

Director: Howard Hawks
Starring: Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall, Dorothy Malone, Martha Vickers

Raymond Chandler's witty and convoluted whodunit comes to life under director Howard Hawks. Humphrey Bogart is tough private eye Philip Marlowe, Laure... Read more

Notorious (1946)

Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Starring: Ingrid Bergman, Claude Rains, Cary Grant

In this brilliant allegory of love and betrayal, Hitchcock fuses two of his favourite elements: suspense and romance. A beautiful woman with a tainted... Read more

Breathless ( A bout de souffle ) (1960)

Director: Jean-Luc Godard
Starring: Daniel Boulanger, Jean Seberg, Jean-Paul Belmondo, Henri-Jacques Huet

A.k.a. "A bout de souffle". There was before "Breathless", and there was after "Breathless". Jean-Luc Godard burst onto the film scene in 1960 with th... Read more

Vertigo (1958)

Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Starring: Barbara Bel Geddes, Kim Novak, James Stewart, Tom Helmore, Henry Jones

Critics have hailed 'Vertigo' as Alfred Hitchcock's ultimate masterpiece. This haunting tale of obsession, fear and murder stars Hitchcock's favourite... Read more

Double Indemnity (1944)

Director: Billy Wilder
Starring: Barbara Stanwyck, Fred MacMurray, Edward G Robinson

A masterpiece of film noir cinema from director Billy Wilder, who also co-scripted with Raymond Chandler. Barbara Stanwyck is the definitive femme fat... Read more

The Manchurian Candidate (1962)

Director: John Frankenheimer
Starring: Angela Lansbury, Frank Sinatra, Henry Silva, Janet Leigh, Laurence Harvey

One of the finest political thrillers ever made. John Frankenheimer's blend of Cold War paranoia and sly satire stars Laurence Harvey as a former Kore... Read more