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I was surprised how many titles were listed at wiki that were produced before WWII. Check out all the pre-war noir from 1927 to 1940 (including non-American productions):

 

 

What was nice about this list is that it state what is a noir is subjective and it provides the source.   The book Film Noir (Ward \ Silver),  list a lot less noirs.  That source is the 'c' in the listing.    

 

I don't agree with the 'b' source.   e.g. Rebecca as a noir?    In my view Rebecca would only be a noir if Max was convicted for killing Rebecca (he killed her in the book),  instead of the death being an accident.  

 

Anyhow,  just goes to show that one man's noir is another man's crime drama \ gangster picture.

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What was nice about this list is that it state what is a noir is subjective and it provides the source.   The book Film Noir (Ward \ Silver),  list a lot less noirs.  That source is the 'c' in the listing.    

 

I don't agree with the 'b' source.   e.g. Rebecca as a noir?    In my view Rebecca would only be a noir if Max was convicted for killing Rebecca (some he did in the book),  instead of the death being an accident.  

 

Anyhow,  just goes to show that one man's noir is another man's crime drama \ gangster picture.

 

 

 I've seen so many titles that have been labeled as film noir, so I think you are right about film noir being subjective. I think film noir is definitely more subjective than other film genres.For me, film noir has a distinctive feel to it though. 

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What I like about this list on wiki is that it sort of refutes the idea that noir came as a result of the war or in direct response to its aftermath. Clearly the seeds had been sown much earlier.

 

I also like the general idea.

 

Many of the 'seeds' had been sown much earlier related to lighting,  camera placement and themes,  but one theme that really didn't 'take off' until after WWII was that of loss of purpose and hope.   It wasn't until after the end of WW Two and the failure of WW One,   the war to end all wars,  that this theme really was pushed (and not just noirs).

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