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Film Noir: Bringing Darkness To Light

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I just watched the documentary: Film Noir: Bringing Darkness To Light. It includes everything we have been talking about during the class. They have directors and actors from the films and some of the authors we have read. This documentary brings it all together in one neat package.


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Truth be told, I've never seen a film studies class, or moderated film discussion that did little else but "saunter through" film clips and identify various bits-and-pieces of ideas for students, all in very piecemeal fashion. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

Of course, when this 'Summer of Darkness' course I completely missed. But my guess is this was the format? It stands to reason. No one wants to be lectured to as if they're in a class in a local community college. Everything on-line is made for casual browsing...

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One question re: noir which I'd liked to have seen asked (had I been here at the time) is this:

In the 1930s, when the USA was wallowing in the deepest despair and travail since the Civil War, Hollywood leaped to offer citizens upbeat, feel-good movies. American citizens naturally needed cheering up; and we enjoyed screwball comedies and elaborate musicals. 

But in the 1950s when our fortunes had completely turned around, when we were at the peak of our prosperity and world-renown...why all-of-a-sudden did we crave movies about dread, indecision, angst, and remorse?

'Noir as a visual style' theorizing simply ignores all historical questions like this and treats pre-WWII society as if it is exactly the same as post-WWII society. How can they be considered one and the same? As if the greatest social upheaval in this history of human civilization was of no moment? As if it had no effect on moviegoers and movie-makers at all?

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