FILM NOIR BEGINS WITH THE SILENTS-

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LostEmulsion

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FILM NOIR BEGINS WITH THE SILENTS-

PostWed Mar 01, 2017 10:15 pm

I am starting a documentary on Women Of Film Noir. I want to talk about the origins of this wonderful film movement- origins that reach back to the silent days. We know German Expressionism is an early sign of noir. What Hollywood silents films are early noir?
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Christopher Jacobs

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Re: FILM NOIR BEGINS WITH THE SILENTS-

PostWed Mar 01, 2017 11:44 pm

Although it's not an urban setting, there's a good argument to be made that DeMille's CARMEN (1915) is setting the seeds for film noir with its aggressive femme fatale luring the idiotic male protagonist into criminal activities, with a pervading feeling that nothing will end well. Some great night photography and chiaroscuro "DeMille lighting," as well, besides the day-for-night scenes. The famous Theda Bara film A FOOL THERE WAS (1915) is also loaded with elements associated with film noir but without the criminal underworld aspect.

THE RACKET (1928) is a great, slick gangster film that has something of a noirish feeling, though not quite as much as the 1951 remake which looks and feels more like a noir but in the long run isn't quite as compelling as the 1928 version.

There are probably others I can't think of off-hand.
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bigshot

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Re: FILM NOIR BEGINS WITH THE SILENTS-

PostWed Mar 01, 2017 11:55 pm

Would Chaney's While The City Sleeps qualify?
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radiotelefonia

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Re: FILM NOIR BEGINS WITH THE SILENTS-

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Clem Dickey

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Re: FILM NOIR BEGINS WITH THE SILENTS-

PostThu Mar 02, 2017 2:45 am

A Cottage on Dartmoor (1929)
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R. Cat

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Re: FILM NOIR BEGINS WITH THE SILENTS-

PostThu Mar 02, 2017 5:33 am

Several of Von Sternberg's silent gangster films should definitely be considered early noir. Underworld from '27, Dragnet and Docks of New York from '28 are prime examples of moody nourish lighting for effect.

Thinking a little more on the subject, early noir was probably influenced as well by the popularity of expressionist filmmakers (Lang, May, DuPont, Leni, Murnau, et al.). Stylistically, German Expressionism fits with darkly stylized mood cinema. Orson Welles' was certainly influenced by expressionism in developing Citizen Kane. I can't imagine CK not qualifing as noir on some level.

Anyway, connecting the dots between silent cinema and noir seems pretty easy to me.
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boblipton

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Re: FILM NOIR BEGINS WITH THE SILENTS-

PostThu Mar 02, 2017 5:46 am

Karl Freund.

Bob
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R Michael Pyle

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Re: FILM NOIR BEGINS WITH THE SILENTS-

PostThu Mar 02, 2017 6:10 am

As far as I'm concerned, "Pandora's Box" IS noir...
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Re: FILM NOIR BEGINS WITH THE SILENTS-

PostThu Mar 02, 2017 7:11 am

Much of SUNRISE.

(Low-key lighting; conflicted man led astray by sophisticated woman; murder plot; brooding score.)
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Danny

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Re: FILM NOIR BEGINS WITH THE SILENTS-

PostThu Mar 02, 2017 9:26 am

My suggestion is Asphalt (1928) directed by Joe May. It has crime, an intriguing femme fatale, some great expressive cinematography, and a story with lots of surprises.

Danny
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Rodney

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Re: FILM NOIR BEGINS WITH THE SILENTS-

PostThu Mar 02, 2017 9:35 am

I'd make a case for Beggars of Life (1928). The net spread by the dozens of faceless detectives who seem to know everything, the murky motives of the various tramps -- Louise has no choice but to place her trust in a bunch of scummy men, but are they hanging around Louise for love, lust, or that $1000 reward? Some very atmospheric filming and lighting. Oh, and the hats.

I'd give a look at Marlene Dietrich in The Women Men Yearn For (Die Frau Nach Der Man Sich Sehnt). I know that just having a femme fatale who leads men to ruin and death against their better judgment is not all it takes to be noir. But although not a perfect match, it has many of the elements.

And I second Joe May's Asphalt. I've only seen it once, but it looked pretty noir to me.
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Re: FILM NOIR BEGINS WITH THE SILENTS-

PostThu Mar 02, 2017 11:04 am

"While New York Sleeps" (1920)
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Re: FILM NOIR BEGINS WITH THE SILENTS-

PostThu Mar 02, 2017 1:39 pm

Not Hollywood, but check out Ozu's THAT NIGHT'S WIFE.
"If you lose this war, don't blame me."

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silentfilm

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Re: FILM NOIR BEGINS WITH THE SILENTS-

PostFri Mar 03, 2017 12:40 pm

I'm with Henry. While New York Sleeps (1920) is about as close to noir as silent film can get. Some of Lon Chaney's crime dramas have many noir elements, but not necessarily the cynicism, like The Wicked Darling (1919) with Priscilla Dean.
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Re: FILM NOIR BEGINS WITH THE SILENTS-

PostFri Mar 03, 2017 8:47 pm

The Blue Angel 1930 has everything I love about classic Noir.
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wingate

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Re: FILM NOIR BEGINS WITH THE SILENTS-

PostSat Mar 04, 2017 3:00 am

You could say that Hitchcocks The Lodger and Blackmail belong to this genre
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LostEmulsion

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Re: FILM NOIR BEGINS WITH THE SILENTS-

PostMon Mar 06, 2017 10:04 pm

Thanks, all. You all gave some really fascinating ideas of what may be the first baby steps of film noir, during the silent/early sound era- the suggestions were

DeMille's CARMEN
Lon Chaney in WHILE THE CITY SLEEPS
Hitchcock's THE LODGER and BLACKMAIL
Pabst's PANDORAS BOX
Von Sternberg's THE BLUE ANGEL

Great selections, being that I am starting my documentary on the women of film noir

Regards
Glenn Andreiev

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