Wednesday, December 4, 2013

By Definition, Film Noir...

Director Fritz Lang lived in both the silent film era and the one of the "talkies". Three particular films illustrate this evolution incredibly: Metropolis, M, and Scarlet Street. Metropolis is a silent film, with big gestures and a constant musical score. M is the bridge between silent film and synchronized sound; there is dialogue, cars honking, and even whistling. Not every scene, however, contains sound. Here, Lang takes the best of the silence and sound.
Scarlet Street is an entirely different story. It is film noir at its finest, and the film from which the above stills were taken. It tells a fantastic story of middle-aged Christopher Cross, Kitty, the girl he becomes infatuated with, and Johnny, her unscrupulous fiance. Now, film noir generally contains: a mostly decent man is talked into immoral or illegal activities by a femme fatale, and his downward spiral. Scarlet Street follows this pattern wonderfully. It is also full of dialogue, showing that Lang is really a director who can work with everything he has.

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