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dc.contributor.authorRichards, Rashna-
dc.descriptionThis syllabus was submitted to the Office of Academic Affairs by the course instructor. Uploaded by Archives RSA Josephine Hill.en_US
dc.description.abstractA telephone rings in darkness. With only partial lighting from the back of the frame, objects slowly materialize on a bedside table: an old stand-up telephone, a pouch of tobacco, a dusty ashtray, an alarm clock balanced on the edge of a book, a newspaper turned to the racing section. Curtains sway ominously from the night breeze in the background, while in the foreground a fumbling hand reaches in to grab the ringing telephone. A private detective has been shot dead, the caller informs, by the crook he was shadowing. No one cares. This is a bleak world--of tough guys, dangerous dames, and streets with no name. This is the world of American film noir. In 1946, French critic Nino Frank used the term "film noir" to describe the existential, expressionist, and erotic crime thrillers being produced by Hollywood at that time. The gritty look, cynical mood, and scathing tone of films such as John Huston's The Maltese Falcon, Billy Wilder's Double Indemnity, Edward Dmytryk's Murder, My Sweet, and Otto Preminger's Laura, he argued, marked the emergence of a new trend in Hollywood cinema, one that undercut George Bailey's optimism and exposed the dark side of the American dream. Since then, film noir has been variously regarded as a style, a genre, and a movement, expressive of the fears, desires, and anxieties of mid-century America. In this course, we will examine the noir phenomenon, from its beginnings during World War II to its explosion in postwar America to its recent postmodern revivals. In the first half of the semester, we will trace noir's roots in German Expressionism and in hard-boiled detective fiction; explore how noir films deal with social tensions around urban life, gender roles and sexual identities, race relations, and so on; and investigate how they complicate the success story Richards 2 of postwar America. In the second half, we will consider why the bleakness and disillusionment pervasive during and after World War II continue to resonate in American cinema; we will also analyze how neo-noir films both honor and parody classic noir.en_US
dc.publisherMemphis, Tenn. : Rhodes Collegeen_US
dc.relation.ispartofseriesSyllabi CRN;21203-
dc.rightsRhodes College owns the rights to the archival digital images in this collection. Objects are made available for educational use only and may not be used for any non-educational or commercial purpose. Approved educational uses include private research and scholarship, teaching, and student projects. Original copies of the programs are stored in the Rhodes College Archives. In all instances of use, acknowledgement must be given to Rhodes College Archives Digital Repository, Memphis, TN. For information regarding permission to use this image, please email the Archives at
dc.subjectEnglish, Department ofen_US
dc.subjectAcademic departmentsen_US
dc.subject2012 Springen_US
dc.titleENGL 381-01, Tough Guys, Dangerous Dames, and Streets with No Name: American Film Noir, Spring 2011en_US
Appears in Collections:Course Syllabi

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