Film noir, French for “black film”, is the classification for the popular films of the 40’s and 50’s that combined crime, cynical attitudes and sexual motivations.
I’m a fan of Alfred Hitchcock. Add Cary Grant and you get my favorite Film Noir Notorious. It’s the story of two lovers whose lives and relationship are torn apart by espionage and undercover work for the government. Below are two of my favorite scenes from this movie.
The first is a wide look at a grand mansion. The camera shows the house packed with happy party guests, but finally zooms in on Ingrid Bergman’s hand concealing a key. No words are necessary to convey the powerful meaning of her actions.
The second scene has been termed one of the most “intimate and erotic kisses”. Production Code’s at the time banned kisses longer than three seconds in duration. Hitchcock had his actors disengage every three seconds, murmur and nuzzle each other, then kiss again. They even walk from room to room without every breaking contact for approximately three minutes.
Many screenwriters today copy or pay homage to those films, creating a kind of “Modern Day Noir”. If you are interested in writing your own Noir there are a few rules.
1. Read/watch classic Noir (see examples below).
2. Decide on the circumstances of the crime. All noir mystery stories explore the meaning of good and evil, so be sure to address this theme. There's more emphasis on characters in noir mysteries than others, the deed must be evil enough to create a dark, cynical atmosphere.
3. Decide on an angle for telling the story. You MUST capture the dark atmosphere of the genre. Remember, you can't count on the police or a private investigator to tell your story. The narrator must be someone with first-hand knowledge of the crime, if not the actual criminal.
4. Clarify exactly how the crime was committed down to the last detail. A map of the setting and a blow-by-blow description will help you organize this information. Make a list of clues and build scenes around their gradual discovery.
5. Write character sketches of everyone involved, especially the suspects. You need to figure out how to portray the steamy relationship between your femme fatale and the man she lures into the crime.
For a fun example of tips or an outline visit: http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/SoYouWantTo/WriteAFilmNoir
This website is dedicated to Modern Noir Fiction: http://www.backalleywebzine.com/
Read free Film Noir scripts and screenplays: http://www.simplyscripts.com/genre/film-noir-scripts.html