Title page for ETD etd-08142009-040450
|Type of Document
||The socio-political dimension of film noir
||Master of Arts
|Luke, Timothy W.
|Prince, Stephen R.
|White, Stephen K.
- Politics in motion pictures
|Date of Defense
After World War II, Hollywood produced a series of low budget
pictures characterized by a dark mood, bleak urban
landscapes and fierce violence. French critics called them
films noirs (black films). These movies presented a critical
vision of the social injustice present in the American
capitalist society. This thesis examines the socio-political
dimension of film noir firstly through its social, literary
and filmic origins, then through a piecework study of shots
and dialogues from six noir pictures: Body and Soul (1947),
Force of Evil (1948), Knock On Any Door (1949), Kiss of
Death (1947), I Walk Alone(1948) and The Set-up (1949). It
is shown how the Marxist convictions of their makers
influenced their style and their content. Even films noirs
made by apolitical or moderate filmmakers follow a similar
pattern. It is concluded that film noir contains expressions
of anti-capitalist struggle toward social justice and moral
redemption. The appeal of these ideas to many Americans is
shown by the box-office success of these pictures, while
many noir writers, actors and directors were the victims of
the reactionary repression of the early fifties.
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