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Film Noir

Click to enlargeFilm Noir, a term coined by French critics, grew out of the pulp novels of the 1920’s and 30’s. Authors such as Dashell Hammett and Raymond Chandler laid the groundwork with their novels and short stories. Hollywood, enjoying its “Golden Age”, made several notable forays in the style, but the themes of betrayal, alienation and obsession were the antithesis of the films of the Depression. It would take the post World War II era to really set the classic noir in motion. As the studio system began to fade in the late 40’s and the “happy ending” was no longer required, a final element was in place. Stars like Humphrey Bogart, John Garfield, Robert Mitchum and Burt Lancaster helped define the image of noir’s anti-hero.


Some of noir’s signature titles such as This Gun For Hire, Gun Crazy, Kiss Me Deadly and Somewhere in the Night were breakthroughs not only on the big screen (many appreciated only in retrospect) but the posters advertising them presented a new look. Action-packed images, many reflecting their pulp novel roots, captured attention during the film’s initial run and still do to this day. As movie poster collecting has grown into a worldwide business, appreciation for these images remains a constant.