Defining Film Noir: Stunt Writing day 5

I took Sunday off for good behavior.

Actually, that’s a lie. I took Sunday off because on Saturday I went to the gym, as I usually do, and then came home too exhausted to do much more than watch some noir flicks, hence I didn’t write anything to post on Sunday.

But I did hit my 5k step goal, even if I didn’t write about it!

So, in lieu of my Sunday post, here is a list of all the noir flicks I’ve watched this summer, as part of my education in the Film Noir course I took on Canvas:

  • 99 River Street
  • The Amazing Dr. Clitterhouse (which takes the award for Most Blatant Innuendo in a Noir Title!)
  • The Big Sleep
  • Blue Gardenia
  • Detour
  • D.O.A.
  • Double Indemnity
  • The Hitch-Hiker
  • In A Lonely Place
  • Gilda
  • Kansas City Confidential
  • Kiss Me Deadly
  • The Lady from Shanghai
  • Laura (of course!)
  • The Maltese Falcon
  • Murder, My Sweet
  • Out of the Past
  • Pitfall
  • Scarlet Street
  • The Strange Love of Martha Ivers
  • The Stranger
  • The Third Man
  • Too Late for Tears
Love this cover!

I still have a ton more I want to see, though some can’t be found anywhere online. For instance, I’ve been trying to find The Blue Dahlia, but no such luck – even the YouTube versions have been taken down (except for the trailers). I hope this means someone’s restoring it so I can give it a proper viewing soon!

I’ve also been working my way through TCM’s “Summer of Darkness” listings, to see which flicks I can find in the public domain and/or streaming on Netflix or Amazon (sadly, you can’t subscribe just to TCM, and my cable company’s packages are crummy… so I keep hoping TCM will create something like HBO Now so I can subscribe and watch their awesome movies!). I may have to resort to borrowing noir flicks from my local library, if they’re available on DVD, to watch the rest.

In the meantime, I’ve borrowed some noir books from the library, to keep my education going even after the class is over. Here’s what I’m reading:

If all that wasn’t exciting enough, Eddie Muller’s going to be a guest in our last week of the class, so I’m trying to think of some intelligent questions to ask the Czar of Noir!

I’m also trying to come up with a good one-line definition for film noir… so far I’ve come up with this:

Damned dames, dirty deals & dead ends!

What do you think? How would you define film noir in a single sentence?


  • Tony

    Good evening! I am a fellow student of the film noir course, which I found quite exciting. I watched many great films noir during these two months but, as you put it, there are a ton more out there waiting.

    I don’t think it’s that difficult to find a film noir online, I found myself quite a few with a simple Google search. In fact, The Blue Dahlia, which you mentioned, was one of them.

    As for defining film noir, it’s something quite challenging because there are just too many things composing these little beauties. My definition would be something like “A stylish world of passion, violence, double-crossings and, of course, deadly females”.

  • Laura Roberts

    Hi Tony! If you’ve got a link to the full-length film, The Blue Dahlia, it’d be nice if you could share it. I wasn’t able to dig up any legit videos – all the ones I clicked on from YouTube and Google searching had that annoying “Sorry, this video is no longer available!” message instead of the film itself. After finding several of those in a row, I gave up.