The Dark Drama of Film Noir

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Saturday, January 19, 2013

The Film Noir genre may be best known for its hard-boiled heroes, deceitful dames, and deeply shadowed stories and cinematography, but music also plays an important part in these dark dramas.

Composers such as Miklos Rozsa ("Double Indemnity," "Asphalt Jungle"), Max Steiner ("The Big Sleep"), Adolph Deutsch ("The Maltese Falcon"), and Bernard Herrmann ("Hangover Square") brought their considerable skills to Film Noir, blending symphonic drama and jazz harmonies to create the perfect ambiance for rainy night intrigue. On this program David Garland presents the sound of Film Noir classics.


Comments [6]

John Kaufman from Allston, MA

My favorite film noir is In A Lonely Place (1850), which was directed by Nicholas Ray. Starring Humphrey Bogart, Gloria Graham and Frank Lovejoy, the film is not only a compelling dark drama but one of the best Hollywood movies about Hollywood. Music was provided by George Antheil.

Jan. 25 2013 01:42 AM
LES from Washington DC

Meant to add: A year ago I went with my daughter to see Mildred Pierce (directed by Michael Curtiz) at AFI's Film Noir fesitval. My daughter, then 16, was riveted by the story and by the way in which it was told -- which began and ended with the murder. Perhaps she could identify with the young girl in the movie, or somehow found her as a peer to be simpatico even if reprehensible. Not sure what the hook was for her, but the juxtoposition between the American dream and its underside was well done. The opening musical sequence, a dark and stormy night, was memorable, composed by Max Steiner, I think.

Jan. 21 2013 01:04 PM
LES from Washington DC

Terrific show -- Movies on the Radio adds flavor to life. Whether by design or accident, the Film Noir genre produced a number of gems. They show life as it often is, not as we wish it were.

"The cheaper the crook, the gaudier the patter."

Jan. 21 2013 09:53 AM
WQXR Studio

Ranjit, I got a kick out of that line, too!

Joe, thanks for that recommendation, I don't think I've seen it! I do love another Friz Lang film with both Edward G. Robinson and Joan Bennett: "The Woman in the Window."

Jan. 19 2013 10:47 PM
Joe from Valley Stream, NY

Double Indemnity, The Big Sleep and the Maltese Falcon are classics and I've seen them all many times. However, the ultimate Noir: Scarlet Street, 1945, Edward G. Robinson, Joan Bennett and Dan Duryea. It so disturbing, but somehow I'm drawn to it. Catch it now and then on TCM.

Jan. 19 2013 10:29 PM
Ranjit from Brooklyn

"my bank account was trying to crawl under a duck"!!!

Jan. 19 2013 09:52 PM

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