Neon glare in the dark of an urban night. Silhouettes and smoke in a pessimistic world. Welcome to the world of Film noir. A stylistic phenomenon of the 40’s and 50’s.
It all began in 1941 with the film The Maltese Falcon. The private investigators Sam Spade and Miles Archer are assigned to shadow a dodgy character named Floyd Thursby. To this day, the film is considered a milestone of crime films.
But what other films of this era are a must see?
The website ultimatemovierankings.com has adopted this issue and searched for the best film noir – and also the worst! After extensive research a list was created with a total of 263 movies, which were released between 1940 and 1959. This list can be arranged by six different categories: stars or director of movie, domestic box office, adjusted domestic box office, critics’ and audiences’ rating, Oscar nominations as well as wins or Ultimate Movie Rankings (UMR) score.
And of course there’s a winner! Double Indemnity (1944) by Billy Wilder is at the top. The movie is about an insurance salesman and his provocative housewife who wishes her husband was dead. It was nominated for seven Oscars in 1945, but sadly did not win a single one.
Suddenly it came over me that everything would go wrong. It sounds crazy, Keyes, but it’s true, so help me. I couldn’t hear my own footsteps. It was the walk of a dead man. – Walter Neff / Fred MacMurray
However, where there is a winner, there is of course a loser. This negative title goes to The Man In The Net (1959) by Michael Curtiz.
But as it is with movies, everyone has a different taste and even when we are talking about film noir, there is not just black and white.