Rot the eyes right out of your head with this collection of 60 free Film Noir classics

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2018/06/05/rot-the-eyes-right-out-of-your.html

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Bleh. No Cat People.

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This list is missing many of the great noir classics, which are apparently not available for free online. However, it does include two of my very favorites, D.O.A. and Kansas City Confidential.

One of the greatest novels (of any genre) of the 20th century.

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And don’t let’s forget Kiss Me Deadly for a prescient send-up of toxic masculinity. Kiss-Me-Deadly-6

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You might be surprised at all the decent noir on youtube for free, in pretty good quality uploads too: Detour, Pickup On South Street, The Big Combo, D.O.A., etc.

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agent-cooper-yes

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Oh man it is hard to get more gritty super manly man than Mike Hammer. Though they are fun reads.

Reading the list I have seen and can highly reccomend…

A second for D.O.A. as suggested by @d_r
Shock with Vincent Price is a fun one
The Red House is very good.
And I had to check The Amazing Mr. X. also a nice unsung gem the same cinematographer as Nightmare Alley which sadly isn’t free yet but totes worth seeing.

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Several good ones here, but the one not to miss is Detour, the noiriest noir ever noired, in which the aptly named Ann Savage

chews up the scenery, the script, the film stock, the sound stage, and the studio parking lot.

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On that list “Scarlet Street” was one I saw for the first time last year. Edward G. Robinson as a failed artist who gets taken by a female con. The ending just barely scrapes by the so-called Hays code.

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Dang, I love Beat the Devil. Definitely have to spool that one up.

It’s not a noiry noir (more of a send up of the genre) but it is a John Huston film with Bogart, Peter Lorre, Robert Morley (a fave), and Gina Lollobrigida (oh my) and it’s a fun, fun time.

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What makes noir (edit:of that era) one of my favorite genres is that it explores the lower depths of our souls but the restrictions of the time I think kept it out of the gratuitously hopeless despair one gets from contemporary equivalents like Breaking Bad. Sometimes art benefits from artificial constraints.

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Lots of great films in this collection. I’d strongly recommend:

The Hitch-Hiker, directed by the only woman director active in Hollywood at the time, Ida Lupino (catch The Bigamist, too.)
Detour, one of the most despairing films of the era (great recommendation, huh?)
The Naked Kiss, one of Samuel Fuller’s best, starts with a bald prostitute assaulting her pimp, and proceeds from there. Kinda surprised this is public domain.
Scarlet Street Fritz Lang directs, Edward G. Robinson, Joan Bennett, and an extremely sleazy Dan Duryea.
The Strange Love of Martha Ivers Epic story (116 minutes is long for a noir of that era) but very worth the time. Barbara Stanwyck, Van Heflin, and Kirk Douglas’ debut in a quite atypical role. I think I’ll recommend this one most highly since it’s probably the most obscure.

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The usual collection of worn out faded films by way of VHS?

What’s particularly fun about this one is that almost everyone is playing against type.

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There are some really solid titles listed here, and some not so great ones. If you have access to it, TCM is a good place to view film noir that isn’t in the public domain yet, as well as decent prints of public domain films.

Be sure to check out Roger Ebert’s guide to film noir that was mentioned in the article.

Film noir is . . .

1. A French term meaning “black film,” or film of the night, inspired by the Series Noir, a line of cheap paperbacks that translated hard-boiled American crime authors and found a popular audience in France.

2. A movie which at no time misleads you into thinking there is going to be a happy ending.

3. Locations that reek of the night, of shadows, of alleys, of the back doors of fancy places, of apartment buildings with a high turnover rate, of taxi drivers and bartenders who have seen it all.

4. Cigarettes. Everybody in film noir is always smoking, as if to say, “On top of everything else, I’ve been assigned to get through three packs today.” The best smoking movie of all time is “Out of the Past,” in which Robert Mitchum and Kirk Douglas smoke furiously at each other. At one point, Mitchum enters a room, Douglas extends a pack and says, “Cigarette?” and Mitchum, holding up his hand, says, "Smoking."

5. Women who would just as soon kill you as love you, and vice versa.

6. For women: low necklines, floppy hats, mascara, lipstick, dressing rooms, boudoirs, calling the doorman by his first name, high heels, red dresses, elbowlength gloves, mixing drinks, having gangsters as boyfriends, having soft spots for alcoholic private eyes, wanting a lot of someone else’s women, sprawling dead on the floor with every limb meticulously arranged and every hair in place.

7. For men: fedoras, suits and ties, shabby residential hotels with a neon sign blinking through the window, buying yourself a drink out of the office bottle, cars with running boards, all-night diners, protecting kids who shouldn’t be playing with the big guys, being on first-name terms with homicide cops, knowing a lot of people whose descriptions end in “ies,” such as bookies, newsies, junkies, alkys, jockeys and cabbies.

8. Movies either shot in black and white, or feeling like they were.

9. Relationships in which love is only the final flop card in the poker game of death.

10. The most American film genre, because no society could have created a world so filled with doom, fate, fear and betrayal, unless it were essentially naive and optimistic.

That film is also the poster child for cordless phones. :grinning:

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Another collection of Film Noir Movies here

And a site dedicated to Public Domain Movies

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Damn, that’s a line fine enough to send a dame like me down the river.

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“I want to report a murder.”

“Who’s?”

“Mine.”

a great opening to a film

@Kaili_Kartouche The scene in Kiss Me Deadly where the goon come in from the neighbouring room/broom closet, where he’s been torturing the woman, and he’s got a pair of pliers in his hands, and nobody makes a big deal out of it. Chilling stuff; more horrible for being so matter of fact than any “Saw” or “Hostel” style torture porn. I think that is was so unexpected too when I watched the film years ago on TV that made it so powerful.

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Their link goes to a notification that the account associated with the video has been terminated. Drats.

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Well that sucks. It is on DVD and cursory amazon search says for cheap as well. One is 5 movies with him including The Bat which is personal favorite.