That is the first thing I think of whenever people talk of shadow: rain coated detective with a penchant for Bourbon and smoking under street lamps, the glamorous but dangerous dame, gangsters and policemen of dubious morals, you know the sort. The distinctive visual style of Film Noir originated as a bargain of necessity, streets in shadows and the odd camera angles were originally there to disguise the short comings of the film productions lack of budget and it soon became a style in itself. The three films which people tend to think of when the term Film Noir is mentioned are The Maltese Falcon, The Big Sleep (both starring Humphrey Bogart) and The Third Man, the first two of which are based on ‘hard-boiled’ detective novels y Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler respectively, the latter film doesn’t feature a detective as such but it adheres to the tropes of Film Noir.
Now this is a DVD boxed set I bought a fair few years ago and gives a good over of a series of excellent but perhaps underrated or forgotten films. The Killers is based on an Ernest Hemmingway short story of the same name and has an interesting hook for the story as an old lady receives an inheritance from a man she hardly knows. Murder, My Sweet is an adaption of Chandler’s Farewell My Lovely and is quite good even if it is slightly let down by the way they cast the villainous Moose Malloy. Here he is portrayed more as a big clumsy naïve lummox whereas in the book Malloy is described and writing as a thuggish brutish man who is very dangerous and somewhat unstable, the film doesn’t portray Malloy as a threat.
This Gun for Hire is based on a Graham Greene novel and we all know the story of Double Indemnity as its story template has been homaged and satirised many times.
It is a cheap boxset to buy and a must for any film noir buff.