Jan 18

Week One: Summery

If it’s not one thing it’s another.  My first week of class was crazy, unorganized, and for the most part pretty darn insane.  And that was just in general. This class so far seems different, exciting and I have been trying to get into it since last summer.  With that being said I’m more than ready to sink my teeth into something now that the technical difficulties are done.

What I noticed first while reading the articles on Film Noir was the french roots. I had a feeling it would pertain to style but I didn’t know there would be more to it then just mood lighting and a depressing atmosphere.

Initially I didn’t know that Film Noir had certain elements and thematic categories that were unique to it.  Now knowing this I’m able to actually look at movies with a new and different perspective.  I used this to review a few of the examples provided and think of some other movies I’ve seen before but never considered Noir.

Since I’ve watched Dark Knight, Sin City and Watchmen I thought it would be fun to step outside my comfort zone with baby steps and check out some of the other media (After all it’s kinda obvious how the three most popular movies relate to Noir). So without further aude I bring you my reviews:

1. Scooby Doo – Backstage Rage;

Like many Scooby Doo episodes the setting takes place at night in a spooky location.  The place is almost always deserted with the gang being the only ones in the area, aside from the masked bad guy. Which brings me to the next Noir based element I observed, the shadowy masked figure.  In this episode his face and entire body is a massive shadow not entirely shown until the end.

2. Courageous Cat and The Case of the Cat Cave Treasure;

In this episode the most Noir element would be the gangster frog and his partner in crime looking for the hidden treasure.  Everything from his voice, to his clothes depicts the typical 40’s gangster.

3. Welcome to Night Vale – Water Failure

The podcast opens with the narrator complaining about water issues and how this inconveniences the rest of his day.  This sets the mood fairly low and the transition to an apocalyptic scene with two suns appearing causing massive panic and destruction only solidifies the melancholy setting. Even without the use of visuals typically required the narrator describes the setting and actions in a way where it doesn’t feel like visuals are required.

4. Suspense! – “The House in Cypress Canyon”

A radio show that first aired in 1946, because it’s a radio show it misses the visuals like Welcome to Night Vale.  However this only adds to the suspense of the show.  It’s very similar to The Twilight Show or an Alfred Hitchcock film.  There are several references to the war, mob, and the young couple appear to be haunted by something that only comes out at night to terrorizes them. Even though the show started out on a slightly positive note by the time it started going it had a dark and hopeless atmosphere.

5. Bugs Bunny – Racketeer Rabbit

Once again the show depicts a stereotypical version of a 1940’s gangster.  At night the gangster and his henchman break into the house that Bugs is staying in when the hijinks ensue.  Similar to Courageous Cat, the gangster looks, sounds and acts the part of a dumbed down version of Al Capone.  Although it doesn’t carry the same morbid vibe the radio shows possessed at the time, the situation becomes rather hopelessly hilarious for the gangsters when Bugs starts messing with them.


As  I was learning and reviewing the other media forms of film Noir the first one that came to mind for me was the 1990’s movie The Shadow.  Like Batman the town is overrun with crime, the mob and appears  to be stuck in perpetual night.  The antagonist keeps his face hidden and is always encased in some sort of shadow for a majority of the movie.  In my opinion it’s a good movie and now that I’m more away of film noir I think it’s worth another review to see how it measures up to the others.

And last but certainly not least, Cowboy Bebop.  The reason why I decided to go out on a limb and suggest this is because it has the shadowy characters (both literally and metaphorically), the sense of hopelessness among many of the characters and a pretty impressive jazz number in the beginning.  What I thought was interesting was these elements are spread throughout the series and come together at the end on a dark and stormy night.


Image and video credit: Flicker, Rotten Tomatoes, youtube.




1 comment

  1. Paul

    I’m glad you brought up Cowboy Bebop. I was wondering if it might be a good example, but I haven’t seen it in so long that I wasn’t sure. The Shadow is something we’ll be looking into in the coming weeks.

    Did you get your social media accounts set up? You should make some introductions and embed them in a post. Otherwise it’s a great start.

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