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Noirvember

Learn more about the visual and narrative elements that make film noir such a distinct cinematic style this month as we celebrate #Noirvember. View these and other heavy and hard-boiled titles at go.kanopy.com/noirvember.

Kevin Sayar

Kanopy CEO

 The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
(2009) on IMDb

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

Forty years ago, Harriet Vanger disappeared from a family gathering on the island owned and inhabited by the powerful Vanger clan. Her body was never found, yet her beloved uncle is convinced it was murder and that the killer is a member of his own tightly knit but dysfunctional family. He employs disgraced financial journalist Mikael Blomkvist (Michael Nyqvist) and the tattooed and troubled but resourceful computer hacker Lisbeth Salander (Noomi Rapace) to investigate…

 Chinatown
(1974) on IMDb

Chinatown

A landmark movie in the film-noir tradition, CHINATOWN stands as a true screen classic. Jack Nicholson is private eye Jake Gittes, living off the murky moral climate of sunbaked, pre-war Southern California. Hired by a beautiful socialite (Faye Dunaway) to investigate her husband’s extra-marital affair, Gittes is swept into a maelstrom of double dealings and deadly deceits, uncovering a web of personal and political scandals that come crashing together.

 The Big Combo
(1955) on IMDb

The Big Combo

A noir classic about a police lieutenant who comes under pressure from a gang headed by a vicious thug. He is helped by the gangster’s wife, jealous at her husband’s affair with another woman, who supplies him with information to help him close the net on his foe.

 The Hitch-Hiker
(1953) on IMDb

The Hitch-Hiker

Beyond its obvious cultural significance as the only classic film noir directed by a woman (actress Ida Lupino), The Hitch-Hiker is perhaps better remembered as simply one of the most nightmarish motion pictures of the 1950s. Inspired by the true-life murder spree of Billy Cook, The Hitch-Hiker is the tension-laden saga of two men on a camping trip (Edmond O’Brien and Frank Lovejoy) who are held captive by a homicidal drifter (William Talman). He forces them, at gunpoint, to embark on a grim joyride across the Mexican desert.

 Breathless
(1960) on IMDb

Breathless

There was before Breathless, and there was after Breathless. Jean-Luc Godard burst onto the film scene in 1960 with this jazzy, free-form, and sexy homage to the American film genres that inspired him as a writer for Cahiers du cinema. With its lack of polish, surplus of attitude, anything-goes crime narrative, and effervescent young stars Jean-Paul Belmondo and Jean Seberg, Breathless helped launch the French New Wave and ensured that cinema would never be the same.

 Detour
(1945) on IMDb

Detour

From Poverty Row came a movie that, perhaps more than any other, epitomizes the dark fatalism at the heart of film noir. As he hitchhikes his way from New York to Los Angeles, a down-on-his-luck nightclub pianist finds himself with a dead body on his hands and nowhere to run–a waking nightmare that goes from bad to worse when he picks up the most vicious femme fatale in cinema history, Ann Savage’s snarling, monstrously conniving drifter Vera.

 Memento
(2000) on IMDb

Memento

Three-time Oscar nominee Christopher Nolan (Interstellar, Inception) directs this critically acclaimed mystery. Leonard (Guy Pearce) is tracking down the man who raped and murdered his wife. The difficulty, however, of locating his wife’s killer is compounded by the fact that he suffers from a rare, untreatable form of memory loss. Although he can recall details of life before his accident, Leonard cannot remember what happened fifteen minutes ago, where he’s going, or why.

 Bob le Flambeur
(1956) on IMDb

Bob le Flambeur (Bob the Gambler)

Bob has decided to give up his business in order to enjoy his hobby: gambling. However, he cannot refuse one last job proposed by a friend: to take part in an amazing raid on the Deauville casino. But that day, upon seeing the gaming rooms, a gambling table threatens to divert his attention away from the well-planned hold-up.

 Budapest Noir
(2017) on IMDb

Budapest Noir

Budapest, 1936. The Hungarian prime minister returns from Germany in a coffin, his dream of making Hungary into a fascist state snuffed out–for now. Crime reporter Zsigmond Gordon has other things on his mind. A cynic who thinks he has seen it all, a tip leads him to an unusual crime scene in a seedy part of the city – a beautiful, well-dressed young woman is dead, with only a Jewish prayer book in her purse…

 Le Samouraï
(1967) on IMDb

Le Samouraï

In a career-defining performance, Alain Delon plays a contract killer with samurai instincts. A razor-sharp cocktail of 1940s American gangster cinema and 1960s French pop culture–with a liberal dose of Japanese lone-warrior mythology–maverick director Jean-Pierre Melville’s masterpiece Le Samouraï defines cool.

 The Strange Love of Martha Ivers
(1946) on IMDb

The Strange Love of Martha Ivers Black Sunday

In this Academy Award- nominated film (Best Writing, Original Story), young Martha (Barbara Stanwyck) inadvertently causes the death of her cruel, authoritarian aunt. Martha lies to the cops, and Walter (Kirk Douglas), who saw the crime, corroborates the girl’s story. Eventually, they wed out of convenience; the meek Walter is genuinely in love, and Martha thinks that her secret is safe since she has married the one witness to her aunt’s death. However, when her childhood pal, Sam (Van Heflin), shows up, Martha knows her dark past may not stay a secret for long.

 Sudden Fear
(1952) on IMDb

Sudden Fear

In this rediscovered masterpiece of film noir, Joan Crawford plays a successful playwright who marries a mediocre actor (Jack Palance). She soon discovers that he not only married her for money but that he plans to murder her with the help of his lover (Gloria Grahame).

 Kansas City Confidential
(1952) on IMDb

Kansas City Confidential

In this noir-thriller, three convicts are contracted by a mysterious benefactor to pull a bank heist. The four men, having worn masks during the crime, are complete strangers and are anonymous to one another, but plan to meet up in Mexico to divvy up the loot.

Part of their master plan is to frame the robbery on Joe Rolfe, an ex-con himself–but little do they know, Rolfe has convinced the police of his innocence and has now been hired to catch the true culprits.

 D.O.A.
(1949) on IMDb

D.O.A. 

Frank Bigelow (Edmond O’Brien) is about to die, and he knows it. The accountant has been poisoned and has only 24 hours before the lethal concoction kills him. Determined to find out who his murderer is, Frank, with the help of his assistant and girlfriend, Paula (Pamela Britton), begins to trace back over his last steps.

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