Dark Passages

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Least Wanted—Film Noir’s Character Actors: Thelma Ritter

Dark Passages

Least Wanted—Film Noir’s Character Actors: Thelma Ritter

Supporting roles bring potent flavor to classic Hollywood’s darkest genre. In the first installment of a series, Imogen Sara Smith pays tribute to the queen of character actors: Thelma Ritter.

By Imogen Sara Smith

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The Beautiful Crimes of Henri Decaë

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The Beautiful Crimes of Henri Decaë

In her latest column, critic Imogen Sara Smith explains how cinematographer Henri Decaë brought a risk-taking spirit and seductive allure to some of the most iconic French crime films.

By Imogen Sara Smith

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Fatal Women and the Fate of Women

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Fatal Women and the Fate of Women

What is the defining characteristic of the femme fatale? Critic Imogen Sara Smith explores the range of this film noir archetype through a handful of classic performances.

By Imogen Sara Smith

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Tough and Not-So-Tough Guys

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Tough and Not-So-Tough Guys

What defines noir acting? In her latest Dark Passages column, Imogen Sara Smith examines the stylistic variety in some of the genre’s most iconic male performances, including Burt Lancaster in The Killers and Ralph Meeker in Kiss Me Deadly.

The Devil in the Details

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The Devil in the Details

To make the performance of a tedious, exacting, time-consuming task riveting to watch, it is only necessary for the activity to be illegal.

By Imogen Sara Smith

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Exile at Home

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Exile at Home

Imogen Sara Smith examines the tensions between tradition and modernity reflected in two silent crime films by Yasujiro Ozu and Tomu Uchida.

By Imogen Sara Smith

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Noir on the Range

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Noir on the Range

In her latest column, critic Imogen Sara Smith explores landmark moments in the intersection of noir and the western, including Marlon Brando’s One-Eyed Jacks.

By Imogen Sara Smith

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What’s in a Name

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What’s in a Name

If you consider noir as a global phenomenon, then films like Julien Duvivier’s Pépé le moko (1937), Jean Renoir’s La bête humaine (1938), and Carné’s Port of Shadows (1938) may be the first full harvest of this bitter crop.

By Imogen Sara Smith

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Is The Red Shoes a Film Noir?

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Is The Red Shoes a Film Noir?

While considered to lie outside the highly policed boundaries of film noir, films like Douglas Sirk’s Written on the Wind and Powell and Pressburger’s The Red Shoes nevertheless share many of noir’s stylistic and thematic tropes.

By Imogen Sara Smith

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