It turns out that WordPress has a coding disagreement with certain iframe embedded videos. Because of this, I invite you to follow the link to watch the video Drew Morton has newly released the penultimate installment of his encyclopediac introduction to Film Noir as a genre.
This video is a doozy, introducing a key genre concept of evolution. The four phases of the genre could apply widely, but of course Morton offers them as a way to understand how the characteristics of Film Noir came together, coalesced, and got all self-reflexive.
- Experimental: Conventions are tested and shared.
- Classical: Conventions are stable and clear.
- Refinement: Variations are added to the conventions.
- Baroque: The genre becomes self-conscious and self-reflexive.
Morton points out that the source material for early Noir came from German Expressionism and crime melodrama among other sources, that this became a thing unto itself in the 40’s, but that by the 50’s and 60’s rolled around, movements like French New Wave were already adding variation and self-reflexiveness to the genre. By the time we get to more contemporary examples–Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang comes to my mind–Film Noir shows itself as a genre through the ease at which it can be parodied and self-consciously flexed and adapted.