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Author Topic: A Film Noir list of Archetypes & Iconic Characters  (Read 9854 times)
cigar joe
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« on: April 17, 2011, 04:08:10 AM »

For shits & giggles lets go:

A Film Noir list of Archetypes & Iconic Characters

Archetypes:

The Night darkness always preferable to daylight.

The City a city or town or industrialized landscape almost always preferable to the country.

Neon-signage all forms all sizes preferably lit, preferably blinking, buzzing, and a plus if a letter or two are out.

Bare Incandescent  Light Bulbs either interior or exterior, screwed into a plain ceiling fixture, a plus if it has a pull chain or is hanging from a cord, or if exterior has a conduit arm straight or hooked at end with a plain or scalloped reflecting cone shield.

Luminaires Usually of Cast Iron, incandescent street lights in various shapes and styles example the New York City "Bishop's Crook" or the Los Angeles "Dual System",  and the very familiar concrete single globe CD 803 of Los Angeles . No galvanized poles or mercury vapor.

Noir Lighting Shadows created by elimination of fill lighting on actors faces, or by key light positioned to the left or right and occasionally below rather than in front of actors.

Automobiles Usually post 1934 to approximately 1960. Beginning 1934 streamlining was incorporated into auto design resulting in a more rounded look, with sloping windshields, headlights embedded into fenders, elimination of running boards. The 60's brought a more angular boxy look.

The Fedora A staple, characters without a fedora hat look naked, if fact I would go as far to say its a must for any Noir

Cigarettes Unfiltered, in packs, out of fancy cigarette silver/gold personalized cases, or ornate boxes on coffee tables used in a variety of ways. Bummed to strike up a conversation, two lit and one offered to a pretty girl, displayed as numerous crushed butts in an ash tray or on the pavement to indicate the passage of time. Smeared with lipstick to reveal the gender of the smoker. Smoked straight or in plain or ornate holders.

Lighters used to light cigarettes, again bummed, or offered, and also chivalrously used to light a woman's cigarette and as an extension to for introductions. Flame from lighter also used to real characters faces.

Smoke from cigarettes, gives a dreamy atmosphere to various establishments. Smoke blown into a characters face indicates contempt or anger.

Fog used to obscure, both symbolically and literally, motives, characters, objects.

Coffee the ubiquitous cup of coffee, a pick-me-up, a communal focal point for locals, a cheap date offer, a compliment to a cigarette.

Dutch Angel a cinematic tactic often used to portray the psychological uneasiness or tension in the subject being filmed. A Dutch angle is achieved by tilting the camera off to the side so that the shot is composed with the horizon at an angle to the bottom of the frame. Many Dutch angles are static shots at an obscure angle, but in a moving Dutch angle shot the camera can pivot, pan or track along the director/cinematographer's established diagonal axis for the shot.

Voice Over first person narations usually of the main character either narrating thoughts or events unfolding in real time or in flashback.

Quote
Wet Pavement/Rain
gives everything, streets, sidewalks, buildings, vehicles, a reflective quality.

we'll add more.....

Iconic Characters:

The Private Detective Gumshoe, Private Investigator (P.I.) Shamus, Private Eye, Private Dick, usually a loner hired to solve some problem that client wants to keep secret, who is at odds with official police investigations but who occasionally works with the police through a friend or acquaintance.

Police Detective/Official Official Investigator, Police/FBI/Inspector assigned to a case.

The Loner an individual, a drifter, usually a man sometimes a woman who enters a town or city to try and start a new life occasionally the character returns from the towns past.

The Boxer either an up and coming fighter,  a 3 time looser trying to make a comeback, or a long in the tooth boxer wanting to make one last payoff.

Add more......

« Last Edit: May 24, 2011, 04:23:06 AM by cigar joe » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: April 24, 2011, 05:52:53 PM »

You nailed most of the them. I can't even think of any off the top of my head.


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« Reply #2 on: April 24, 2011, 06:10:18 PM »

You nailed most of the them. I can't even think of any off the top of my head.



I didn't add any of the women, the wife, the Femme Fatale, or the "Good Girl" yet, or any guns, or any of the usual business establishments you find in noir, there is plenty room for you to add.

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« Reply #3 on: April 25, 2011, 11:21:12 AM »

Coffee? Cigarettes?

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« Reply #4 on: April 25, 2011, 03:37:20 PM »

Coffee? Cigarettes?

There you go, that is the spirit.  Afro

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« Reply #5 on: April 27, 2011, 04:28:30 AM »

Added Cigarettes, Lighters, Smoke,  Afro

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« Reply #6 on: April 27, 2011, 06:25:45 AM »

Wet pavement? Dutch angles?

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« Reply #7 on: April 27, 2011, 09:40:57 AM »

Wet pavement? Dutch angles?

Lots to go, you know you can copy & paste and add the extras also,  Wink

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« Reply #8 on: April 27, 2011, 11:36:46 AM »

Here's an essential one: Flashbacks and V.O. Narration.

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« Reply #9 on: April 27, 2011, 12:29:36 PM »

I didn't add any of the women, the wife, the Femme Fatale, or the "Good Girl" yet, or any guns, or any of the usual business establishments you find in noir, there is plenty room for you to add.

*Insert sexist joke about females not mattering*

I was over tired when I made the post and wanted to bump your thread for you haha.

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