Genre flick factory!
January 24, 2008 9:43 AM   Subscribe

Has anyone ever attempted to estimate the total number of films made in Hollywood that we today consider film noir? What about other long-lived genres of the high era of the silver screen?

In particular, I am curious about the output within genres over the period beginning with sound and ending with the transition to color around 1955 to 1960. I have been on a film noir kick and the perfection of the genre look and plot is simply fascinating to me. The films I'm really interested in are mid-budget studio-system films that were probably shot within a 30-day or less timeframe.
posted by mwhybark to Media & Arts (6 answers total)
I don't think it pretends to be comprehensive, but if you're mostly looking for a checklist, I know where I would start....
posted by kimota at 10:23 AM on January 24, 2008

There are lots of books on Amazon that purport to be complete academic rundowns of noir. The first hit looks to me to be pretty good.

I remember picking one up in college that was poorly written with errors of fact that contained a long list of noirs from the period 1939-1962. Sadly, I can't remember which book it was, so I can't warn you away from it.
posted by infinitewindow at 10:35 AM on January 24, 2008

The "women's picture" melodramas, like those of Douglas Sirk, were a really neatly defined genre that flourished in that period. Sirk had a very interesting style that often supplied subtle and powerful social and emotional pressure on his characters through framing. Parallels to noir conventions are certainly apt.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 11:03 AM on January 24, 2008

The local Public Radio station recently had an interview with Eddie Muller, founder and president of the Film Noir Foundation, which sponsors the annual Noir City film festival in SF. I don't remember the exact quote, but he said something to the effect that the archiving back in the 40's and 50's was so bad that a lot of films simply disappeared, and only dedicated research is responsible for rediscovering the films we have. (barring famous films like Double Indemnity")

You can listen to the interview by following the link above. I think the interviewee also has a book out.

posted by lekvar at 11:27 AM on January 24, 2008

The Seventh Victim - bit before your span (1943), but it’s pretty much the precursor for a lot of film noir camera work. Often overlooked.
You might want to use that as a guide however, follow the films that were influenced by it to keep a clean path of really noirish film noir.
posted by Smedleyman at 2:14 PM on January 24, 2008

IMDb. You can choose which genre you want to look at. I'm fairly certain you can choose date ranges too. Also, you should look at these charts.
posted by nushustu at 7:18 AM on January 25, 2008

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