Film noir has always been a world unto itself, a dark shadowy world full of cigarette smoke, booze and femme fatales. Its posters are no different. Unfortunately for us, hand drawn and painted movie posters are all but a lost art. It’s amazing the time and care that use to go into producing them. Each movie studio had their own distinct style when it came to advertising their films, which I hope comes across here. I’ve attempted to round up 10 of the best and most visually appealing along with my personal favorites. It wasn’t easy to narrow down and a lot ended up being left on the cutting room floor. Which opens up room for a sequel post….
Without further adieu:
Since we are in the midst of the Halloween season I figured I’d take a look at a more horror themed movie in today’s Pulp Corner. The movie in question is 1957’s Night Of The Demon also known as Curse Of The Demon to most U.S. audiences (which stripped away 13 minutes of footage). It’s a mix of suspense and noir which itself isn’t unique, but here it’s the overt addition of horror and the occult that really make it an interesting film.
The film stars two noir alums, Dana Andrews and Peggy Cummins. Andrews we last saw in the Pulp Corner as the detective obsessed with a dead woman, in Laura. Ms. Cummins on the other hand was the devious and angry femme fatale of Gun Crazy making up one half of the Bonnie & Clyde like duo. The masterstroke though was that this movie was in the hands of one of the greatest noir directors, Jacques Tourneur. His signature picture Out Of The Past oozes noir and atmosphere. A perfect fit for Night Of The Demon.
I’ve been shying away from reviewing a lot of the classics of the film noir genre. Part of the problem is when I sit down to watch a movie; I almost always pick one I haven’t watched before rather than an old favorite. There’s just too many movies out there I still haven’t seen. The Warner Brothers Archive released Out Of The Past on Blu-Ray for the first time a few weeks ago and I figured now was as good a time as any.
Out Of The Past is considered a classic of the genre. 1941’s The Maltese Falcon may set the guidelines but it’s Out Of The Past that defines them. It has almost every hallmark that goes into a noir. The private detective main character, the beautiful and deadly femme fatale, narration, extensive flashbacks, heavy use of shadows, hard boiled dialogue, a bleak tone and dark undercurrent pulling at the main characters. Most noir leads are doomed almost from the outset. In this case the movie begins with another hallmark of noir someone who’s reformed being visited by a figure from their shady past only to suck them back in.