The Heart of Noir

Film Noir describes many thrillers made throughout the 1940s and 1950s. Most shared elements ranging from an emphasis on the contrast between light and shadow to femme fatales and morally compromised protagonists. They were stylish, violent in tone and gripped you like a vice.

This season of films, drawn from the rich archive of the Cohen Film Collection, shows how noir influenced the British crime thriller as well as offering an earlier film, ‘Alibi’ (1929), which displays the hallmarks of later noir classics. A good place to start is ‘Sudden Fear’ (1952) a classic US noir starring Joan Crawford, Jack Palance and Gloria Grahame that plays out as a taut exercise in betrayal and conniving. Crossing the pond, in ‘Another Man’s Poison’ (1951) Bette Davis reunites with ‘Now Voyager’ (1942) director Irving Rapper for a thriller set in the north of England. Popular British actor Eric Portman is the star of ‘Wanted for Murder’ (1946) and ‘Corridor of Mirrors’ (1948), while Dirk Bogarde is a malevolent presence in ‘Cast a Dark Shadow’, and Richard Attenborough joins a gang in ‘Dancing with Crime’ (1947).