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The Maltese Falcon, Double Indemnity, Scarlet Street, and Out of the Past: Paradigm Cases

  • Nathaniel DeyoEmail author
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Part of the Palgrave Close Readings in Film and Television book series (CRFT)

Abstract

This chapter presents a comparative analysis of four films that have often been held up as paradigmatic of film noir: The Maltese Falcon (1941, often considered the first noir film), Double Indemnity (Billy Wilder 1944), Scarlet Street (Fritz Lang 1945), and Out of the Past (Jacques Tourneur 1947). To have a stable base for comparison, in each film I focus on the scenes in which the male protagonist first meets the femme fatale figure. Working through each film/scene individually, I show that each uses this conventional story beat in very different ways and that their differences go beyond simply being variations on a single unifying theme. The chapter overall is a hinge between the conceptual/theoretical arguments of the introduction and the extended close readings of the remaining body chapters.

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of MiamiCoral GablesUSA

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