Film Noir: Dark Side of the Street module (EN22004)

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Module code


  • Level 2
  • Semester 2
  • English - School of Humanities
  • Coursework 100%
  • Thursday evening tutorial available


This module examines the development of film noir as a counter tradition within Hollywood cinema and as a product of a culture impacted by wartime and Cold War politics. The module is divided into three distinct sections. Beginning with the origins of noir we examine the influence of emigre filmmakers on the development of the noir style, engaging with German Expressionist cinema and French Poetic Realism. Progressing to Hollywood cinema the module explores some of the best films of the so-called classical period of film noir (1941-1948) and the influence of these texts on the development of 1960s and 1970s neo-noir. The module concludes with a consideration of the wider influence of film noir on cinematic culture. Organised around staff research interests we explore the relationship between film noir and the Gothic, film noir and Shakespeare (Shaxnoir) and film noir and science fiction.

Films to be studied include:

  • M (Lang,1931)
  • Le Jour se Leve (Carne, 1939)
  • The Maltese Falcon (Huston, 1941)
  • Double Indemnity (Wilder, 1944)
  • Farewell My Lovely (Dmytryk, 1944)
  • Laura (Preminger, 1944)
  • The Big Sleep (Hawks, 1946)
  • Out of the Past (Tourneur, 1947)
  • Kiss Me Deadly (Aldrich, 1955)
  • The Sweet Smell of Success (Mackendrick, 1957)
  • Touch of Evil (Welles, 1958)
  • The Long Goodbye (Altman, 1973)
  • Point Blank (Boorman, 1967)
  • Chinatown (Polanski, 1974)
  • The Night of the Hunter (Laughton, 1955)
  • Gaslight (Cukor, 1944)
  • Othello (Welles, 1952)
  • Blade Runner (Scott, 1982)


EH22003 (evening version of this module)


Dr Ana Salzberg

Teaching staff

Dr Jennifer Barnes and Dr Ana Salzberg


The module will be delivered through weekly one-hour lectures plus weekly two-hour tutorials over eleven weeks, with regular film screenings.


There are three assessed pieces of work on this module that all count towards the final module mark:

  • Essay 1 (30%)
  • Research Essay Proposal (20%)
  • Essay 2 (50%)

The resit for this module consists of coursework.


Secondary Reading:

  • Mark Bould., Film Noir: From Berlin to Sin City (London & New York: Wallflower Press, 2005)
  • Joan Copjec., Shades of Noir: a Reader (London: Verso, 1993)
  • Geiger and Rutsky., Film Analysis: A Norton Reader (W.W. Norton)
  • Foster Hirsch., The Dark Side of the Screen: Film Noir (New York: Da Capo Press, 2001)
  • Ann E Kaplan., Women in Film Noir (London: BFI Publishing, 1998)
  • Frank Krutnik., In a Lonely Street: Film Noir, Genre, Masculinity (London: Routledge, 1991) [ebray version available]
  • Jon Lewis., American Film: A History (London & New York: W.W.Norton, 2008)
  • James Naremore., More than Night: Film Noir in its Contexts (Berkeley & London: University of California Press, 1998)
  • R Barton Palmer., Perspectives on Film Noir (New York: GK Hall, 1996)
  • Robert Porfirio., Film Noir Reader 3: Interviews with Filmmakers of the Classic Noir Period (New York: Limelight Editions, 2001)
  • Ronal Schwartz., Noir, Now and Then: Film Noir Originals and Remakes 1944-1999 (London: Greenwood Press, 2001) [ebray version available]

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