My film and literature class has been focused on film noir for the past couple of weeks. We’ve broken down the elements: hard-boiled-quick dialogue, harsh light and shadow, the irresistible femme fetale… We’ve looked at the historical significance in the post-war malaise represented on screen like a well-crafted black and white photograph. I enjoy exposing my students to this genre each fall.
It’s completely over the top, of course–the swelling music, the directional conversation, the smoky interiors, the office door with the black lettering, the overwhelming sense of fatalism. But Dashiell Hammett’s classic set in San Francisco managed to captivate the imaginations of my sophomore students this evening in a way that proved Tom Cruise and Daniel Craig got NOTHIN on the bad, smooth Humphrey Bogart. And that luminous Mary Astor…I must be fair. They dug it.
I get paid for this?