And so here we go again! This is the third year I attempt the AtoZ Challenge and hope everything goes as it should!
For those who don’t know, the AtoZ Challenge is a blogging challenge taking place in April where participants blog every day except Sunday, moving along the alphabet. On the first of April, we’ll blog about something ‘A’, on the second about something ‘B’ and so on.
If someone wants, these posts can be linked not just by the alphabet, but also by a theme.
I learned about the challenge soon after I created my blog in 2014, too late to participate, but I took part in both 2015 and 2016 and had a ton of fun. Sure there will be people telling you it is stressing. It does take time and effort, I won’t deny it, but I’ve met so many wonderful people and blogs during the challenge that a bit of work really isn’t all that bothersome.
My themes so far were:
2015 – The Roaring Twenties
2016 – Jazz Age Jazz: early jazz as a social phenomenon
For this year’s challenge I’ve decided to step away from my usual 1920s subjects and do something a bit darker.
Enter my theme!
1940s FILM NOIR
The ‘Femme Fatale’ and the ‘Damage Hero’ fight on the ring of postwar America
Everyone knows a film noir when they see it, right? It is something so characteristic and so ingrained in our aesthetic sense that we don’t even think about it.
Still, film noir is one of the most slippery, blurry, ethereal subjects of the film industry. Nobody can even agree on what exactly film noir is. And to make things worse, no director, in the classic time of film noir, ever decided to make a ‘film noir’ since the concept didn’t even exist back then.
The term film noir was coined in France, after WWII, when many Hollywood films finally arrived in Europe. French critics noticed a new trend in the American crime films: they were grittier, dirtier, more disillusioned and generally more pessimistic than Hollywood films ever used to be. These critics noted a trend that seemed to have spontaneously emerged in Hollywood during the war and termed it ‘film noir’ (literary ‘black film’), creating a concept that previously hadn’t existed.
If film noir was never a goal or a guide for any of the filmmakers who made those films, its inspiration did arise from a very specific historical and social situation engendered by the war. Film noir tells of anxiety, of uncertainties, of shifting roles and lost morals, of people who can’t cope with society and often act against it, because society can’t offer what they need.
The world of film noir is marked by a World War that has destroyed everything before anything is reconstructed. It’s a world of immigrants, scant means, personal resourcefulness and dark lances.
In these films, the world of men damaged by the war is in stark contrast with the world of women who the war has empowered. The film noir femme fatale is a powerful, wilful woman who knows exactly what she wants and how to get it, a fascinating but unsolvable problem for a hero that is instead confused and wounded.
And here, in the unresolved ground of the unmatchable differences between men and women is where the anxiety of an entire era emerges. To the damaged hero of film noirs, the femme fatale is the unknown, inscrutable future.
Welcome to my AtoZ Challenge. I hope you’ll enjoy it.
A – America
B – Berlin
C – Chiaroscuro
D – Damaged Hero
E – Expressionism
F – Femme Fatale
G – Genre
H – Hard Boiled
I – Innuendo
J – Jazz
K – Killers
L – Law
M – Masculinity
N – Neo Noir
O – Obsession
P – Psychoanalysis
Q – Quotes
R – Resourcefulness
S – Suspense
T – Transgression
U – Urban Setting
V – Veterans
W – World War II
X – Xenos
Y – Years 1940s
Z – Zeitgeist
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The book is not currently on Amazon but is available for Kindle via my site
Good luck and have fun!!
Thanks Mee 🙂
Won’t you do the challenge?
JOHN T SHEA
It’s interesting to compare those dark gritty movies made after WW2, a time of great American optimism and prosperity compared with other countries and with 1930s Depression era USA, with the mostly colorful and optimistic US movies of the 1930s, a paradoxical reversal. Cold War anxieties probably contributed too, notably in the late (1955) movie of Mickey Spillane’s KISS ME DEADLY with its horrifying radioactive latter-day Pandora’s Box.
Best of luck with the A to Z Challenge, Sarah!
Thanks John. It is a fascinating subject. Film noir says so much about American 1940s culture (and to some extent, Western culture at large).
I hope you’ll enjoy it 🙂
I used to love watching these films so this is going to bring back lots of memories and will be interesting to see what films you choose. Enjoy april.
I used to watch lots of film noir when I was a girl. They aired very often on TV. Not anymore, unfortunatelly.
But they have remained in me. I think lots of what I write comes from these black and white films. And when I started studing them as a social phenomenon, I’ve discovered they’re even more fascinating 🙂
Sounds amazing! Good luck and I look forward to reading your posts.
I hope you’ll enjoy it, Anabel. I’ve had a lot of sun researching it 🙂
What a fabulous theme! I truly had never thought about it beyond the label myself. I look forward to your exploration 🙂
I’ll do my best to make it intersting.
Thanks so much for stopping by 🙂
Cynthia Rodrigues Manchekar
While I’m not too familiar with film noir, I’ve seen stray examples of the archetypes that you refer to, the damage hero and the femme fatale. They are both character types that didn’t really buy into the moral codes that were followed then. Or so I imagine.
I look forward to learning more. See you through the Challenge.
The history of film noir relation to the time period it was born into is absolutely fascinating. I hope to be able to adequately discuss about it.
OO, I’m looking forward to this one 🙂 I know I’m going to learn stuff, and this genre is fab.
Sophie’s Thoughts & Fumbles
It is a very fascinating genre, and a lot more conplex than it may appear at first glance.
Sara C. Snider
You always have such interesting themes! I’ve only ever had a shaky understanding of what “noir” is, both in regards to films and books, so this will be great to learn about. You’ve already piqued my interest with your introduction! Looking forward to it. Best of luck with the challenge!
Although I’ve always beed fascinated by these film, which I used to watch when I was a kid, studying their history and social meaning has opened a world to me.
I hope you’ll enjoy this journey as much as I did.
But let me tell you that your theme is fascinating too: the magical and healing properties of herbs. Absolutely fantastic!
Welcome back to another Alphabet April. You’ll be covering a great topic that is dear to me. Much of my film viewing these days is film noir. Let’s face it, they don’t make great movies like they used to.
Your theme sounds like great fun. Have an excellent Challenge.
Tossing It Out Theme Revieal: It’s About Time
I have to agree. Studying film noir in a more accademic way made me think that there was something more about those films than there seem to be these days. A subtext that I find it hard to see in today’s productions.
But hey, maybe in 50 years people will see a lot in today’s production as well 😉
Has it only been three years?! I feel like I learned so much from you…
Great theme, as usual! I am looking forward to it! I have never really much gotten into film noir, so it will be all kinds of new discoveries for me 🙂
Thanks! I’m so happy you like my theme. It was fascinating to research, so I hope I’ll be able to pass on that fascination to you, too 🙂
Love your theme by the way. That’s such an unusual theme, and I love that you’ll be exploring less known themes of fairy tales.
Barbara In Caneyhead
Awesome theme choice, Sarah! This should be very interesting. I look forward to it!
Perspectives at Life & Faith in Caneyhead #AtoZChallenge
Thanks Barbara. It was a blast to research. Hope I’ll be able to pass on to you the same fascination I’ve experienced.
Sounds like a great theme. Melissa @ My Creatively Random Life
Thanks Melissa 🙂
I like your bookish theme too.
OH! I think I’m going to really enjoy this theme. It sounds so intriguing.
Jingle Jangle Jungle
I hope you’ll like it, Mary. I know I’ll love your theme: 1970s music? Yes please 🙂
Great theme! I love noir movies, and have been renting a bunch from my local library. I’ll be excited to follow along with you again this year. 🙂
There’s something about film noir, isn’t there? 😉
Love your theme too, by the way. A job can be cool. I know that 😉
Oooh, this should be interesting! I don’t know a lot about film noir but I used to know a guy who was an aspiring filmmaker and he LOVED film noir.
Hi Megan. I hope you’ll like it. It was a very very interesting journey for me.
And I’m looking forward to read all the reason why a sane person should never want to be a writer 😉
I love film noir and can’t wait to follow your posts.
Hope you’ll find the journey worthwile, Deborah.
You have a fantastic theme. I love positive people 😉
That sounds like a really information-packed theme! I’ll be interested to see what kinds of topics you cover.
Ah, you know me. What I like the most is nosing around in people’s life and ideas, so expect a lot fo this 😉
I can’t wait to read your post about Greek Mythology. That’s one of my very first love in life.
Oh, won’t this be fun! Looking forward to your posts.
And I can’t wait to read yours! Brodaway musical. Oh my!!!! 🙂
I’m going to love learning all about film noir. Thank you.
I really enjoyed learning about the subject. There’s more social history in it than one might suspect.
Love your history theme too. Can’t wait to read your posts 🙂
This is a topic I don’t know a lot about. I’m looking forward to your daily posts!
I hop eyou’ll enjoy it.
I know I’ll enjoy your theme about literary genre. Quite a different one too 🙂
WOW…Your revelation alone already taught me something. Quite informative! I’ll be following your posts, for sure 🙂 (Oh, and I signed up for the e-book, he he)
Keep on writing and blogging!!!
Thanks so much for signing up. I hope you’ll enjoy the ebook… and the challenge 😉
Your theme abotu writing got me all curious.
Love it! I’m a sucker for Noir!
The Femme Fatale – a favorite!
I hope you’ll find it interesting, Yolanda.
Thanks for stopping by 🙂
Oh, what an interesting topic! It really sounds fascinating, and I’m very much looking forward to what you’ll do with it!
Margot, I had a feeling that you might enjoy this 😉
Oh, this looks exciting. Love me some old black & white talkies! 🙂
I hope you’ll enjoy it.
I can’t wait to read about Canada history… especially the way you’re presenting it. Weird history is the best 😉
This is my third year too! I’m looking forward to learning about 26 films that qualify as 1940s film noir. Great and unique topic.
Well, Dana, talking about unique themes, yours is one of the most unique I’ve found. History through the cases of the Supreme Court. Can’t wait to read more 🙂
I really love this theme
Welcome to the challenge, Evelyn. I’m sure you’ll have a lot of fun 🙂
Ooo! Very cool! Can’t wait to see what you write! I love old movies.
I hope you’ll enjoy it. Thanks so much for stopping by 🙂
This sounds fascinating, as I really don’t know a lot about this subject. See you around in April!
And what about your own story. Black&White. Maybe because of my theme, I immediately thought to something noir 😉
The A to Z is stressful and DOES take time and effort. So right. But looking beyond that, it’s a fantastic networking opportunity too.
With regards to your theme, it’s a topic that I don’t know too much about. Your challenge will be very interesting and probably highly informative to somebody like me.
Thanks for visiting my blog.
I’ll see you around on the A to Z circuit!
I’ll see you around, Michelle. I love your positive theme 🙂
Cheers to your third year; mine is first! All the best and I hope to retuen to dig into the film noir!
Welcome to the challenge, Shalini. I’m sure you’ll enjoy this journey too 😉
Woo.. that’s a fab theme! I will get to learn a lot from this genre. Count me in. Happy A to Z 🙂
Sawasdee Thailand at Kohl Eyed Me
Indian Dishes at Something’s Cooking
And I’m sure I’ll learn lots of new dishes from you. I adore experimenting in the kitchen 😉
Love your theme! I’m a classic movie buff and look forward to your entries. Happy A to Z-ing!
That sounds intimidating. I hope I’ll make this interesting enough for an expert 😉
Your theme sounds awesome. Music and the memories it brings back. Can’t wait to read more about it.
You’re so right about Noir being a slippery concept. Interesting to know it was called black film, because if anything, I’d classify it as grey, don’t you think so?
I look forward to your posts! Cheers and good luck 🙂
Well, personally I think ‘black’ fits well enough, considering the dark atmosphere most of these films have. And the subject matters! In spite of the Heys Code, these films managed to be creepy. They were geniouses!
Hey, you’re wtriting stories for the challenge. Let’s read them! 😉
Wonderful theme and I love film noir classics. I’ll be interested to see how many I recognise.
Thanks Roland. Love your theme too 🙂
This looks like a fabulous theme. Looking forward to it. All the best for the Challenge.
Have a fantastic challenge you too. And thanks so much for stopping by 🙂
I loved your previous A to Z Challenge posts and look forward to your 1940 Film Noir theme. I have a lot to learn about your very concise topic.
Hi Stephanie, so happy to see you back 🙂
And let me tell you that your theme of African Proverbs is absolutely fascinating. I love popular wisdom. Can’t wait to it.
If your entries this year are as good as they were last year, they’ll be a fantastic read. Will look forward to seeing what you do.
Aww, thanks for the nice words, John. I’m very excited about this theme, I hope I’ll do it justice.
Your theme sounds something very unique 😉
Oh when you pick such a fabulous theme you are bound to enjoy it. As you said a little bit of extra work should be bothersome when so much pun is at store.
Would love to keep up with your posts all through the challenge. Really what good movies were those as compared to today’s!
Let’s do this, Madha!!!
I really like your theme too and I can’t wait to see how it will shape up. Positivity: a great one!
Good luck, Sarah. That’s quite a challenge — a whole lot of blogging. I’m sure you can do it. Huge hugs!
Thanks Teagan. It is a great undergoing, I can tell you. But it’s also such fun. And I’m Learning so much form my theme. I love this 🙂
I’m looking forward to this. I love writing in a noir style. I should really know a lot more about the genre. A lot more!!
It’s a very fascinating subject. I hope my posts will be useful.
Translating film noir into noir storytelling would be its own challange, I believe. Well, maybe some other year 😉
I very much look forward to reading your theme – I always learn so much from your posts 🙂
Sorry it took me so long to respond to your comment on my theme reveal – I’ve been catching up after hols.
Tasha’s Thinkings – Shapeshifters and Werewolves
Hi, it was lovely reading your blog! A similar thing has happened in Bollywood movies as well. It happened 1970s onwards with Angry Young Men combating villains and sensuous Women sashaying the ramp. I guess even fiction has undergone a similar movement with grittier and darker mystery novels finding their way into readers hands. My blog here talks about mystery novels and the how to do it right. Thanks!
Hi Kumar, and thatnks so much for stopping by.
It’s so interesting to see how similar evolutions happened at different times in different parts of the world.
I don’t think I’d never be able to write a mystery, but I love reading them.
I’m heading over to your blog 😉