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1940s Film Noir (AtoZ Challenge Theme Reveal Blogfest Day 2017)

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.

1940s FILM NOIR The ‘Femme Fatale’ and the ‘Damage Hero’ fight on the ring of postwar America #AtoZChallenge Click To Tweet

Welcome to my AtoZ Challenge. I hope you’ll enjoy it.


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83 Comments

  • Mee Magnum
    Posted March 20, 2017 at 02:15

    Good luck and have fun!!

    • Post Author
      jazzfeathers
      Posted March 20, 2017 at 09:30

      Thanks Mee 🙂
      Won’t you do the challenge?

  • JOHN T SHEA
    Posted March 20, 2017 at 03:35

    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!

    • Post Author
      jazzfeathers
      Posted March 20, 2017 at 09:32

      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 🙂

  • Pamela
    Posted March 20, 2017 at 08:48

    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.

    • Post Author
      jazzfeathers
      Posted March 20, 2017 at 09:34

      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 🙂

  • Anabel
    Posted March 20, 2017 at 09:28

    Sounds amazing! Good luck and I look forward to reading your posts.

    • Post Author
      jazzfeathers
      Posted March 20, 2017 at 09:35

      I hope you’ll enjoy it, Anabel. I’ve had a lot of sun researching it 🙂

  • Ishieta@Isheeria's
    Posted March 20, 2017 at 09:42

    What a fabulous theme! I truly had never thought about it beyond the label myself. I look forward to your exploration 🙂

    • Post Author
      jazzfeathers
      Posted March 21, 2017 at 17:13

      I’ll do my best to make it intersting.
      Thanks so much for stopping by 🙂

  • Cynthia Rodrigues Manchekar
    Posted March 20, 2017 at 10:35

    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.

    • Post Author
      jazzfeathers
      Posted March 20, 2017 at 12:13

      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.

  • Sophie Duncan
    Posted March 20, 2017 at 10:43

    OO, I’m looking forward to this one 🙂 I know I’m going to learn stuff, and this genre is fab.
    Sophie
    Sophie’s Thoughts & Fumbles

    • Post Author
      jazzfeathers
      Posted March 20, 2017 at 12:14

      It is a very fascinating genre, and a lot more conplex than it may appear at first glance.

  • Sara C. Snider
    Posted March 20, 2017 at 12:46

    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!

    • Post Author
      jazzfeathers
      Posted March 20, 2017 at 15:57

      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!

  • Arlee Bird
    Posted March 20, 2017 at 14:43

    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.

    Arlee Bird
    Tossing It Out Theme Revieal: It’s About Time

    • Post Author
      jazzfeathers
      Posted March 20, 2017 at 16:00

      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 😉

  • Tarkabarka
    Posted March 20, 2017 at 15:31

    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 🙂
    Cheers!

    • Post Author
      jazzfeathers
      Posted March 20, 2017 at 16:02

      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
    Posted March 20, 2017 at 15:38

    Awesome theme choice, Sarah! This should be very interesting. I look forward to it!
    Perspectives at Life & Faith in Caneyhead #AtoZChallenge

    • Post Author
      jazzfeathers
      Posted March 20, 2017 at 16:04

      Thanks Barbara. It was a blast to research. Hope I’ll be able to pass on to you the same fascination I’ve experienced.

  • Melissa Ann
    Posted March 20, 2017 at 16:45

    Sounds like a great theme. Melissa @ My Creatively Random Life

    • Post Author
      jazzfeathers
      Posted March 20, 2017 at 21:15

      Thanks Melissa 🙂
      I like your bookish theme too.

  • Mary Burris
    Posted March 20, 2017 at 16:59

    OH! I think I’m going to really enjoy this theme. It sounds so intriguing.

    ~Mary
    Jingle Jangle Jungle

    • Post Author
      jazzfeathers
      Posted March 20, 2017 at 21:16

      I hope you’ll like it, Mary. I know I’ll love your theme: 1970s music? Yes please 🙂

  • Laura Roberts
    Posted March 20, 2017 at 17:26

    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. 🙂

    • Post Author
      jazzfeathers
      Posted March 20, 2017 at 21:21

      There’s something about film noir, isn’t there? 😉

      Love your theme too, by the way. A job can be cool. I know that 😉

  • Megan Morgan
    Posted March 20, 2017 at 18:52

    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.

    • Post Author
      jazzfeathers
      Posted March 20, 2017 at 21:23

      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 😉

  • Deborah Weber
    Posted March 20, 2017 at 19:11

    I love film noir and can’t wait to follow your posts.

    • Post Author
      jazzfeathers
      Posted March 20, 2017 at 21:27

      Hope you’ll find the journey worthwile, Deborah.
      You have a fantastic theme. I love positive people 😉

  • Carrie-Anne
    Posted March 20, 2017 at 19:57

    That sounds like a really information-packed theme! I’ll be interested to see what kinds of topics you cover.

    • Post Author
      jazzfeathers
      Posted March 20, 2017 at 21:29

      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.

  • Martha Reynolds
    Posted March 20, 2017 at 22:12

    Oh, won’t this be fun! Looking forward to your posts.

    • Post Author
      jazzfeathers
      Posted March 21, 2017 at 08:03

      And I can’t wait to read yours! Brodaway musical. Oh my!!!! 🙂

  • Raesquiggles
    Posted March 20, 2017 at 22:53

    I’m going to love learning all about film noir. Thank you.

    • Post Author
      jazzfeathers
      Posted March 21, 2017 at 08:08

      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 🙂

  • Jacqui
    Posted March 21, 2017 at 01:20

    This is a topic I don’t know a lot about. I’m looking forward to your daily posts!

    • Post Author
      jazzfeathers
      Posted March 21, 2017 at 08:09

      I hop eyou’ll enjoy it.
      I know I’ll enjoy your theme about literary genre. Quite a different one too 🙂

  • J.Gi Federizo
    Posted March 21, 2017 at 01:34

    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!!!

    • Post Author
      jazzfeathers
      Posted March 21, 2017 at 08:10

      Thanks so much for signing up. I hope you’ll enjoy the ebook… and the challenge 😉

      Your theme abotu writing got me all curious.

  • Yolanda Renee
    Posted March 21, 2017 at 02:22

    Love it! I’m a sucker for Noir!
    The Femme Fatale – a favorite!

    • Post Author
      jazzfeathers
      Posted March 21, 2017 at 17:36

      I hope you’ll find it interesting, Yolanda.
      Thanks for stopping by 🙂

  • Margot Kinberg
    Posted March 21, 2017 at 02:53

    Oh, what an interesting topic! It really sounds fascinating, and I’m very much looking forward to what you’ll do with it!

    • Post Author
      jazzfeathers
      Posted March 21, 2017 at 08:11

      Margot, I had a feeling that you might enjoy this 😉

  • CD Gallant-King
    Posted March 21, 2017 at 03:39

    Oh, this looks exciting. Love me some old black & white talkies! 🙂

    • Post Author
      jazzfeathers
      Posted March 21, 2017 at 08:13

      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 😉

  • Dena Pawling
    Posted March 21, 2017 at 04:01

    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.
    https://denapawling.blogspot.com/2017/03/a-to-z-challenge-theme-reveal.html

    • Post Author
      jazzfeathers
      Posted March 21, 2017 at 08:15

      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 🙂

  • Evelyn Dortch
    Posted March 21, 2017 at 04:04

    I really love this theme

    • Post Author
      jazzfeathers
      Posted March 21, 2017 at 08:20

      Welcome to the challenge, Evelyn. I’m sure you’ll have a lot of fun 🙂

  • Cheryl
    Posted March 21, 2017 at 05:46

    Ooo! Very cool! Can’t wait to see what you write! I love old movies.

    Calen~
    Impromptu Promptlings

    • Post Author
      jazzfeathers
      Posted March 21, 2017 at 08:22

      I hope you’ll enjoy it. Thanks so much for stopping by 🙂

  • Nick Wilford
    Posted March 21, 2017 at 08:59

    This sounds fascinating, as I really don’t know a lot about this subject. See you around in April!

    • Post Author
      jazzfeathers
      Posted March 21, 2017 at 17:38

      And what about your own story. Black&White. Maybe because of my theme, I immediately thought to something noir 😉

  • Michelle Wallace
    Posted March 21, 2017 at 09:01

    Hi Sarah!
    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!

    • Post Author
      jazzfeathers
      Posted March 21, 2017 at 17:42

      I’ll see you around, Michelle. I love your positive theme 🙂

  • SHALINI BAISIWALA
    Posted March 21, 2017 at 11:36

    Cheers to your third year; mine is first! All the best and I hope to retuen to dig into the film noir!
    Cheers
    shalzmojo

    • Post Author
      jazzfeathers
      Posted March 21, 2017 at 17:50

      Welcome to the challenge, Shalini. I’m sure you’ll enjoy this journey too 😉

  • Shalini
    Posted March 21, 2017 at 12:01

    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

    • Post Author
      jazzfeathers
      Posted March 21, 2017 at 17:51

      And I’m sure I’ll learn lots of new dishes from you. I adore experimenting in the kitchen 😉

  • Debbie D.
    Posted March 21, 2017 at 13:16

    Love your theme! I’m a classic movie buff and look forward to your entries. Happy A to Z-ing!

    • Post Author
      jazzfeathers
      Posted March 21, 2017 at 17:57

      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.

  • Sreesha
    Posted March 21, 2017 at 15:57

    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 🙂

    • Post Author
      jazzfeathers
      Posted March 21, 2017 at 18:00

      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! 😉

  • Roland Clarke
    Posted March 21, 2017 at 19:22

    Wonderful theme and I love film noir classics. I’ll be interested to see how many I recognise.

  • Kalpanaa
    Posted March 22, 2017 at 06:00

    This looks like a fabulous theme. Looking forward to it. All the best for the Challenge.

    • Post Author
      jazzfeathers
      Posted March 22, 2017 at 07:43

      Have a fantastic challenge you too. And thanks so much for stopping by 🙂

  • Stephanie Bird
    Posted March 22, 2017 at 13:45

    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.

    • Post Author
      jazzfeathers
      Posted March 22, 2017 at 16:42

      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.

  • John Holton
    Posted March 23, 2017 at 01:39

    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.

    • Post Author
      jazzfeathers
      Posted March 23, 2017 at 09:47

      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 😉

  • Medha Nagur
    Posted March 23, 2017 at 02:27

    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!

    • Post Author
      jazzfeathers
      Posted March 23, 2017 at 09:55

      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!

  • Teagan
    Posted March 24, 2017 at 14:37

    Good luck, Sarah. That’s quite a challenge — a whole lot of blogging. I’m sure you can do it. Huge hugs!

    • Post Author
      jazzfeathers
      Posted March 27, 2017 at 17:47

      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 🙂

  • Jemima Pett
    Posted March 27, 2017 at 00:18

    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!!
    Jemima

    • Post Author
      jazzfeathers
      Posted March 27, 2017 at 17:49

      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 😉

  • Tasha Duncan-Drake
    Posted March 31, 2017 at 13:17

    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
    Tasha’s Thinkings – Shapeshifters and Werewolves

  • Kumar Kinshuk
    Posted March 28, 2021 at 06:34

    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!

    • Post Author
      jazzfeathers
      Posted March 28, 2021 at 09:33

      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 😉

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