A man regains consciousness in a dark rain-soaked street in a city of night. He can't remember who he is, what he has done, or how he got there. Feeling alienated he is desperate to find the answers to these questions but doesn't know who he can trust. Perhaps there is no way out - such is the world of film noir.
The term 'film noir' is a derivation of 'Roman Noir' 'Black Novel' used by the French critics of the 18th and 19th Century to describe the British Gothic novel. Specifically this film was used by french critics to describe those Hollywood films of the 1940s and early 1950s which portrayed the dark and gloomy underworld of crime and corruption. The heroes and villains in these films are cynical, disillusioned and insecure loners, bound to the past and unsure about the future.
Women also play a significant role in this category. They are femme fatales - beautiful, seductive, deadly and irresistable to men. Barbara Stanwyk's performance in Double Indemnity (1944) represents one of the most powerful and disturbing portraits of such a heroine. Bewitching Fred MacMurray with promises of possessing he sexually she ruthlessly uses him to murder her husband.
Posters for the film noir category are highly sought after by collectors and represent some of the most atmospheric and colourful examples of design in any genre.
Ten British Quads comprising The Crimson Kimono, 1959, Columbia, (A-); Bullitt, 1968, Warner Bros., (A-), two posters; Chinatown, 1974, Paramount, (A-); The Big Heat, 1953, Columbia, (A-); Slightly Scarlett, 1956, R.K.O., (A-) and five others, each - 30 x 40in. (76.2 x 101.6cm.) (11)
Collection from a private Irish cinema