Rockstar Recommends: A Film Noir Round Up – Part One

Posted on May 10 2011, 10:24am | Author: R* Q | Filed Under: Rockstar, Games

With only one week to go until L.A. Noire hits stores, we hope that our Rockstar Recommends series of Noir genre favorite films, books and events have helped to get you in the spirit of things over the past few months, and have turned you on to some great works that you may not have checked out before. The Film Noir canon is truly an American hallmark and with L.A. Noire’s release, we’re very proud to be contributing to it in a new way.

Today, we present part one in a last roundup of classic Noirs – all of which are paid homage directly in the game with their titles appearing on the sides of 50 lost film reels scattered across the city that you can track down as Detective Cole Phelps. Finding them all will nab you the “Hollywoodland” Achievement/Trophy.

Next week, look for part two which will cover some of the great ‘Neo-Noirs’ (films that are faithful to the conventions of the genre but take place in modern or even otherworldly settings). If you’ve got some personal favorites of your own, please drop ‘em on us in the comments area below.

The Big Sleep (1946, Dir. Howard Hawks)

Adapted from Raymond Chandler’s bestseller of the time, this is Bogey and Bacall at their finest. If you’ve ever wondered what the allure of these two was all about, this is the one to watch. Set in Los Angeles with Bogart assuming the role of Chandler’s private dick, Philip Marlowe, the story is as winding and dizzying as Noir storytelling can get, but you’ll enjoy it all the way.

Sunset Boulevard (1950, Dir. Billy Wilder)

In the heart of Hollywood, an aged and quite disturbed ex-silent-film starlet (Gloria Swanson) forges a strange relationship with a young, opportunistic screenwriter (William Holden). This piece of Grand Dame Guignol is also the film that birthed the ‘hag horror’ genre that peaked in the 60’s with movies like “Whatever Happened to Baby Jane” and “Hush, Hush, Sweet Charlotte.”

The Lady from Shanghai (1948, Dir. Orson Welles)

A landmark Noir starring legendary, international sex symbol Rita Hayworth alongside her husband at the time Orson Welles, who also directed the picture. A tale of intrigue, suspicion and betrayal that travels from New York City to an unexpected climax in San Francisco.

The Third Man (1949, Dir. Carol Reed)

This one takes the genre to post-War Vienna where an American pulp writer (Joseph Cotten) seeks out answers as to the mysterious death of an old friend who had been living there. Truly some of the most incredible Film Noir cinematography you will find – and regarded as one of the great masterpieces of cinema. Love that score too.

The Killing (1956, Dir. Stanley Kubrick)

An early Kubrick film that served as the template for future non-linear crime story moviemaking like “Pulp Fiction” – “The Killing” is an amazing movie, definitely ahead of its time. Telling the story of a band of criminals working to pull off a heist at a race track, it brings you individual perspectives from various members – including ringleader Sterling Hayden (“Crime Wave”), crooked cop Ted de Corsia (“The Naked City”) and cuckolded window teller Elisha Cook Jr (“The Maltese Falcon”).

Double Indemnity (1944, Dir. Billy Wilder)

For those of us who may have grown up more familiar with Fred McMurray as the congenial dad from ‘My Three Sons’, watching this one provides quite a shock. One of the cornerstones in the Film Noir genre, it’s got it all – scheming femme fatale temptresses, a man taken down a downward spiral of his own weakness, a clever investigator working on a hunch (Edward G. Robinson in one of his most celebrated roles) - remade in the 80’s as the sexed up “Body Heat” with Kathleen Turner and William Hurt.

Previous Rockstar Recommends:
True Crime Detective Magazines (Taschen)
Rare California-Set Films of the 13th Annual Los Angeles Festival of Film Noir
“Crime Wave” aka “The City Is Dark” | “The Naked City” | “He Walked by Night” | “Chinatown” | “Scarlet Street” | “Detour”

  • Arbitton May 12 2011, 12:23amReplyFlag
    Neo-Noir? Otherworldy settings you say? You all know what's coming...

    BLADE mutha-flippin' RUNNER!!! Lol, sorry for the enthusiasm.

    Whew, one more week left. SAVOR it!
    • thelastdiscipleon May 11 2011, 10:01amReplyFlag
      I could only assume that some neo-noir movies would be like Dark City, d**k Tracy, Who Framed Roger Rabbit? and Sin City....?
      • Veitchon May 11 2011, 8:23amReplyFlag
        As far as neo-noir goes, you can't go past The Big Lebowski. The mistaken identity, multiple parties on The Dude's case and that fantastic scene in the Malibu police station make for one of the funniest, best disguised neo-noirs around.

        Also, The Ghost Writer by Chinatown's Roman Polanski has a few obvious noir characteristics. Good movie too.
        • ElTecoloteon May 11 2011, 6:32amReplyFlag
          Great to see these, from a Neo Noir perspective I highly reccomend "Brick" one of the cleverest genre films of recent years, setting noir in a high school, with a brilliant performance by Joseph Gordon-Levitt. The scene with the headteacher that apes the classic police cheif scenes of noir is genius.
          • R* Yon May 10 2011, 4:53pmReplyFlag
            @Floppay Strong list, enjoy the remaining films

            @theautocrat @Solivagant Good picks with Chandler, Hammett and the others, just one week to go...
            • Floppayon May 10 2011, 3:45pmReplyFlag
              I've been having a film noir marathon the past week, and it shall continue until LA Noire's release.

              So far I have watched:
              Scarlet Street
              The Third Man
              Fear in the ---ht
              Chinatown (neo-noir)

              What I plan to watch this week:
              ---ht of the Hunter (to---ht)
              The Lady From Shanghai
              The Killing
              Sunset Boulevard
              Angel Heart (neo-noirish)
              The Wrong Man
              The Big Sleep
              Gun Crazy
              Key Largo
              The Woman in the Window
              The Asphalt Jungle
              and some more.

              Doubt I'll finish them all, but it's been a lot of fun so far.

              Thanks for these recommendations Rockstar.
              • theautocraton May 10 2011, 3:36pmReplyFlag
                Huge fan of Raymond Chandler. Humphrey Bogart films are awesome. Jim Thompson, Dashiell Hammett, Micky Spillane, and several others are among my favorite reads. This game has been a long time coming, in my opinion. Not sure why it hasn't been attempted before, atleast at such great effort and from what I can tell a new take on what video games can be. This is what thinking outside the box is for the industry, and this may even start a new type of interactive entertainment.

                Anyway, can't wait for this to be in my hands. Great job.
                • Solivaganton May 10 2011, 3:31pmReplyFlag
                  Thank you for showing me the first trailer of The Big Sleep. I have seen the movie and the Maltese Falcon and have read The Maltese Falcon book as well. To see Bogart going to a book shop is awesome, because he goes to one in The Big Sleep. To be looking for the Maltese Falcon is even more awesome, because he ruled the world in that movie. And then for him to read it and ponder about his problems in the Big Sleep is even MORE awesome because it means in the universe, they did a book about him.

                  I love the works of Raymond Chandler and Dashiell Hammett, and I love Rockstar Games. Thank you for making the game I couldn't do all by myself. Thank you for L.A. Noire.
                  • R* Yon May 10 2011, 1:06pmReplyFlag
                    @232785 Thanks for being a fan!

                    @ILikeVideo-Games Shoot us a message and we'll help out:
                    • Exivuson May 10 2011, 12:46pmReplyFlag
                      Rockstar, you are a gentleman and a scholar. Cannot ever wait for the things you create.
                      • ILikeVideo-Gameson May 10 2011, 12:43pmReplyFlag
                        @R* - I'm having a problem with my soical club. Everytime i change my wall settings, e.g. colour - it says "There was a problem when saving your wall customisation settings. Please try again later. Its been like this since i signed up. Thanks
                        • R* Yon May 10 2011, 12:41pmReplyFlag
                          @WenzellDerzell Nice catch, we've updated the article.
                          • ericsodhion May 10 2011, 12:23pmReplyFlag
                            i want this game on pc right now otherwise i will watch walkthrougs on you tube and then there will be no excitement left for this game then. so please tell whether it will come to pc or i may watch walkthroughs
                            • Derangeableon May 10 2011, 12:17pmReplyFlag
                              Double Indemnity and Sunset Boulevard are two absolute classics made by the same director, the incomparable Billy Wilder.
                              • rere1loveon May 10 2011, 11:58amReplyFlag
                                7 MORE DAYS!!!!!
                                • WenzellDerzellon May 10 2011, 11:58amReplyFlag
                                  Alright except this is William Hurt in Body Heat, not Jeff Bridges who featured in the otherwise excellent Against All Odds and 8 Million Ways to Die. My 3 cents.
                                  • JohnyCraneon May 10 2011, 11:42amReplyFlag
                                    I am sorry for my wrong words but i have some problems with keyboard .
                                    • R* Yon May 10 2011, 11:30amReplyFlag
                                      @Jack_MrManga @JohnyCrane Cheers & enjoy

                                      @padddy5 Nice! Great to hear you're so into the genre

                                      @ZeddExonar Yep, Double Indemnity and The Third Man are both available instantly on Netflix

                                      @trilakers Sure, we'll have some sessions when it comes back up, please continue any further discussion on the matter here:
                                      • ZeddExonaron May 10 2011, 11:22amReplyFlag
                                        So far I've watched "The Killing" and "The Naked City" since they're both on Netflix. Both were excellent films, and I can't wait to play the recreated case for The Naked City". Any of these other movies on Netflix?
                                        • JohnyCraneon May 10 2011, 11:21amReplyFlag
                                          Dear R*
                                          I notice you are deep a deep in cinematografy history .Wow sounds good and nice stuff !!!!!
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