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What does John Huston make of the Film Noir conventions in his film The

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What does John Huston make of the Film Noir conventions in his film The "Maltese Falcon" and to what effect? Film Noir is a French word which means: dark or black film. This is very fitting as Film Noir and the Maltese falcon are stories of dark deceptive people who often cannot be trusted. Film Noir is a good example of this as the story is about a detective called Sam Spade who gets dragged into the quest for the Maltese Falcon with a compulsive liar Kasper Gutman. The Maltese Falcon is a large bird made of solid gold worth millions. The main six conventions of Film Noir as I can see are The plot, lighting , dialogue, body language, stock characters and camera angles. The film is about a group of 5 people fighting to find and keep the golden jewel encrusted Maltese Falcon which was a present for King Charles 5th and is worth millions. The bird had been covered in a black layer to keep it a secret. The story runs through many twists and turns confusing each character and the viewer. We are introduced to many different characters and it is hard to remember which one is which. ...read more.


He rolls down a dusty hill into the river, you can only just see the body because it is very dark but the streetlight highlights the dust as the dead body falls to its watery grave. The dialogues of the Maltese Falcon is very confusing. Often people will speak quickly so that they come across nervous but secretly it is a ploy so that the person listening will not understand. The way the script works is very cunning and adds a feeling of disillusionment and mystery which are two of the main conventions of Film Noir. Many questions go unanswered leaving those in the film creates a convoluted plot, like this example: Sam spade: "Havant you tried to buy my loyalty with money and nothing else?" Brigid O'saughnessy: "What else can I buy you with?" Another good way that the dialogue confuses the viewer is by making the characters talk over the top of one another. This is good as most films would try to avoid this but Film Noir makes this part of the film. Talking over one another makes it virtually impossible to hear what's being said, this backs up the convoluted plot theory. ...read more.


Joel Cairo was the complete opposite. He often expressed himself through his eyes. Although more often than not, it would not be how he truly felt, this is all part of the twisting plot. The oblique camera angles in a film are very important especially in Film Noir. Many of the scenes where one person was dominating another, the shot would be taken from below the waist to make character seem bigger and threatening. This works because the larger character takes up the majority of the screen and so we automatically think of them being more dominant. Often the females would be made to look a lot smaller than the males. This made us think of the girls as innocent and helpless towards the men as they were half the size of them. As in the cases of most Film Noir this was not true but actually a carefully crafted way of fooling us when actually the females were ruling over the males. A good example of the camera angle being used to gain emotion and atmosphere is the part where Spade and Kasper are in Gutmans house and are having a conversation about the bird. The camera is placed so that it is looking up to Kasper, he looks tall and overpowering. It is at this stage we realise that he is not the good man but actually bad. ...read more.

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