Review: Film Noir: Bringing Darkness to Light

This is a documentary from 2006 about classic film noir. This is very interesting with modern noir legends like Frank Miller, Christopher Nolan, and James Ellroy giving you their take on film noir. We also get some insight from the Czar of Noir, Eddie Muller and other experts of film noir.  It is a short film and in my opinion lacking a little. Sure it is entertaining and informative, but it over looks a lot! The stuff they cover, like a look at Robert Mitchum and Elisha Cook Jr. as some of the great actors of film noir is very good. They also cover Raymond Chandler slightly and discuss Philip Marlowe and how he fit into noir and film noir, which is great, but they only really cover Murder, My Sweet in this part of the film. Just to show how lacking this documentary is, neither The Big Sleep or Humphrey Bogart is mentioned in either of these sections of the film! Even after they show some footage of Cook Jr, in The Maltese Falcon with Bogart they don’t really cover Bogie. They of course have a section of the film about the femme fatale’s role in film noir, and talks about a few great actresses but doesn’t even mention Rita Hayward, Ava Gardner, or Lauren Bacall! I think this film must have run into movie rights issues. I say this because they cover a lot of RKO stuff and even though this film was distributed by Warner Home Video, it doesn’t even cover most of the Warner Bros. classics. Though Maltese Falcon, The Letter and White Heat clips show up, none are covered in-depth. I also noticed Fox and Paramount films are not covered at all.

I would say this film is still worth checking out for what it does cover and is nice to see what some of today’s noir greats think about the era. It is also a good primer for people just starting to learn about the classic film noir era. I watched this film on DVD which came with a few extras, but you can watch the film here for free.