Film Noir, Its Influences, and Its Legacies

Subject code


Course Number



T. Salter

Course Long Title

Film Noir, Its Influences, and Its Legacies


From private eyes, femme fatales, and criminal masterminds to byzantine plots, double crosses, and good old-fashioned nihilism, film noir has contributed much to cinematic history and contemporary film. This course considers its influences, such as pulp magazines' hardboiled fiction and German expressionism, and examines its legacies into the twenty-first century. Students question what film noir actually is: A genre? An ethos? A lighting scheme? The course also interrogates film noir's rhetorical constructions of gender, race, class, and sexuality from its heyday in the 1940s and 1950s into the present. Finally, the course considers why these films continue to be so influential. Prerequisite(s): AF/RF 162, RFSS 100, or RFSS 120.

Modes of Inquiry

Analysis and Critique [AC], Historical and Social Inquiry [HS]

Writing Credit

No writing credit

Offering Frequency

One-time offering