Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Video Noir

Last night, I had a most excellent time at Chicago's Movies in the Park, a summer tradition running now for ten years. There is nothing like gathering with a few thousand people in the grass of Butler Field to watch a movie that everyone loves. A few favorites from the last couple of years have included Grease and The Sound of Music (can you imagine singing do, a deer, a female deer with roughly three thousand people? It's pretty awesome.) This is just another small reason that I love living in this city. There's so much to do here and it's all free.

Last night was a film noir classic that I was familiar with (having the soundtrack to the musical of the same name), but I hadn't actually ever seen the original movie of Sunset Boulevard. This is a beautiful example of film noir at its best. Shot entirely in black and white, it is a crime drama that emphasizes "moral ambiguity and sexual motivation" to the very core. What many people also don't realize is that this movie is the origin of that famous line "All right, Mr. DeMille, I'm ready for my close-up."

The film noir genre doesn't only pertain to film. There have been plenty of videos shot in this style as well and they range in a broad spectrum of artists and styles. My mind instantly goes to this first classic from a legend in his own right, Mr. Rod Stewart. His video for Infatuation follows the film noir style to a tee.

A more recent entry close to the film noir genre is No Doubt's It's My Life. Though shot in color (and a little too closely following the plot line of Chicago), it has the early 50's crime scene drama written all over it.

Madonna is known for her outrageous and controversial videos that push the boundaries of fans and critics alike. Justify My Love, while having been banned by MTV, could also be considered in the film noir genre for its aggressive sexual nature and ambiguous sensuality.

And of course, a little bonus video for the musical theater dork in me. Here is the amazing Glenn Close in a scene from Sunset Boulevard, With One Look.