One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1A style or genre of cinematographic film marked by a mood of pessimism, fatalism, and menace. The term was originally applied (by a group of French critics) to American thriller or detective films made in the period 1944–54 and to the work of directors such as Orson Welles, Fritz Lang, and Billy Wilder.
- ‘Unlike other forms of cinema, the film noir has no paraphernalia that it can truly call its own.’
- ‘The primary moods of classic film noir were melancholy, alienation, bleakness, disillusionment, disenchantment, pessimism, ambiguity, moral corruption, evil, guilt, desperation and paranoia.’
- 1.1count noun A film marked by a mood of pessimism, fatalism, and menace.
- ‘Here are my personal favorite film noirs in some sort of vague order.’
- ‘Titles of many film noirs often reflect the nature or tone of the style and content itself.’
French, literally ‘black film’.
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