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Film Noir: The Maltese falcon Essay

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Film Noir was extremely trendy during the 1940’s. People were captivated by the way it expresses a mood of disillusionment and indistinctness between good and evil. Film Noir have key elements; crime, mystery, an anti-hero, femme fatale, and chiaroscuro lighting and camera angles. The Maltese Falcon is an example of film noir because of the usage of camera angles, lighting and ominous settings, as well as sinister characters as Samuel Spade, the anti-hero on a quest for meaning, who encounters the death of his partner but does not show any signs of remorse but instead for his greed for riches.
All throughout The Maltese Falcon the camera angles change with the character. Camera angles and lighting affected the mood of the scene; scenes in which contained more mystery had additional shade and distortion of the lenses and hard lighting to create ominous shadows, among the characters. By creating depth in the scene and tilting the camera angle so that images were portrait, gave the impression of more events were taking place then actually were. Lighting was abnormal with neon lighting in the background and dull lamp light in the foreground, which in turn created it unable to get a clear picture of the situation. As well as background and foreground lighting, there was lighting that would only highlight specific objects, such as the Maltese Falcon, when it was being unwrapped. In some scenes camera angle would be slightly higher than the characters or shown through the characters eyes, the lighting would be underneath the character, not allowing the audience to see their full facial expressions. Lighting and camera angles played a huge role in creating the mystery in Film Noir.
The Maltese Falcon’s settings are dim, claustrophobic, ...


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...iminals who do what they are told, they have quick tempers and have no difficulty drawing their guns in order to kill someone. They are antagonists because they will do anything in order to get the Maltese Falcon for Spade and O’Shaughnessy.
The Maltese Falcon is Film Noir because of the usage of lighting and camera angles, as well as the gray settings. O’Shaughnessy and Spade showed many characteristics of Film Noir, by the way they acted. Spade was an anti-hero on a quest for meaning and O’Shaughnessy is femme fatale because of her sedative actions. The Maltese Falcon brought mystery to the 1940’s.





Works Cited

Anti-Hero Definition. dictionary.com. .
The Humanistic Tradition, Book 6 Modernism, Globalism and the Information Age. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2006.
The Maltese Falcon. DVD. Warner Bros., 1941.


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