Monthly Archives: August 2013

Reading and Writing Assignments for 9/12/13


Write 2-3 paragraph blog post on The Maltese Falcon. Discuss the genre conventions you saw in the film as you’ve come to know them through other films you’ve seen. Also, please discuss the figure of the detective in this film and especially his relationship to those around him (policemen, criminals, femme fatales) in the film. Finally, feel free to discuss your overall impressions of the movie.


Readings for 9/12:
* Film Noir: The Trouble With Genre
* Emily Nussbaum, “Difficult Women

Maltese Falcon Conventions

As we saw in The Maltese Falcon, this movie showed a lot of the conventions of film noir that helped define the genre.  Since “noir” literally means black in French, the most important aspects are the use of black and white and striking shadows. These create the stylized look and feel as well as helps set the mood for the rest of the film. Some more apparent ones: taking place in a detective’s office with the “wild and unpredictable” smooth-talking, womanizing detective, a murder mystery ensuing, most of the main characters becoming suspects, the heavy dialogue, and added love stories. A few subtle conventions can also be seen that are built upon in later movies. For example; the use of window blind shadows, and the bright lighted/neon signs in the background at night.

While we are on the topic of conventions, I wanted to discuss the difference between conventions and clichés. Is there a difference? If so, could conventions ever become a cliché?