How well do you know the film noir genre of the '50s and '60s?

By: Maria Trimarchi
Image: thdb

About This Quiz

"This is Sunset Boulevard, Los Angeles, California. It's about 5 o'clock in the morning. That's the Homicide Squad, complete with detectives and newspapermen," begins Billy Wilder's "Sunset Boulevard." "Let's go back about six months and find the day when it all started." And let's find out how much you know about those dark, cynical streets. Oh, and be sure to keep the coffee hot.

A then-unknown Marilyn Monroe appeared as the mistress of a corrupt lawyer in which John Huston film?

A then-unknown Marilyn Monroe appeared in John Huston's film "The Asphalt Jungle."

Which 1950 Bonnie and Clyde-style film developed a cult following in the '70s?

"Gun Crazy," a story about doomed couple Bart Tare and Annie Laurie Starr's crime spree, gained cult following in the 1970s.

"Pulp Fiction" wasn't the first film with a briefcase that lit up. Which film, starring Cloris Leachman as a hitchhiker in one of her first roles, used that "light" luggage almost 40 years earlier?

Director Robert Aldrich used this visual in his 1955 film "Kiss Me Deadly."

What does "Preacher" Harry Powell have tattooed on his knuckles, in "The Night of the Hunter?"

The "Preacher" Harry Powell character has LOVE on his right hand and HATE on his left, in "The Night of the Hunter."

In the opening sequence of the 1950 film "D.O.A.," a man stumbles into a police station to report what?

In the opening sequence of "D.O.A.," Frank Bigelow goes to the police station to report his own murder.

What does "film noir" mean?

"Film noir" means "black cinema" (noir means black in French). It was coined by Nino Frank in 1946 to describe the dark, cynical and pessimistic movies happening at that time.

Which is a characteristic of film noir?

Voice-over narration, foreboding music and a plot twist or two are all hallmarks of film noir. Throw in a brooding private eye, low lights and a femme fatale with amnesia, and you've got yourself a movie.

What time period in film history does "film noir" usually refer to?

"Classic" film noir films were made during the decade after World War II.

The golden age of film noir begins in 1941 with the release of "The Maltese Falcon," and ends with the release of which film?

The golden age of film noir begins with "The Maltese Falcon's" release in 1941 and ends in 1958 with the release of "Touch of Evil."

Films made after "Touch of Evil" were classified as what type of noir?

Beginning in the early 1960s, certain elements and characteristics of noir films began to change, forming a neo-noir movement. Neo-noir, which lasted from 1962 to 1994, typically had greater emphasis on any psychological motivations of the characters.

The director of which noir classic starring Humphrey Bogart also directed James Dean in "Rebel Without a Cause?"

Nicholas Ray, who directed Bogart in "In a Lonely Place" in 1950, went on to direct James Dean in "Rebel Without a Cause" in 1955.

Who made his first film appearance in film noir?

Kirk Douglas, Charlton Heston and Burt Lancaster all made their first big screen debut in film noir.

Which Orson Welles' film is an adaptation of the Franz Kafka novel of the same name?

Orson Welles' film "The Trial," released in 1962, is an adaptation of the novel written by Franz Kafka.

Which film about two fishermen and an escaped convict begins with: "This is the true story of a man and a gun and a car. The gun belonged to the man. The car might have been yours ..."?

The 1953 film "The Hitch-Hiker" begins like this.

Which noir film was directed by a female director, nearly unheard of in 1953?

Ida Lupino directed "The Hitch-Hiker."

Lemmy Caution is the name of the private dick in Jean-Luc Godard's sci-fi noir crossover film called what?

Lemmy Caution is the private detective in the sci-fi noir film "Alphaville," based on the pulp fiction of Peter Cheyney.

What series, which aired from 1963 to 1967, brought the mood and themes of film noir to the television?

You may know Dr. Richard Kimball from the film starring Harrison Ford. But before that mid-90s movie, and other remakes, "The Fugitive" was a 1960s TV series that brought noir elements to the small screen.

Who was not a film noir leading man?

Clint Eastwood was not a film noir leading man.

Who was a well-known film noir femme fatale?

Gloria Grahame, Jane Greer, Barbara Stanwyck were all well-known film noir femme fatales.

Which film starring Robert Mitchum is considered noir to some experts and critics, but not to others?

While no one argues it has elements of film noir, Charles Laughton's 1955 film "The Night of the Hunter," starring Robert Mitchum, Shelley Winters and Lillian Gish is not always considered to be "noir."

Director Irving Lerner's "Murder by Contract," which some consider the first neo-noir film, does what with the film noir style?

"Murder by Contract," released in 1958, was a parody of noir.

Which film did The New York Times call a "turgid psychological claptrap," when it premiered in 1952?

When "Angel Face," starring Robert Mitchum and Jean Simmons, came out, it was The New York Times that called it a "turgid psychological claptrap."

Which of these characters is most likely to be the protagonist in film noir?

Private investigators are well-known characters in film noir.

What was the type of jazz composed for film noir scores?

Film noir was typically scored in what became known as "crime jazz."

Which composer is considered the father of crime jazz?

Elmer Bernstein's score for "Sweet Smell of Success" became known as "crime jazz."

Which character from the 1950 John Huston film "The Asphalt Jungle" do the Coen Brothers' pay homage to in their 2001 film "The Man Who Wasn't There?"

The Coen Brothers' character in "The Man Who Wasn't There" was named after Doc Erwin Riedenschneider from "The Asphalt Jungle."

In the Joseph Losey-directed "The Prowler," we find a jealous, obsessed, murderous man who is eventually undone by his own worst ambition. What's that man's job?

Webb Garwood, played by Van Heflin, is a police officer.

Which film, starring Robert Mitchum, Jane Russell and Vincent Price, is considered to toe the line between film noir and self-parody?

"His Kind of Woman," released in 1951, is considered on the line between film noir and a film noir parody.

Which of these films claimed to its audience to be based on actual events?

Whether true or not, director Cy Endfield's film "The Sound of Fury" made this claim.

In which Hitchcock film does Henry Fonda play Manny Balestrero, a victim of mistaken identity?

Henry Fonda plays Manny Balestrero in "The Wrong Man," the only Hitchcock film he appeared in.

Known for his films, "Clockwork Orange," "The Shining" and "Full Metal Jacket," among others, Stanley Kubrick directed which 1956 film noir about a racetrack robbery?

Stanley Kubrick directed the 1956 film "The Killing."

Who said, "You like money. You’ve got a great big dollar sign there where most women have a heart"?

Johnny Clay (played by Sterling Hayden) says this in "The Killing."

Martin Scorsese, Jim Jarmusch and Quentin Tarantino have all praised Samuel Fuller, but odds are good a lot of people recognize his movies before his name. Which of these films did he direct?

Samuel Fuller directed the film "Pickup on South Street."

Which author's novels and short stories had a big influence on film noir?

Stories by James M. Cain, Raymond Chandler and Dashiell Hammett didn't just help shape a film movement, their stories also became some of the most popular films of the period.

Who performs the jazz score in the film "Elevator to the Gallows" a story about a couple whose murder plans come undone in a stuck elevator?

Miles Davis performs the score for the 1958 film "Elevator to the Gallows."

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