Great noir directors of the 1940s

For fans of the Film noir genre, including myself, there is no doubt that the 1940s produced a great deal of noir directed by many of the best noir film directors in the history of genres. It was these early noir efforts that would carry the genre well into the 1950s.

The success of the following directors is by no means limited to the 1940s, nor to Film noir exclusively. Many started earlier and / or continued their success as directors over the next several decades in numerous film genres.

They are listed alphabetically and I am sure you will find some of your favorites included. I will also suggest that you watch some of his most notable film noir films of the decade.

Here are my favorites:

Edward Dmytryk – From studio courier to senior director and university professor, Dmytryk directed two of the most classic film noir titles of the 1940s. There was a black side to the career of directors, however, as he was one of the Ten of Hollywood, a group of film industry professionals blacklisted during the McCarthy era.

Murder my sweet – 1944

Crossfire – 1947

Alfred Hitchcock – A London import whose name and films are familiar to all. A master of psychological thrillers, many of which are film noir, Hitchcock had a career spanning more than five decades, earning him the distinction of being considered one of the most influential filmmakers of all time.

Suspicion – 1941

Shadow of a Doubt – 1943

Bewitched – 1945

John huston – Son of actor Walter Huston, John’s career as a director, actor and screenwriter left a monumental impression on the film industry. Huston was considered a rebel and a fervent defender of human rights. Huston’s off-screen exploits attracted as much attention as his films.

The Maltese Falcon – 1941

Key Largo – 1948 (almost black)

Fritz lang – American cinema was lucky when Lang fled Germany and the Nazis (even leaving his wife behind) to Paris and eventually America in 1934. He directed movies in America for more than 20 years before a combination of factors : an economic decline for the film industry. His reputation for being difficult to work with and abusive to actors ended his career on American soil.

Moontide – 1942 (although uncredited)

Scarlet Street – 1945

The Woman in the Window – 1945

Anatole litvak – Also forced to flee Germany and the Nazis, Litvak left for the UK, and then France, before finally landing in Hollywood in 1937. His work was at its peak directing tense and suspenseful crime / noir films .

City for Conquest – 1940

Out of the Fog – 1941

Sorry, wrong number – 1948

Nicolas Ray – During World War II, Ray worked in radio helping with propaganda efforts. His first job as a director was for RKO Radio Pictures in 1949; however, Ray’s best contribution to film noir would come in the next decade.

Knock on any door – 1949

They Live by Night – 1949 (this film marked Ray’s directorial debut, but it was released later last year).

Robert siodmak – His first jobs were also in Germany, and like many others, he was forced to leave with the rise of Nazism. Initial success with the B-movies provided an opportunity to direct higher-budget movies. Siodmak’s contribution to the noir during the 1940s is very impressive.

The Phantom Lady – 1944

Christmas Vacation – 1944 (Don’t you associate Christmas with noir? Try this).

Uncle Harry’s Strange Affair – 1945

The spiral staircase – 1945

The Assassins – 1946

The Dark Mirror – 1946

Cry of the City – 1948

Criss Cross – 1949

Jacques tourneur – Born in Paris, Jacques began his directing career in America for RKO horror legend Val Lewton. This early experience in the horror genre provided the foundation for Tourneur’s mastery of mood and atmosphere, both essential in film noir.

Out of the Past – 1947

Berlin Express – 1948

Raoul walsh – This Hollywood legend developed his skill as a front-line director during the silent film era and would continue for more than 50 years. In the 1930s, Walsh would begin working for Warner Brothers, where he was introduced to and would become a master director of both crime drama and film noir.

They drive at night – 1940

High Sierra – 1941

Persecuted – 1947 (one of the few western blacks)

The Man I Love – 1947

White Heat – 1949

Orson Welles – Known as a “boy genius” for his work directing, co-writing, starring in, and producing the classic Citizen Kane, Welles is considered by many to be one of the most creative figures in film history.

Journey into fear – 1943

Tomorrow is Forever – 1946

The Stranger – 1946

The Lady from Shanghai – 1947

The Third Man – 1949

There are my favorites list film noir directors from the 1940s. If you are a fan of film noir, or just a movie fanatic, you owe it to yourself to see as many of these films as possible.

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