Tuesday, 27 January 2009

Influences part 12: RKO Radio Pictures & Film Noir

One of the Big 5 from Hollywood's Golden Age, RKO is responsible for classics like King Kong, Citizen Kane, and Bringing Up Baby (all of which I have only just seen in the past few weeks)... However this post will not focus on those classic films because RKO's biggest influence on my work is their Film Noir.

I first became interested in the Film Noir genre after seeing Robert Rodriguez & Frank Miller's Sin City in 2005.
The first classic Film Noir that I watched was Stranger On The Third Floor over a year ago, and deciding that the genre has a really intriguing style, I have since wanted to create a film in a similar style. As Film Noir is associated with dark, suspenseful stories, and my graduation film has a suspense story set within a spooky/dark mansion, I thought it would be suitable for my graduation film this year.

Soon after I began writing the new darker/suspense story for my graduation film in November 2008, I found a 9-disc RKO Ultimate Film Noir Collection boxset in the shops, and despite knowing of only one film, I thought that the boxset would be useful research so I decided to buy it... Here are some of my favoured films from the boxset:

Out Of The Past (AKA Build My Gallows High)

Double Indemnity

The Big Steal
(coloured version)

The Blue Dahlia

The Killers

Much like the work of Alfred Hitchcock, these Film Noir classics have greatly assisted in developing my graduation film. While Hitchcock's most notable influence on my work is the suspense element, I think that RKO's Film Noir work has most notably influenced the intriguing shot compositions and striking black and white aesthetics of the storyboards for my graduation film. Thanks to the RKO classics I am also strongly considering the use of an opening credit sequence rather than a closing credit sequence (which is now standard practice today); but the credit format will not be decided for a few months yet...

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