The Female of the Species: Five Great Noir Heroines

It’s no secret that film noir is my favorite genre, and it’s similarly no secret that it’s an extremely male dominated one. Part of that is a function of the times- it was cooler to be sexist in the 40s and 50s when most noir came out*- but mostly it’s got more to do with the fact that most writers in the genre are male, and most writers write what they know (being male). There are exceptions to both those points, though not enough to either.

If you’ve read my last few books, it’s pretty obvious that I think noir works just fine- if not better- with female protagonists. So, lacking a better idea for a deeper/more inspired article today, I did what all internet hacks do when they’re out of ideas: I made a list of some of the great noir leading ladies who do exist. Enjoy.

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I Don't Mind a Parasite: Casablanca's Establishing Character Moment

            It should be clear to anyone who’s looked at the title or logo of this blog that I think Casablanca is a pretty great movie, but for whatever reason I’ve never written about it before. There’s a lot to say, so instead of trying to look at it holistically, let’s get extremely specific, and look at Rick Blaine’s establishing character moment.

            Establishing character moments, for those unfamiliar with the term, are exactly what they sound like: they’re moments that establish a character. There are great ones (Paul Newman reusing a coffee filter in Harper), shitty ones (Superman whining about his media portrayal and tub-jumping Lois in Batman v Superman), and ones that are somewhere in between (most of them). They can come at any point in a story, though in general the sooner the better. Casablanca is such a densely written film that almost any scene in the first act could be taken in a vacuum as an establishing character moment, and every major character in the film gets a great one, but for now let’s just look at Rick’s first appearance and how much it tells us.

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