The Big Sleep And Charade: The Influences Of The Film Genre

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In the films; The Big Sleep (1946) and Charade (1963), each portray the influences of the genre “Film Noir”, with each containing a femme fatale, a hard boiled detective, and a strong moral theme, and the movie Sunset Boulevard (1950) is also in this genre because it also contains each of these traits. Femme fatale’s are characters that are seductive, evil, and in many cases, trying to cover up their misdeeds by lying. In The Big Sleep, Howard Hawks utilizes this character type through the character of Vivian Sternwood, a sly, mischievous, and seductive woman who tries to cover up her wrongdoing of murdering Sean Regan. This, with the constant flirting with Philip Marlowe to keep him off the case, leads her to be this character type. In Charade,…show more content…
In The Big Sleep, this is shown through Philip Marlow. Through his job is to be a detective, this trait extends far beyond this job, as even when Vivian pays him and lays him off the case, he continues investigating, as he knows there are loose ends that have yet to be tied. Society needs people like this that will persist, that will do their best to solve any problems presented. Also, he is seduced by Vivian, adding to the allusion. Additionally, in Charade, this characterization is displayed through Regina Lampert, who tirelessly searches for the money that her deceased husband has hidden, and searches for the truth behind Brian’s identity. She presents an interesting ideal how the traits of “good people” are not just for men to learn, that women also can be an integral part in society. She is quick to be seduced by Brian, and through he constantly is lying to her, finds herself quick in love. Moreover, in Sunset Boulevard, Joe Gillis, in extension, is the detective. Joe from the time he meets the mysterious Norma to his death, searches for the aspects and passion that makes her so engrossed in the fact of being a movie star once again. Underneath he is trying to figure out why she will just not…show more content…
In The Big Sleep, Marlow constantly acquires many opportunities to give up the search and just let everything go. But, he knows deep down that this is not the right thing to do, and continues in his search to preserve the justice of the world. In Charade, a theme that is shown is to never give up and never give in when you know what you think is right, as the truth will come out through enough persistence. Reggie could have given in many times and either tried to escape and leave the country, or just wait for the three men to kill her. But she persists because she knows in herself that matters can be straightened out, that the truth will be set free. In Sunset Boulevard, the theme is to never give up on your dreams, and persist at all costs. For Norma, the thought of returning to the big screen keeps her motivated, and even though it is claimed that she has in the past made suicide attempts, still presses forward, even after it is apparent to everyone else that her time is over. Also, even though Joe’s scripts keep getting turned down, he persists and does not give up, as who knows when the next big chance may break. Because of its strong, moral theme, Billy Wilder's movie is definitely a Film Noir. Through the use of a femme fatale, hard boiled detective, and strong moral theme, these combined

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