Film Noir and the Culture of Electric Light
Even during the Depression and World War II, the use of electric light by domestic consumers and industry was growing, and it rose sharply in the postwar years. Yet this brightly lit historical period produced a set of films famous for darkness: the film noir. This essay examines General Electric's own publications to show how the electricity industry had developed an optimistic new iconography of artificial light, endowing illumination technologies with connotations of progress, science, and glamour-cultural meanings that noirs like Call Northside 777, The Set-Up, and The Asphalt Jungle would adopt, reshape, and invert.
Document Object Identifier (DOI)
Indiana University Press
Keating, P. (2015). Film noir and the culture of electric light. Film History: An International Journal, 27(1), 58-84. doi:10.2979/filmhistory.27.1.58
Film History: An International Journal