Special Subject: The Rise of Film Noir

A black and white photo of an obscured woman on the ground (looking as though she is dead).

Film noir can be characterized by visual techniques like low-key lighting and unbalanced compositions. Plots focus on crimes, and murder is a common element. (Photo by leah8691 on Flickr. CC-BY-NC-SA.)


MIT Course Number


As Taught In

January IAP 2012



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Course Description

Course Features

Course Description

This class explores the development of Hollywood Film Noir. There will be a focus on émigré directors who moved to Hollywood when the Nazis rose to power. Assignments will include short response papers about three of the films in the series, and reports by students on examples of "neo-noir" films from recent decades.

This course is offered during the Independent Activities Period (IAP), which is a special 4-week term at MIT that runs from the first week of January until the end of the month.

Related Content

Martin Marks. CMS.S61 Special Subject: The Rise of Film Noir. January IAP 2012. Massachusetts Institute of Technology: MIT OpenCourseWare, https://ocw.mit.edu. License: Creative Commons BY-NC-SA.

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