I teased you last week. Consider this the official announcement of MovieZeal’s month long film noir retrospective, 31 days chock full of cynical chiaroscuro goodness. The party (or “noir-ty” as it might be called if I had no self-respect, but I do, so it won’t) gets started this Friday, and each day will bring a new review of a different noir. Calling upon the collective power of the blogosphere like He-Man might call upon Greyskull, we’ve pulled together quite the talented crop of guest writers who will be tackling various and sundry noirs over the month. Not only does this keep things flavorful, it also prevents Phillip, Luke, and myself from sacrificing what lives we have at the Altar of the Noir.

Expect reviews and articles on noir from (in no particular order) Graham Culbertson of Movies et al., Joseph Demme of Cinexcellence, Daniel Getahun of Getafilm, Nick Plowman of Fataculture, Alexander Coleman of Coleman’s Corner in Cinema, Chuck Bowen of Bowen’s Cinematic, Craig Kennedy of Living In Cinema, Joel E., commenter extraordinaire at LiC, Rick Olson of Coosa Creek Mambo, Dylan Fields of Blog Cabins, Matt Gamble of Where the Long Tail Ends, Anil Usumezbas of The Long Take, and Christian Divine of Oh My Blog.

Whew.

Using the power of Google, I took a few hours to compile the list for the month. Using IMDB’s Top 50 Noirs as a starting place (a flawed list, to be sure), I cross-checked it with numerous other Top 10 lists and articles on the subject, as well as referencing top noir experts such as Alain Silver and Paul Schrader. I’m confident that these are 31 of the best examples the style has to offer, and while no list is perfect, this one is quite thorough. As you’ll see, I’ve confined the list to the classic period (early 40s to late 50s) rather than open it up to proto-noir, neo-noir, and all other manner of pseudo noir (I’ll go into the reasons for this more on Friday).

You may also have noticed that our randomized banner up at the top has started cycling through frames (and posters) from all of the films we will be profiling this month. There are over 90 different banners, but rather than have you attempt to guess which banner is from which film (a nearly impossible feat), I’ve included a handy little label in the bottom corner so you kids can follow along at home. I’m cool like that.

So, without further yapping (and after the jump), here are the films we will be featuring during August, in chronological order, including a gallery of all the theatrical posters. Feel free to spout off in the comments if I’ve left off your favorite.

1. The Maltese Falcon (1941)
2. This Gun For Hire (1942
3. Double Indemnity (1944)
4. Laura (1944)
5. Mildred Pierce (1945)
6. Detour (1945)
7. The Killers (1946)
8. The Big Sleep (1946)
9. Notorious (1946)
10. The Lady From Shanghai (1947)
11. Out of the Past (1947)
12. Nightmare Alley (1947)
13. The Third Man (1949)
14. White Heat (1949)
15. The Asphalt Jungle (1950)
16. Gun Crazy (1950)
17. D.O.A. (1950)
18. Sunset Boulevard (1950)
19. In a Lonely Place (1950)
20. Night and the City (1950)
21. Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye (1950)
22. Ace in the Hole (1951)
23. Strangers on a Train (1951)
24. The Big Heat (1953)
25. The Night of the Hunter (1955)
26. Kiss Me Deadly (1955)
27. Rififi (1955)
28. The Big Combo (1955)
29. The Killing (1956)
30. Sweet Smell of Success (1957)
31. Touch of Evil (1958)

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