Online course: Dark City Confidential: A New Look at Classic Noir (1941-59)



­­A 12-WEEK ONLINE COURSE (November 2022 – February 2023)


In this original 12-week online course, to be delivered via the Google Meet platform, we’ll study 17 key films of the classic Film Noir era (1941-1959) as well as 7 classic pieces of noir fiction. The lectures will explore these films through the stories of their production and in the wider context of American society, history, and politics. We’ll also examine the careers of the major directors and writers.

Classes are limited to a maximum of 12 students. Each week I’ll give an original lecture presentation on a set film and theme and then lead an in-depth group discussion. All participants will have a chance to contribute. The only weekly homework will be to watch a film (or two), and occasionally read a short story. There will be no final exam or essay. This course is designed purely for enjoyment and discovery. All are welcome.

There are two identical weekly sessions to choose from:

Saturdays at 5pm UK time/6pm CET [which is 9am PT / 12pm ET in North America]


Tuesdays at 7:30pm UK time/8:30pm CET [which is 11.30am PT / 2.30pm ET in North America]

(NB. The lecture portion of the session will be recorded and available for download if you are unable to attend a live session and need to catch up.)

Price per student: US$140. Enrollments are open. Contact me at .


November 5 (Sat) or 8 (Tues)
Lecture 1. The Shamus
THE MALTESE FALCON (1941) – John Huston [1hr41]
Reading: ‘Fly Paper’ by Dashiell Hammett

November 12 (Sat) or 15 (Tues)
Lecture 2. Knight Moves
MURDER MY SWEET (1944) – Edward Dmytryk [1hr35]
Reading: ‘I’ll Be Waiting’ by Raymond Chandler

November 19 (Sat) or 22 (Tues)
Lecture 3. The Sewn-Up City
THE STRANGE LOVE OF MARTHA IVERS (1946) – Lewis Milestone [1hr56]
Reading: ‘The Homecoming’ by Dorothy B. Hughes

November 26 (Sat) or 29 (Tues)
Lecture 4. A Way To Lose
OUT OF THE PAST (1947) – Jacques Tourneur [1hr37]
DETOUR (1945) – Edgar G. Ulmer [1hr08]
Reading: from The Postman Always Rings Twice by James M. Cain

December 3 (Sat) or 6 (Tues)
Lecture 5. Eyes on the City
THE NAKED CITY (1948) – Jules Dassin [1hr36]
HE WALKED BY NIGHT (1948) – Alfred L. Werker/Anthony Mann [1hr19]

December 10 (Sat) or 13 (Tues)
Lecture 6. The Big Carnival
ACE IN THE HOLE (1951) – Billy Wilder [1hr51]
Reading: ‘Forever After’ by Jim Thompson

December 17 (Sat) or 20 (Tues)
Lecture 7. Murder Most Foul
IN A LONELY PLACE (1950) – Nicholas Ray [1hr34]
THE BIG HEAT (1953) – Fritz Lang [1hr30]


January 14 (Sat) or 17 (Tues)  January 21 (Sat) or 24 (Tues) [Rescheduled]
Lecture 8. Ida Lupino’s B-Noir
THE HITCH-HIKER (1953) – Ida Lupino [1hr11]
PRIVATE HELL 36 (1954) – Don Siegel [1hr20]

January 21 (Sat) or 24 (Tues)  January 28 (Sat) or 31 (Tues) [Rescheduled]
Lecture 9. Fighting a Swamp with a Teaspoon
THE BIG COMBO (1955) – Joseph E. Lewis [1hr46]
Reading: ‘Some Lucky License’ by Charles Willeford

January 28 (Sat) or 31 (Tues)  February 4 (Sat) or 7 (Tues) [Rescheduled]
Lecture 10. This Dirty Town
SWEET SMELL OF SUCCESS (1957) – Alexander MacKendrick [1hr36]

February 4 (Sat) or 7 (Tues)  February 11 (Sat) or 14 (Tues) [Rescheduled]
Lecture 11. On the Border
TOUCH OF EVIL (1958) – Orson Welles [1998: 1hr51]
Reading: from A Rage in Harlem by Chester Himes

February 11 (Sat) or 14 (Tues)  February 18 (Sat) or 21 (Tues) [Rescheduled]
Lecture 12. Samuel Fuller
HOUSE OF BAMBOO (1955) – Samuel Fuller [1hr42]

THE CRIMSON KIMONO (1959) – Samuel Fuller [1hr22]