Film Noir: Jewish and Gay

Research in Progress: Feb 19, 2022

Vincent Brook, p. 211

Film Noir functioned well for the Jewish émigré directors, who came to the U.S., such as Fritz Lang, Billy Wilder, and even Fred Zinnemann.

It operated conceptually both forward and backward in time

It extended to both Europe and American culture

Noir enabled expressionist German style, derived from Weimar Republic

It bore traces of German high culture

It had been affected by Jews

It allowed critique of German society



Noir and Gay

The emancipatory potential of noir: Noir encouraged a mode of spectatorship that indirectly affirmed gay identity


Passive Homosexuality: Jonathan Baubaun sees “A core generative anxiety about passive homosexuality as a general characteristic of noir tough thriller.  He claims that “the anxiety creates the need for the femme fatale, as the protag requires her in order to rehearse an aggressive masculinity, which in turn, helps him to deny any anxieties over weaknesses.”(23).


Neff to Keyes in Double Indemnity.


Women: Femme Fatale Sexuality


Women (femme fatale) are in possession of their sexuality. As a result, they behave as if they are independent of the patriarchal order


In the course of th film, or by the end of it, the women must be punished for their attempt at independence, usually by death


The result: restoring the balance of patriarchal order.