When we think of film noir we habitually think black-and-white cinematography. We also think of the classic 1:37 aspect ratio, which translates to a square shape, or, at the very least, the subsequent standard 1:85 aspect ratio, which is slightly rectangular. Nevertheless, there were not only a number of color noir thrillers produced during the 1940s and 1950s, but there were even a select number of noirs photographed in anamorphic CinemaScope.
Nunnally Johnson’s glossy crime melodrama Black Widow (20th Century-Fox 1954) has the luxury of both DeLuxe Color and CinemaScope, and the staging (below two frames), as typical of 1954 ‘scope productions, is designed to emphasize that anamorphic format.
The following year, Samuel Fuller directed House of Bamboo for Fox on location in Japan, and DeLuxe Color/CinemaScope were again the chosen formats, although the hard lighting and shadows are reminiscent of monochromatic cinematography.
In 1955, Warner Bros. remade Raoul Walsh’s…
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