Shadowy atmosphere, seedy characters, pulp philosophy, and cynicism as thick as smoke: there’s nothing like film noir. As America returned from World War II, the national unconscious gave rise to a new breed of crime picture, populated by gumshoes, femmes fatales, and fall guys whose labyrinthine entanglements—captured in lush chiaroscuro cinematography—expressed a dark fatalism never before seen on the big screen. Where other Hollywood movies sought to recreate the magic of dreams, film noir aimed for the seductive danger of nightmares. Featuring some of the genre’s most ingenious directors (Edgar G. Ulmer, Otto Preminger, Jules Dassin) and most magnetic stars (Veronica Lake, Richard Widmark, Burt Lancaster, Gene Tierney), this sampler will lead you down a few of noir’s darkest alleys. Explore more here!