Tough-talking private investigators meet melodramatic dames in this documentary about the film noir genre of the 1940s and '50s. Jeffrey Wells discusses the history of the genre, and film clips are shown from more than 30 classic movies, including The Big Sleep, Touch of Evil, Double Indemnity, The Maltese Falcon, DOA, Mildred Pierce, Laura, Kiss Me Deadly, This Gun for Hire, The Postman Always Rings Twice and The Bad and the Beautiful.

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