Furnishing the living room in film noir: disillusion and the armchair

Price, Hollie (2015) Furnishing the living room in film noir: disillusion and the armchair. In: Andrews, Eleanor, Hockenhull, Stella and Pheasant-Kelly, Fran (eds.) Spaces of the Cinematic Home: Behind the Screen Door. Routledge, London, pp. 130-147. ISBN 9780815396383

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This chapter explores the mise-en-scene of the noir living room, with particular reference to the seemingly innocuous armchair in two archetypal examples of the tough noir thriller, Double Indemnity and The Big Sleep. In early manifestations, the living room consensus was presented in relation to a hopeful post-war return, as an embodiment of familial identity and in order to stress livability: the ability to dwell comfortably in the home again following a period of social upheaval. By the mid-1940s, Hollywood film noir had begun to highlight a society which in reality was much more unstable, having failed to live up to the promises of wartime advertising. Like the advertised cigarette or the meat grid, the image of the armchair in later films noirs reinforces an illusion of the pre-war home and domestic security, only to unravel these notions using scenes of disillusion, neglect, and corruption.

Item Type: Book Section
Schools and Departments: School of Media, Film and Music > Media and Film
SWORD Depositor: Mx Elements Account
Depositing User: Mx Elements Account
Date Deposited: 20 Jul 2021 12:33
Last Modified: 20 Jul 2021 12:33
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/100586

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