Film Noir Inspiration

Oct 30, 2014 | 4:33 PM

Every year on the Saturday after Halloween, my dear friend Merton has a theme party. Last year the theme was ’70s TV shows (I went as Mrs. Roper ’cause I love a fab caftan); the year before it was “Mod ’60s” (good thing I own 20 pairs of go-go boots!), and before that it was Roaring Twenties (finally got to wear my Louise Brooks wig!).


This year it’s (drumroll, please):




Though film noir isn’t a particularly musical genre; and though it’s actually devoid of the color I so celebrate in the posts on this blog, it is, nevertheless, deeply theatrical and therefore entertaining, beautiful and, in some cases, funny since it’s so over-the-top.


Therefore, I thought you, my faithful readers, might enjoy my Halloween “film noir” inspirational costume board!


Should I dress as Joan Bennett from Fritz Lang’s 1945 Film Noir masterpiece Scarlet Street?

Fritz Lang


Or as Gene Tierney in Otto Preminger’s classic, Laura?


Or should I just make life easy and go as Rita Hayworth in Gilda? I have the gown from my film Anything But Love, and my hair is already red…

Annex - Hayworth, Rita (Gilda)_02


Nah. I don’t want to smoke a cigarette… Maybe I should go as Carroll Baker in Elia Kazan’s Baby Doll.


Or as Gloria Swanson in Sunset Boulevard. I’m always ready for my close up!



Of course there’s always Ingrid Bergman in Casablanca….

humphrey bogart & ingrid bergman - casablanca 1943


The real issue I”m having here is this: film noir is what it is because of the lighting. Think of Orson Welles’ film, Touch of Evil. Have you ever seen it?

touch of evil


Aside from the tawdry plot, all the extreme shadows make everyone look either super dangerous or super endangered at all times.


So what should I do? Walk around Saturday night holding a flashlight and shining it down on myself?


Way too much work…


Oh, Merton! Why have you made things so difficult this year?


The term “film noir” literally means (in translation from the french) “black film.” Maybe the key will be to dress in black and white colors? I still have the Matthew Williamson mini dress I wore on TV last month…


2014-09-18 20.50.43



Merton, if you’re reading this, next year can you do something more colorful? Like Rock Stars? Or Cartoon Characters? In the meantime, what do you think? How should I dress for a Film Noir party? What would you choose?


Happy Halloween!




3 thoughts on “Film Noir Inspiration”

  1. Bruce Thomas     Reply

    Gilda with a fake/candy cigarette or real unlit preferred or Sunset Boulevard.

  2. Robert     Reply

    Any chance you could carry off a Bogart look? Something with Rita Hayworth’s hair, but a fedora? Maybe a tuxedo-type look? (As I type, I’m now thinking something like Judy Garland’s “Come On Get Happy” look – but with femme fatale hair.)

  3. Ross Pennyr     Reply

    Rita is good! You don’t have to inhale.

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