Below are some trios of favorites for me as a developing fan/scholar/blogger of film noir, with a focus on classic Hollywood films and actors. There’s obviously nothing definitive in this list, nor is it likely to remain the same over time. Even next week I might need a redeal.

Thank you for your indulgence in reading, and please share some of your own favorites in comments. I love being introduced to new films and to “debating” the merits of classics.

3 Favorite Noir Actresses:

Barbara Stanwyck

Claire Trevor

Ida Lupino

3 Favorite Noir Actors:

Edward G. Robinson

Richard Widmark

George Sanders

3 Favorite Femmes Fatale:

Kathie, Out of the Past (Jane Greer)

Helen, Born to Kill (Claire Trevor)

Gilda, Gilda (Rita Hayworth)

3 Favorite Hommes Fatale:

Sam, Born to Kill (Laurence Tierney)

Harry, Night of the Hunter (Robert Mitchum)

Harry Lime, The Third Man (Orson Welles)

3 Actresses Who Deserved Even Stronger Roles in Noir:

Gene Tierney


Lauren Bacall

Shelley Winters

3 Best Over-the-Top Supporting Roles, Male:

Tommy Udo, Kiss of Death (Richard Widmark)

Slob, Shack Out on 101 (Lee Marvin)

Emmet, The Hitch-hiker (William Talman)

3 Best Over-the-Top Supporting Roles, Female:

Mrs. Kraft, Born to Kill (Esther Howard)

Gaye, Key Largo (Claire Trevor)

Moe, Pickup on South Street (Thelma Ritter)

3 Favorite Noir Couples:

Sam and Helen, Born to Kill (Laurence Tierney and Claire Trevor)

Philip and Vivian,The Big Sleep (Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall)

Johnny and Kitty, Scarlet Street (Dan Duryea and Joan Bennett)

3 Favorite Queer Noir Pairings:

Fante and Mingo, The Big Combo (Lee Van Cleef and Earl Holliman)

Johnny and Ballin, Gilda (Glenn Ford and George Macready)

Mrs. Danvers and Rebecca, Rebecca (Judith Anderson and her own acting ability)

3 Favorite Classic Hollywood Noir Films (for the moment):

Gilda (most beautiful frustration)

The Big Combo (most raw sleaze)

Born to Kill (most ruthless chemistry)

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