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This article is about the original 1987 DuckTales television series. For the 2017 series, see DuckTales (2017 TV series).
For other uses, see DuckTales (disambiguation).
DuckTales (Main title).jpg
Based on Uncle Scrooge
by Carl Barks
Developed by Jymn Magon
Theme music composer Mark Mueller
Opening theme "DuckTales" by Jeff Pescetto
Ending theme "DuckTales" (Instrumental)
Thomas Chase Jones
Steve Zuckerman (synthesizer cues only)
Steve Rucker (additional music, Season 1 only)
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 4
No. of episodes 100 (101 segments) + 1 film (list of episodes)
Jymn Magon (Season 1-2)
Bob Hathcock (Season 2–4)
Alan Zaslove (Season 4)
Fred Wolf (supervising, Season 1)
Tom Ruzicka (associate producer, Season 1 only)
Ken Koonce and David Weimers (Season 2–4)
Alan Burnett (Season 3)
Running time 22 minutes
Walt Disney Television
Walt Disney Television Animation[a]
Distributor Buena Vista Television
Original network Syndication
Picture format 480i (SDTV) 1080i (HDTV) (digital distribution)
Mono (Five-part pilot only)
Original release September 18, 1987 –
November 28, 1990
Related shows DuckTales (2017 TV series)
DuckTales is an American animated television series, produced by Walt Disney Television Animation and distributed by Buena Vista Television. The cartoon series premiered on September 18, 1987, and ran for a total of 100 episodes over four seasons, with its final episode airing on November 28, 1990. Based upon Uncle Scrooge and other Duck universe comic books created by Carl Barks, the show follows Scrooge McDuck, his three grandnephews Huey, Dewey, and Louie, and close friends of the group, on various adventures, most of which either involve seeking out treasure or thwarting the efforts of villains seeking to steal Scrooge's fortune or his Number One Dime.
DuckTales has received a franchise of merchandise, including video games and comic books, along with an animated theatrical spin-off film entitled DuckTales the Movie: Treasure of the Lost Lamp, which was released to theaters across the United States on August 3, 1990. The series is notable for being the first Disney cartoon to be produced for weekday syndication, with its success paving the way for future Disney cartoons, such as Chip 'n Dale: Rescue Rangers and TaleSpin. The show's popular theme song was written by Mark Mueller. In addition, Launchpad McQuack later returned to appear in another Disney animated series, becoming a main character in Darkwing Duck.
In February 2015, Disney XD announced the revival of the show, with the intention of rebooting the series. The rebooted series premiered on August 12, 2017.
3.3.1 Character appearances in other shows
5 Home media
5.1 VHS releases
5.1.1 UK, Australia and New Zealand VHS releases
5.2 DVD releases
5.2.1 North America (Region 1)
5.2.2 International (Region 2)
5.2.3 Hindi language (Region 2, 4, 5)
5.3 Video on demand
7.1 Awards and nominations
7.2 Theme song
8 Theatrical film
10.1 Video and computer games
10.3 Comic books and trade paperbacks
10.3.2 Carl Barks' Greatest DuckTales Stories
10.3.3 BOOM! Studios revival
13 External links
When Donald Duck decides to join the US Navy, he enlists his uncle Scrooge McDuck to look after his nephews, Huey, Dewey, and Louie. Although reluctant to do so due to their hyperactivity, along with his continual pursuit of increasing his wealth and maintaining harsh business ethics, he eventually warms up to them upon seeing how smart and resourceful they are, and takes them into his manor as well as a number of adventures. In addition to them, the show features frequent appearances by Gyro Gearloose, an established comic book character, as well as guest appearances by Donald in the first season – this was either a full appearance, or in a cameo scene when Scrooge and his nephews read letters he sends to them, and a few minor appearances by Scrooge's old flame, Glittering Goldie, whose character was adapted from the comic books. The show introduced new characters to the Duck universe; while some were minor including: the nanny Mrs. Beakley, whom Scrooge hires to babysit the nephews; Mrs. Beakley's granddaughter Webby; Scrooge's pilot Launchpad McQuack; Doofus Drake, an admirer of Launchpad and a close friend of the nephews; and the McDuck Manor butler, Duckworth. The second season later introduced three new additional characters as part of the show's stories: "caveduck" Bubba Duck and his pet triceratops Tootsie; and Fenton Crackshell, Scrooge's personal accountant who secretly works as a superhero named Gizmoduck.
The show's primary villains consist of those from the comics: Flintheart Glomgold, who seeks to replace Scrooge as the "Richest duck in the world"; the Beagle Boys, who seek to rob Scrooge of his fortune and often target his money bin; and Magica De Spell, who seeks to steal his Number One Dime. A few changes were made to these villains – unlike the comics, Flintheart is of Scottish descent and wears a couple of pieces of Scottish attire, including a kilt; Magica, who is Italian in the comics, has an Eastern European accent, as well as a brother named Poe, who was transformed into a raven; the Beagle Boys have individual personalities and are headed by their mother, Ma Beagle, who sometimes springs them from jail to conduct schemes with her, but always avoids being caught by the police. The animated series also featured a list of minor villains, most of whom sought to either claim Scrooge's wealth or beat him to treasure.
Most of the stories used in the show revolve around one of three common themes – the first focuses on the group's efforts to thwart attempts by various villains to steal Scrooge's fortune or his Number One Dime; the second focuses on a race for treasure; the third focused on specific characters within the show. Although some stories are original or based on Barks' comic book series, others are pastiches on classical stories or legends, including characters based on either fictional or historical persons. DuckTales is well noted for its many references to popular culture, including Shakespeare, Jack the Ripper, Greek mythology, James Bond, Indiana Jones, and Sherlock Holmes. After its first season, the show moved away from globe-trotting stories, with adventures focused mainly within Duckburg.
Main article: List of DuckTales characters
Alan Young as Scrooge McDuck
Russi Taylor as Huey, Dewey and Louie Duck and Webby Vanderquack
Chuck McCann as Duckworth the Butler, Burger Beagle, and Bouncer Beagle
Terry McGovern as Launchpad McQuack (entire series) and Babyface Beagle (season 1)
Frank Welker as Bigtime Beagle (entire series), Baggy Beagle (entire series), Poe (season 1), and Bubba (seasons 2-4)
Hal Smith as Gyro Gearloose and Flintheart Glomgold
Joan Gerber as Mrs. Beakley and Glittering Goldie
Hamilton Camp as Fenton Crackshell/Gizmoduck (seasons 2-4). Additional voices in season 1
June Foray as Ma Beagle and Magica De Spell
Peter Cullen as Bankjob Beagle and Admiral Grimitz (season 1)
Brian Cummings as Doofus Drake and Bugle Beagle (season 1). Additional voices in season 3
Tony Anselmo as Donald Duck (season 1)
The show also featured a range of additional voice actors who voiced several minor characters, most frequently including the following:
Walt Disney Television Animation began production on DuckTales in 1986, with the intention of having it ready for a premiere in 1987, and its episodes airing within a 4-6 p.m. placement, at a time when more children would be watching television, rather than within a morning timeslot. Seeking to create a cartoon with high quality animation, in comparison with other 1980s cartoons which had much lower budgets, the animation was handled by Wang Film Productions co., ltd. (some 1987 and 1989–1990 episodes only), Cuckoo's Nest Studio and Tokyo Movie Shinsha (Season 1 only), having previously been used on two other Disney cartoons in 1985 – The Wuzzles and Disney's Adventures of the Gummi Bears – both of which had demonstrated better quality cartoons on TV than in previous years. Although the Japanese provided them with more available artists for the cartoon, this also increased production costs, due to the currency exchange rates between the yen and the dollar, though Disney intended to invest heavily in its DuckTales's production, with plans to recuperate its money by having it syndicated via its syndication unit, Buena Vista Television, with a 2.5/3.5 syndicator/station ad split. While this was a concept that worked well with live-action TV reruns, it had only ever been used with inexpensive cartoon series in the past that either recycled theatrical shorts from decades past or only featured limited, low-budget animation, and thus had never been attempted with a high quality animated series, with the heavy investment considered a risky move.
The cartoon premiered worldwide between 18–20 September 1987 (the time and date varying between markets), with a television movie special entitled "The Treasure of the Golden Suns", which was later split up into a five-part serial in future reruns. The first season, aired between 1987–88, consisted of 65 episodes, the "magic number" requirement needed for a show to have a weekday syndication (five days a week for thirteen weeks). Disney then commissioned three more seasons – the second season (aired between 1988–89) consisted of two television specials entitled "Time Is Money" and "Super DuckTales", with future reruns splitting them into two five-part serials; the third season (aired between 1989–90) consisted of 18 episodes, with it forming an hour-long syndicated block alongside Chip 'n Dale: Rescue Rangers; and the fourth season (aired during late 1990) consisted of seven episodes (including three unaired episode meant for the previous season), which was used to form a two-hour long syndicated block called The Disney Afternoon, consisting of DuckTales and three other half-hour cartoons.
The cartoon continued running within The Disney Afternoon until 1992. Following its departure from the Disney Afternoon, DuckTales aired in reruns on the Disney Channel from 1992 to 2000. In October 1995, it aired as part of a new two-hour programming block called "Block Party" that aired on weekday late afternoons, with it returning to syndication between 1997 and 1999. Reruns were later shown on Toon Disney between 1999 and late 2004.
The show proved an immense success for Disney, who decided to commission other cartoons with a similar level of quality, which included Chip 'n Dale: Rescue Rangers, Darkwing Duck, and TaleSpin. In addition, DuckTales also spawned its own feature-length movie, entitled DuckTales the Movie: Treasure of the Lost Lamp, which was released to theaters on August 3, 1990, along with a franchise of merchandising, including toys, comic books and video games, a spin-off series, and eventually a revival in 2017, that rebooted the series.
Character appearances in other shows
Huey, Dewey, and Louie all appeared in the 1990 drug prevention video Cartoon All-Stars to the Rescue
Darkwing Duck (1991–92): Aside from Launchpad McQuack being a main character on the show and Gizmoduck appearing sporadically, Scrooge's face appears in the episode "Tiff of the Titans", and Flintheart Glomgold, the Beagle Boys, and Magica De Spell make cameo appearances in the episode "In Like Blunt".
Goof Troop (1992–93): In the episode "The Ungoofables", two of the Beagle Boys appear.
Raw Toonage (1992): Scrooge and Launchpad appear as guest stars.
Bonkers (1993–94): In the episode "The 29th Page", the Beagle Boys appear.
Aladdin (1994–95): In the episode "The Day The Bird Stood Still", the Genie transforms into Scrooge.
Quack Pack (1996): Aside from Donald, Ludwig, and the nephews being main characters, the episode "Nosy Neighbors" features the Beagle Boys as an attack dummy.
DuckTales (2017): The original design of Webby makes numerous appearances in the background of the rebooted series as a doll, and is used in a gag in "The Other Bin of Scrooge McDuck!" when Magica DeSpell turned reboot's Webby into a doll.
Main article: List of DuckTales episodes
Season Episodes Originally aired
First aired Last aired
1 65 September 18, 1987 January 1, 1988
2 10 November 24, 1988 March 26, 1989
3 18 September 18, 1989 February 11, 1990
Treasure of the Lost Lamp August 3, 1990
4 7 September 10, 1990 November 28, 1990
10 VHS cassettes, containing two episodes each, were released in the United States.
VHS title Episode(s) Release date
"Fearless Fortune Hunter" ‘Earth Quack’
‘Master of the Djinni’ May 31, 1988
"Daredevil Ducks" ‘The Money Vanishes’
‘Home Sweet Homer’
"High-Flying Hero" ‘Hero for Hire’
‘Launchpad's Civil War’
"Masked Marauders" ‘Send in the Clones’
‘Time Teasers’ October 4, 1988
"Lost World Wanderers" ‘Dinosaur Ducks’
‘The Curse of Castle McDuck’ May 9, 1989
"Duck to the Future" ‘Duck to the Future’
‘Sir Gyro de Gearloose’
"Accidental Adventurers" ‘Jungle Duck’
‘Maid of the Myth’ September 28, 1989
"Seafaring Sailors" ‘Sphinx for the Memories’
‘All Ducks on Deck’
"Raiders of the Lost Harp" ‘Raiders of the Lost Harp’
‘The Pearl of Wisdom’ August 14, 1990
"Space Invaders" ‘Where No Duck Has Gone Before’
‘Micro Ducks from Outer Space’
In addition, the episode "Ducky Horror Picture Show" was released with the Goof Troop episode "FrankenGoof" on a VHS cassette entitled Monster Bash in 1993.
UK, Australia and New Zealand VHS releases
10 VHS cassettes, each containing two or three episodes, were released in the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand.
VHS title Episode(s) Release date
"Earthquack" ‘Earth Quack’
‘Back to the Klondike’ September 11, 1992
"Micro Ducks from Outer Space" ‘Micro Ducks from Outer Space’
‘Scrooge's Pet’ September 11, 1992
"The Lost Crown of Genghis Khan" ‘The Lost Crown of Genghis Khan’
‘The Money Vanishes’ September 11, 1992
"1001 Arabian Ducks" ‘Master of the Djinni’
‘Merit-Time Adventure’ September 11, 1992
"High Sea Adventures" ‘Maid of the Myth’
‘Send in the Clones’ September 11, 1992
"Hotel Strangeduck" ‘Hotel Strangeduck’
‘Superdoo!’ September 11, 1992
"Fool of the Nile" ‘Sphinx for the Memories’
‘Top Duck’ September 10, 1993
"Little Duckaroos" ‘Ducks of the West’
‘Magicia's Shadow War’ September 10, 1993
"Jailhouse Duck" ‘Where No Duck Has Gone Before’
‘Duckman of Aquatraz’
‘Home Sweet Homer’ September 10, 1993
"Runaway Robots" ‘Robot Robbers’
‘Sweet Duck of Youth’ September 10, 1993
North America (Region 1)
Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment has released the complete series on DVD; four volumes have been released in Region 1 featuring all 100 episodes of the series. The first was released on November 8, 2005 (containing episodes 1–27), the second on November 14, 2006 (containing episodes 28–51) and the third volume on November 13, 2007 (containing episodes 52–75). The fourth and final volume was released as a Disney Movie Club exclusive on September 11, 2018 (containing episodes 76-100). The first three volumes were packaged in a box containing 3 slipcases, one for each. The 2013 re-releases of the first three volumes packages the discs into one DVD case.
DuckTales: Destination Adventure!, a DVD compilation release of episodes from the 2017 reboot, contains two episodes from the original series as bonus features: "New Gizmo Kids on the Block" and "Ducky Mountain High". These episodes were available prior to their inclusion in the Volume 4 release.
The episodes are in the order that they originally aired (except for the five-part serial "Treasure of the Golden Suns," placed at the beginning of Volume 2). None of the DVD sets contain any special features.
DVD title Ep # Release date
Volume 1 27 November 8, 2005
Volume 2 24 November 14, 2006
Volume 3 24 November 13, 2007
Volume 4 25 September 11, 2018 (Disney Movie Club)
International (Region 2)
In the United Kingdom, Disney released one Region 2 volume in 2007, titled DuckTales First Collection. Despite the set being similar to the North American version, the DVD contained only 20 episodes, while having 5 language tracks: English, French, German, Spanish and Italian. Other regional versions were distributed to other countries, but only going up to episode #20. On November 12, 2012, the UK received two further releases of Collection 2 and Collection 3, being a Region version of the 2nd and 3rd volumes from North America. Unlike the first release, these 3-disc sets include a Fastplay mode, and only four language tracks: English, Dutch, German and French, but subtitles have not been added.
There are currently no plans to release the rest of the series, or the seven episodes missing between the first two sets.
DVD title Ep # Release date Language
Ducktales – 1st Collection 20 February 12, 2007 English, French, German, Spanish and Italian
Ducktales – 2nd Collection 24 November 12, 2012 English, Dutch, German and French
Ducktales – 3rd Collection 24
Hindi language (Region 2, 4, 5)
In India where Duck Tales was dubbed in Hindi for TV broadcast on Doordarshan and syndication on Star Plus, 60 episodes out of the first 70 episodes from Seasons 1 and 2 were released by Sony DADC India under license from Disney India, on 20 DVD volumes and Video CDs in PAL format. These discs support Region 2, Region 4 and Region 5. However due to limited number of copies, they quickly went out of stock. Each DVD contained only 3 episodes. Episodes 08, 10, 11, 22, 23, 24, 36, 55 and 61 are missing from the released set. The remaining episodes starting from episode 70 to 100 (Super DuckTales from Season 2, and entire Seasons 3 and 4) are yet to be released in Hindi on DVD.
Video on demand
Season One of DuckTales was released on Amazon Video in 2013 and was free for Amazon Prime members but as of February 28, 2014, DuckTales Season 1 is no longer accessible through Amazon Video or Amazon Prime accounts.
As of December 11, 2015, some episodes from Season 1 has been made available on Netflix in Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden. In Denmark, at least, only 20 episodes from season 1 are available on Netflix. The episodes available do follow the correct airdate order but some episodes are simply missing. For instance, the episodes on Netflix do not include a lot of Season 1 episodes, even though that they have indeed been dubbed into Danish. Amongst the episodes missing are the Five Part Miniseries, "Treasure of the Golden Sun", "Duckman of Aquatraz", and "Top Duck".
The entire series is currently available for purchase on Amazon Instant Video in Germany, with the episodes split into eight different seasons.
iTunes and Amazon Instant Video in the United States currently offer the entire series (with the exception of the episode "Sphinx for the Memories") for purchase in SD format, split into six volumes at $14.99 per volume.
The series theme song was written by Mark Mueller, an ASCAP award-winning pop music songwriter who also wrote the theme song to Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers; Mueller was paid a little over $1000 to write the tune.
Episode musical scores were written by Ron Jones. In contrast to how other composers were creating a "patronizing" and "cute" score for the show, Jones says he composed the music with regard to the audience and its intelligence. "I would not play the score like a kid's show at all. If they went on an adventure I would play it serious like Raiders of the Lost Ark.
The DuckTales Theme was sung by Jeff Pescetto. There are four different versions of the theme song. The original version, serving as the show's opening theme, contained one verse, chorus, bridge, and then chorus. A shorter version of the opening theme was used in The Disney Afternoon lineup with the line, "Everyday they're out there making Duck Tales, woo-ooh," taken out.
A full-length version of the theme song was released on the Disney Afternoon soundtrack, the third volume (which was released in a set with the other two volumes) in The Music of Disney: a Legacy in Song along with the full TaleSpin theme and in the November 2013 release of the Disney Classics collection. In addition, it is heard in the end credits of DuckTales: Remastered and is also released on its official soundtrack.
The full version contains a second verse, and it includes a guitar solo, which is performed with a wah-wah pedal to make it sound like duck-like noises. It also has a fadeout ending, unlike the other versions. There is also a rare extended version that was used in the read along cassettes in 1987. It has a sequence order of verse-chorus-bridge-chorus-instrumental break-chorus.
According to an interview conducted with Jeff Pescetto in 2009, he was originally approached by Mark Mueller to cut a demo version of the theme song for Disney's approval. Although they were impressed with Pescetto's demo, Disney had decided at first to hire pop group The Jets to perform the theme song for broadcast. However, after recording a version with the group, Disney felt that the theme song needed a different vocal style, and instead commissioned Pescetto to perform the theme. After performing on DuckTales, Pescetto would later be asked to sing the vocal themes for Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers (composed by Mueller and produced by Alf Clausen), Darkwing Duck (composed by Steve Nelson and Thom Sharp), and for The Disney Afternoon itself. The Jets, meanwhile, later performed a full-length version of the Rescue Rangers theme song in a music video aired on The Disney Channel in 1989.
In January 2009, IGN listed DuckTales as the 18th best show in the Top 100 Best Animated TV Shows. In 2013, WatchMojo.com ranked DuckTales as the #1 animated Disney series
Awards and nominations
Daytime Emmy Awards
1988 – Outstanding Animated Programming (nominated)
1989 – Outstanding Animated Programming (nominated)
1989 – Outstanding Animated Programming (for Programming One Hour or More) – "Super DuckTales" (won)
1990 – Outstanding Film Sound Editing – Rich Harrison, Charlie King and Rick Hinson (won)
The theme song has been widely regarded as one of the most memorable for a television program, with Dan Fletcher of TIME magazine noting its lasting impact despite being just a children's song: "Some of the lyrics might not make sense to those older than the age of 10 — we're not sure how life in Duckburg is like a hurricane, or exactly what a "duck blur" is — but the DuckTales song is still awesome." An article from Vanity Fair noted that the song has a tendency to stick in someone's head, a phenomenon known as an earworm.
Main article: DuckTales the Movie: Treasure of the Lost Lamp
DuckTales the Movie: Treasure of the Lost Lamp was released nationwide in the United States on August 3, 1990 by Walt Disney Pictures and Disney MovieToons, Disney TV Animation division and Disney France. The film follows Scrooge McDuck and his nephews as they try to defeat the evil warlock Merlock from taking over the legendary magic lamp.
The film was well received by critics and audiences, but failed to meet box office expectations and several planned sequels were abandoned as a result.
Main article: DuckTales (2017 TV series)
In February 2015, Disney XD announced a reboot of the original DuckTales TV series. It premiered on August 11, 2017. It has 2 seasons so far.
In May 2015, Terry McGovern (the original voice of Launchpad McQuack) stated on Facebook that the entire voice cast would be replaced, stating he felt "heartsick" at the news.
Main article: List of DuckTales Merchandise
Video and computer games
Main articles: DuckTales (video game), DuckTales 2, DuckTales: The Quest for Gold, DuckTales: Scrooge's Loot, and DuckTales: Remastered
A DuckTales video game was developed by Capcom and released for the Nintendo Entertainment System and Game Boy in 1989. A sequel to the game, DuckTales 2, was released for NES and Game Boy in 1993. A Disney's Ducktales hand-held LCD game from Tiger Electronics was also released in 1990. A DuckTales mobile game was developed by Artefact Games and published by Disney Mobile and released for Mobile Phones on 2011 in Moscow.
A different platform game, DuckTales: The Quest for Gold, was released by Incredible Technologies for computers in 1990. DuckTales: Remastered, an HD remake of Capcom's original game, developed by WayForward Technologies, was released by Disney Interactive for PlayStation Network, Nintendo eShop and Steam on August 13, 2013. It was also released on September 11, 2013 for Xbox Live Arcade. A retail copy for PlayStation 3 was released on August 20, 2013 with a code to download the game and a DuckTales collector pin.
Various DuckTales items appear in the Toy Box of the Disney Infinity franchise. In 1.0, the Money Bin item and Scrooge and Beagle Boy townspeople appear in addition to the "Scrooge's Lucky Dime" power disc. In 2.0, Scrooge's pile of money and a Scrooge portrait are interior items in addition to the iOS-exclusive "Scrooge's Top Hat" power disc. In 3.0, a Launchpad McQuack townsperson was added.
Launchpad was selectable character for the mobile game titled Disney Snow Sports on 2007.
An app was released by Disney in the late summer/early fall of 2013 called DuckTales: Scrooge's Loot, where the player tries to get Scrooge back his money that was stolen by Flintheart Glomgold, Magica de Spell, and the Beagle Boys.
Scrooge McDuck and Launchpad McQuack appeared in Disney Emoji Blitz in 2017.
DuckTales releasing on the Picture Books from the part of Disney Gold and was Published by Kodansha.
Comic books and trade paperbacks
DuckTales had two series of comic books. The first series was published by Gladstone Publishing and ran for 13 issues from 1988 to 1990, and the second series was published by Disney Comics and ran for 18 issues from 1990 to 1991. Disney also published a children's magazine based on the show, which also featured comic stories, one of which was written by Don Rosa. Subsequent comic stories were also printed in the magazine Disney Adventures from 1990 to 1996.
On August 29, 2007, Gemstone released a trade paperback of Scrooge's Quest and on October 7, 2008 it was followed by The Gold Odyssey; together they collect the majority of the Disney Comics run.
Ducktales: Scrooge's Quest
Ducktales Volume 2 #1–7
Ducktales: The Gold Odyssey
Ducktales Volume 2 #9–15
Walt Disney Treasures
Trade Title Issue Reprinted
Disney Comics: 75 Years of Innovation (2006) Ducktales Volume 1 #4
Uncle Scrooge: A Little Something Special (2008) Ducktales Volume 1 #7
Carl Barks' Greatest DuckTales Stories
On May 24 and July 19, 2006, Gemstone published a two-volume trade paperback, Carl Barks' Greatest DuckTales Stories. The trades contain reprints of stories written by Carl Barks which were specifically adapted into television episodes of DuckTales.
Both volumes start out with an introduction and compare the original comic story with its DuckTales episode counterpart. Volume 1 also includes a two-page article delving into details on the adapting the show from the comic series.
Issue Number Story
Four Color #456 Back to the Klondike
Uncle Scrooge #13 Land Beneath the Ground (The episode was titled "Earthquack")
Uncle Scrooge #65 Micro Ducks from Outer Space
Uncle Scrooge #9 Lemming with the Locket (The episode was titled "Scrooge's Pet")
Uncle Scrooge #14 The Lost Crown of Genghis Khan
Uncle Scrooge #29 The Hound of the Whiskervilles (The episode was titled "The Curse of Castle McDuck")
Issue Number Story
Uncle Scrooge #58 The Giant Robot Robbers (The episode was titled "Robot Robbers")
Uncle Scrooge #12 The Golden Fleecing
Uncle Scrooge #3 The Horseradish Story (The episode was titled "Down and Out in Duckburg")
Uncle Scrooge #41 The Status Seeker
Uncle Scrooge #38 The Unsafe Safe (The episode was titled "The Unbreakable Bin")
Uncle Scrooge #6 Tralla La (The episode was titled "The Land of Tra-La-La")
BOOM! Studios revival
On February 17, 2011, BOOM! Studios announced that a new DuckTales comic series would begin May 2011 under its kaboom! imprint. The series was written by Warren Spector (author of the Epic Mickey videogame) with art by Leonel Castellani and Jose Massaroli. It lasted for 6 issues, with the final two crossing over with Darkwing Duck. The BOOM! Studios comic will be reprinted in IDW Publishing's Disney's Afternoon Giant in October 2018.
Ducktales: Rightful Owners
Darkwing Duck/Ducktales: Dangerous Currency
Ducktales #5–6 and Darkwing Duck #17–18
Prior to its updated DuckTales comic book, BOOM Kids (later called Kaboom!) featured internationally produced DuckTales comic book stories never before seen in the US in issues 392–399 of the Uncle Scrooge comic book. These issues, published 2010–2011, were collected into two trade paperback volumes.
Uncle Scrooge in DuckTales: Like a Hurricane
Uncle Scrooge #392-395
Uncle Scrooge in DuckTales: Messes Become Successes
Uncle Scrooge #396-399
The success of DuckTales led to the translation of the show into many languages. Featured together with Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers in a Sunday morning program titled Walt Disney Presents, the show premiered in the former Soviet Union in 1991, the first American cartoon shown in the region after the Cold War. One year later, Darkwing Duck was also added to this lineup. However, the show's theme song (written by Mark Mueller and originally sung by Jeff Pescetto) remained in English for a number of episodes. The first Russian version of the song was replaced midway through the series with an alternate rendition that contained completely different lyrics.
The series aired in India on Doordarshan, dubbed in Hindi. The title track was sung in Hindi by Chetan Shasital. The features were dubbed and the episodes has voice cast of Chetan Shasital, Javed Jaffery, Rakshanda Khan and others. In many countries, the theme song was performed by well-known singers (like in Finland, where it was sung by Pave Maijanen, or in Germany, where it was sung by Thomas Anders in English).
In Spanish speaking countries of Latin America, the series was called Pato aventuras (Duck Adventures). Scrooge McDuck is called "Rico McPato" and the nephews were translated as Hugo, Paco, and Luis, keeping the names of the translated vintage cartoons and comic books. In Spain, while the Latin American dub was used for the first broadcast, a high-quality local dub was produced afterwards, keeping the local "Gilito/Juanito/Jaimito/Jorgito" names for the characters. In Brazil, the series was called "Duck Tales: os Caçadores de Aventuras" (Duck Tales: the Adventure Hunters).
In Italy, the series was called Avventure di paperi.
In France, the series was called La bande à Picsou (McDuck's gang). The french name of Scrooge McDuck is Balthazar Picsou. Scrooge's last name Picsou comes from a french expression Pique-Sou putting an emphasis around Scrooge's stingy behavior. Huey Dewey, and Louie are called Fifi, Riri and Loulou.
In Hungary, the term "DuckTales generation" (Kacsamesék generáció) refers to the people who were born in the early to mid-1980s, because the death of József Antall, the first democratically elected Prime Minister of Hungary, was announced during a DuckTales episode in 1993. This was the generation's first encounter with politics.
In Romania, the series was called Povești cu Mac-Mac (Stories with Mac-Mac). Only the episodes 1-65 were dubbed and aired. Scrooge McDuck was dubbed by a well-known actor, Gheorghe Dinică, until his death (only 5 episodes remained after his death). After Gheorghe Dinică's death, Valentin Uritescu dubbed Scrooge (episodes 50, 57, 60, 64, 65). Also, Angela Filipescu provided the voices of Huey, Dewey and Louie, Tamara Buciuceanu-Botez provides the voice of Ms. Beakley, Mihaela Mitrache was Webbigail along with the great master Cornel Vulpe as Duckworth. The series was broadcast on Prima TV and first aired on TVR1 in 1994 and the dubbing studio who provide the Romanian version is Ager Film. The intro song was performed by a winner from Mamaia Festival, Alin Cibian.
In the Philippines, the series was broadcast on GMA Network from 1988 to 1993.
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For the Carly Simon album, see Film Noir (album).
Two silhouetted figures in The Big Combo (1955). The film's cinematographer was John Alton, the creator of many of film noir's stylized images.
Years active early 1920s – late 1950s
Country United States
Influences German Expressionism,
French poetic realism,
American hardboiled fiction,
Art Deco (scenography)
Influenced French New Wave, Neo-noir
Film noir (/nwɑːr/; French: [film nwaʁ]) is a cinematic term used primarily to describe stylish Hollywood crime dramas, particularly those that emphasize cynical attitudes and sexual motivations. Hollywood's classical film noir period is generally regarded as extending from the early 1920s to the late 1950s. Film noir of this era is associated with a low-key, black-and-white visual style that has roots in German Expressionist cinematography. Many of the prototypical stories and much of the attitude of classic noir derive from the hardboiled school of crime fiction that emerged in the United States during the Great Depression.
The term film noir, French for "black film" (literal) or "dark film" (closer meaning), was first applied to Hollywood films by French critic Nino Frank in 1946, but was unrecognized by most American film industry professionals of that era. Cinema historians and critics defined the category retrospectively. Before the notion was widely adopted in the 1970s, many of the classic film noir[a] were referred to as "melodramas". Whether film noir qualifies as a distinct genre is a matter of ongoing debate among scholars.
Film noir encompasses a range of plots: the central figure may be a private investigator (The Big Sleep), a plainclothes policeman (The Big Heat), an aging boxer (The Set-Up), a hapless grifter (Night and the City), a law-abiding citizen lured into a life of crime (Gun Crazy), or simply a victim of circumstance (D.O.A.). Although film noir was originally associated with American productions, the term has been used to describe films from around the world. Many films released from the 1960s onward share attributes with film noirs of the classical period, and often treat its conventions self-referentially. Some refer to such latter-day works as neo-noir. The clichés of film noir have inspired parody since the mid-1940s.
1 Problems of definition
2.1 Cinematic sources
2.2 Literary sources
3 Classic period
3.2 Directors and the business of noir
4 Outside the United States
5 Neo-noir and echoes of the classic mode
5.1 1960s and 1970s
5.2 1980s and 1990s
5.3 2000s and 2010s
5.4 Science fiction noir
7 Identifying characteristics
7.1 Visual style
7.2 Structure and narrational devices
7.3 Plots, characters, and settings
7.4 Worldview, morality, and tone
8 See also
12 Further reading
13 External links
Problems of definition
File:The stranger (1946).webm
The Stranger, full film
The questions of what defines film noir, and what sort of category it is, provoke continuing debate. "We'd be oversimplifying things in calling film noir oneiric, strange, erotic, ambivalent, and cruel ..."—this set of attributes constitutes the first of many attempts to define film noir made by French critics Raymond Borde and Étienne Chaumeton in their 1955 book Panorama du film noir américain 1941–1953 (A Panorama of American Film Noir), the original and seminal extended treatment of the subject. They emphasize that not every film noir embodies all five attributes in equal measure—one might be more dreamlike; another, particularly brutal. The authors' caveats and repeated efforts at alternative definition have been echoed in subsequent scholarship: in the more than five decades since, there have been innumerable further attempts at definition, yet in the words of cinema historian Mark Bould, film noir remains an "elusive phenomenon ... always just out of reach".
Though film noir is often identified with a visual style, unconventional within a Hollywood context, that emphasizes low-key lighting and unbalanced compositions, films commonly identified as noir evidence a variety of visual approaches, including ones that fit comfortably within the Hollywood mainstream. Film noir similarly embraces a variety of genres, from the gangster film to the police procedural to the gothic romance to the social problem picture—any example of which from the 1940s and 1950s, now seen as noir's classical era, was likely to be described as a melodrama at the time.
While many critics refer to film noir as a genre itself, others argue that it can be no such thing. Foster Hirsch defines a genre as determined by "conventions of narrative structure, characterization, theme, and visual design". Hirsch, as one who has taken the position that film noir is a genre, argues that these elements are present "in abundance". Hirsch notes that there are unifying features of tone, visual style and narrative sufficient to classify noir as a distinct genre.
Others argue that film noir is not a genre. Film noir is often associated with an urban setting, but many classic noirs take place in small towns, suburbia, rural areas, or on the open road; setting, therefore, cannot be its genre determinant, as with the Western. Similarly, while the private eye and the femme fatale are character types conventionally identified with noir, the majority of film noirs feature neither; so there is no character basis for genre designation as with the gangster film. Nor does film noir rely on anything as evident as the monstrous or supernatural elements of the horror film, the speculative leaps of the science fiction film, or the song-and-dance routines of the musical.
An analogous case is that of the screwball comedy, widely accepted by film historians as constituting a "genre": the screwball is defined not by a fundamental attribute, but by a general disposition and a group of elements, some—but rarely and perhaps never all—of which are found in each of the genre's films. Because of the diversity of noir (much greater than that of the screwball comedy), certain scholars in the field, such as film historian Thomas Schatz, treat it as not a genre but a "style". Alain Silver, the most widely published American critic specializing in film noir studies, refers to film noir as a "cycle" and a "phenomenon", even as he argues that it has—like certain genres—a consistent set of visual and thematic codes. Other critics treat film noir as a "mood", characterize it as a "series", or simply address a chosen set of films they regard as belonging to the noir "canon". There is no consensus on the matter.
Marlene Dietrich, an actress frequently called upon to play a femme fatale
The aesthetics of film noir are influenced by German Expressionism, an artistic movement of the 1910s and 1920s that involved theater, photography, painting, sculpture and architecture, as well as cinema. The opportunities offered by the booming Hollywood film industry and then the threat of Nazism, led to the emigration of many film artists working in Germany who had been involved in the Expressionist movement or studied with its practitioners. M (1931), shot only a few years before director Fritz Lang's departure from Germany, is among the first crime films of the sound era to join a characteristically noirish visual style with a noir-type plot, in which the protagonist is a criminal (as are his most successful pursuers). Directors such as Lang, Robert Siodmak and Michael Curtiz brought a dramatically shadowed lighting style and a psychologically expressive approach to visual composition (mise-en-scène), with them to Hollywood, where they made some of the most famous classic noirs.
By 1931, Curtiz had already been in Hollywood for half a decade, making as many as six films a year. Movies of his such as 20,000 Years in Sing Sing (1932) and Private Detective 62 (1933) are among the early Hollywood sound films arguably classifiable as noir—scholar Marc Vernet offers the latter as evidence that dating the initiation of film noir to 1940 or any other year is "arbitrary". Expressionism-orientated filmmakers had free stylistic rein in Universal horror pictures such as Dracula (1931), The Mummy (1932)—the former photographed and the latter directed by the Berlin-trained Karl Freund—and The Black Cat (1934), directed by Austrian émigré Edgar G. Ulmer. The Universal horror film that comes closest to noir, in story and sensibility is The Invisible Man (1933), directed by Englishman James Whale and photographed by American Arthur Edeson. Edeson later photographed The Maltese Falcon (1941), widely regarded as the first major film noir of the classic era.
Josef von Sternberg was directing in Hollywood during the same period. Films of his such as Shanghai Express (1932) and The Devil Is a Woman (1935), with their hothouse eroticism and baroque visual style, anticipated central elements of classic noir. The commercial and critical success of Sternberg's silent Underworld (1927) was largely responsible for spurring a trend of Hollywood gangster films. Successful films in that genre such as Little Caesar (1931), The Public Enemy (1931) and Scarface (1932) demonstrated that there was an audience for crime dramas with morally reprehensible protagonists. An important, possibly influential, cinematic antecedent to classic noir was 1930s French poetic realism, with its romantic, fatalistic attitude and celebration of doomed heroes. The movement's sensibility is mirrored in the Warner Bros. drama I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang (1932), a forerunner of noir. Among films not considered film noirs, perhaps none had a greater effect on the development of the genre than Citizen Kane (1941), directed by Orson Welles. Its visual intricacy and complex, voiceover narrative structure are echoed in dozens of classic film noirs.
Italian neorealism of the 1940s, with its emphasis on quasi-documentary authenticity, was an acknowledged influence on trends that emerged in American noir. The Lost Weekend (1945), directed by Billy Wilder, another Vienna-born, Berlin-trained American auteur, tells the story of an alcoholic in a manner evocative of neorealism. It also exemplifies the problem of classification: one of the first American films to be described as a film noir, it has largely disappeared from considerations of the field. Director Jules Dassin of The Naked City (1948) pointed to the neorealists as inspiring his use of location photography with non-professional extras. This semidocumentary approach characterized a substantial number of noirs in the late 1940s and early 1950s. Along with neorealism, the style had an American precedent cited by Dassin, in director Henry Hathaway's The House on 92nd Street (1945), which demonstrated the parallel influence of the cinematic newsreel.
Magazine cover with illustration of a terrified-looking, red-haired young woman gagged and bound to a post. She is wearing a low-cut, arm-bearing yellow top and a red skirt. In front of her, a man with a large scar on his cheek and a furious expression heats a branding iron over a gas stove. In the background, a man wearing a trenchcoat and fedora and holding a revolver enters through a doorway. The text includes the tagline "Smashing Detective Stories" and the cover story's title, "Finger Man".
The October 1934 issue of Black Mask featured the first appearance of the detective character whom Raymond Chandler developed into the famous Philip Marlowe.
The primary literary influence on film noir was the hardboiled school of American detective and crime fiction, led in its early years by such writers as Dashiell Hammett (whose first novel, Red Harvest, was published in 1929) and James M. Cain (whose The Postman Always Rings Twice appeared five years later), and popularized in pulp magazines such as Black Mask. The classic film noirs The Maltese Falcon (1941) and The Glass Key (1942) were based on novels by Hammett; Cain's novels provided the basis for Double Indemnity (1944), Mildred Pierce (1945), The Postman Always Rings Twice (1946), and Slightly Scarlet (1956; adapted from Love's Lovely Counterfeit). A decade before the classic era, a story by Hammett was the source for the gangster melodrama City Streets (1931), directed by Rouben Mamoulian and photographed by Lee Garmes, who worked regularly with Sternberg. Released the month before Lang's M, City Streets has a claim to being the first major film noir; both its style and story had many noir characteristics.
Raymond Chandler, who debuted as a novelist with The Big Sleep in 1939, soon became the most famous author of the hardboiled school. Not only were Chandler's novels turned into major noirs—Murder, My Sweet (1944; adapted from Farewell, My Lovely), The Big Sleep (1946), and Lady in the Lake (1947)—he was an important screenwriter in the genre as well, producing the scripts for Double Indemnity, The Blue Dahlia (1946), and Strangers on a Train (1951). Where Chandler, like Hammett, centered most of his novels and stories on the character of the private eye, Cain featured less heroic protagonists and focused more on psychological exposition than on crime solving; the Cain approach has come to be identified with a subset of the hardboiled genre dubbed "noir fiction". For much of the 1940s, one of the most prolific and successful authors of this often downbeat brand of suspense tale was Cornell Woolrich (sometimes under the pseudonym George Hopley or William Irish). No writer's published work provided the basis for more film noirs of the classic period than Woolrich's: thirteen in all, including Black Angel (1946), Deadline at Dawn (1946), and Fear in the Night (1947).
Another crucial literary source for film noir was W. R. Burnett, whose first novel to be published was Little Caesar, in 1929. It was turned into a hit for Warner Bros. in 1931; the following year, Burnett was hired to write dialogue for Scarface, while The Beast of the City (1932) was adapted from one of his stories. At least one important reference work identifies the latter as a film noir despite its early date. Burnett's characteristic narrative approach fell somewhere between that of the quintessential hardboiled writers and their noir fiction compatriots—his protagonists were often heroic in their own way, which happened to be that of the gangster. During the classic era, his work, either as author or screenwriter, was the basis for seven films now widely regarded as film noirs, including three of the most famous: High Sierra (1941), This Gun for Hire (1942), and The Asphalt Jungle (1950).
The 1940s and 1950s are generally regarded as the "classic period" of American film noir. While City Streets and other pre-WWII crime melodramas such as Fury (1936) and You Only Live Once (1937), both directed by Fritz Lang, are categorized as full-fledged noir in Alain Silver and Elizabeth Ward's film noir encyclopedia, other critics tend to describe them as "proto-noir" or in similar terms.
The film now most commonly cited as the first "true" film noir is Stranger on the Third Floor (1940), directed by Latvian-born, Soviet-trained Boris Ingster. Hungarian émigré Peter Lorre—who had starred in Lang's M—was top-billed, although he did not play the primary lead. He later played secondary roles in several other formative American noirs. Although modestly budgeted, at the high end of the B movie scale, Stranger on the Third Floor still lost its studio, RKO, US$56,000 (equivalent to $1,001,482 in 2018), almost a third of its total cost. Variety magazine found Ingster's work: "...too studied and when original, lacks the flare to hold attention. It's a film too arty for average audiences, and too humdrum for others." Stranger on the Third Floor was not recognized as the beginning of a trend, let alone a new genre, for many decades.
Whoever went to the movies with any regularity during 1946 was caught in the midst of Hollywood's profound postwar affection for morbid drama. From January through December deep shadows, clutching hands, exploding revolvers, sadistic villains and heroines tormented with deeply rooted diseases of the mind flashed across the screen in a panting display of psychoneurosis, unsublimated sex and murder most foul.
Donald Marshman, Life (August 25, 1947)
Most film noirs of the classic period were similarly low- and modestly-budgeted features without major stars—B movies either literally or in spirit. In this production context, writers, directors, cinematographers, and other craftsmen were relatively free from typical big-picture constraints. There was more visual experimentation than in Hollywood filmmaking as a whole: the Expressionism now closely associated with noir and the semi-documentary style that later emerged represent two very different tendencies. Narrative structures sometimes involved convoluted flashbacks uncommon in non-noir commercial productions. In terms of content, enforcement of the Production Code ensured that no film character could literally get away with murder or be seen sharing a bed with anyone but a spouse; within those bounds, however, many films now identified as noir feature plot elements and dialogue that were very risqué for the time.
Black-and-white image of a man and a woman sitting side by side on a couch, viewed at an angle. The man, in profile in the left foreground, stares off to the right of frame. He wears a trenchcoat, and his face is shadowed by a fedora. He holds a cigarette in his left hand. The woman, to the right and rear, stares at him. She wears a dark dress and lipstick of a deeply saturated hue.
Out of the Past (1947) features many of the genre's hallmarks: a cynical private detective as the protagonist, a femme fatale, multiple flashbacks with voiceover narration, dramatically shadowed photography, and a fatalistic mood leavened with provocative banter. The film stars noir icons Robert Mitchum and Jane Greer.
Thematically, film noirs were most exceptional for the relative frequency with which they centered on women of questionable virtue—a focus that had become rare in Hollywood films after the mid-1930s and the end of the pre-Code era. The signal film in this vein was Double Indemnity, directed by Billy Wilder; setting the mold was Barbara Stanwyck's unforgettable femme fatale, Phyllis Dietrichson—an apparent nod to Marlene Dietrich, who had built her extraordinary career playing such characters for Sternberg. An A-level feature all the way, the film's commercial success and seven Oscar nominations made it probably the most influential of the early noirs. A slew of now-renowned noir "bad girls" followed, such as those played by Rita Hayworth in Gilda (1946), Lana Turner in The Postman Always Rings Twice (1946), Ava Gardner in The Killers (1946), and Jane Greer in Out of the Past (1947). The iconic noir counterpart to the femme fatale, the private eye, came to the fore in films such as The Maltese Falcon (1941), with Humphrey Bogart as Sam Spade, and Murder, My Sweet (1944), with Dick Powell as Philip Marlowe.
The prevalence of the private eye as a lead character declined in film noir of the 1950s, a period during which several critics describe the form as becoming more focused on extreme psychologies and more exaggerated in general. A prime example is Kiss Me Deadly (1955); based on a novel by Mickey Spillane, the best-selling of all the hardboiled authors, here the protagonist is a private eye, Mike Hammer. As described by Paul Schrader, "Robert Aldrich's teasing direction carries noir to its sleaziest and most perversely erotic. Hammer overturns the underworld in search of the 'great whatsit' [which] turns out to be—joke of jokes—an exploding atomic bomb." Orson Welles's baroquely styled Touch of Evil (1958) is frequently cited as the last noir of the classic period. Some scholars believe film noir never really ended, but continued to transform even as the characteristic noir visual style began to seem dated and changing production conditions led Hollywood in different directions—in this view, post-1950s films in the noir tradition are seen as part of a continuity with classic noir. A majority of critics, however, regard comparable films made outside the classic era to be something other than genuine film noirs. They regard true film noir as belonging to a temporally and geographically limited cycle or period, treating subsequent films that evoke the classics as fundamentally different due to general shifts in filmmaking style and latter-day awareness of noir as a historical source for allusion.
Directors and the business of noir
Black-and-white image of a man and woman, both with downcast expressions, sitting side by side in the front seat of a convertible. The man, on the right, grips the steering wheel. He wears a jacket and a pullover shirt. The woman wears a checkered outfit. Behind them, in the night, the road is empty, with a two widely separated lights way off in the distance.
A scene from In a Lonely Place (1950), directed by Nicholas Ray and based on a novel by noir fiction writer Dorothy B. Hughes. Two of noir's defining actors, Gloria Grahame and Humphrey Bogart, portray star-crossed lovers in the film.
While the inceptive noir, Stranger on the Third Floor, was a B picture directed by a virtual unknown, many of the film noirs still remembered were A-list productions by well-known film makers. Debuting as a director with The Maltese Falcon (1941), John Huston followed with Key Largo (1948) and The Asphalt Jungle (1950). Opinion is divided on the noir status of several Alfred Hitchcock thrillers from the era; at least four qualify by consensus: Shadow of a Doubt (1943), Notorious (1946), Strangers on a Train (1951) and The Wrong Man (1956). Otto Preminger's success with Laura (1944) made his name and helped demonstrate noir's adaptability to a high-gloss 20th Century-Fox presentation. Among Hollywood's most celebrated directors of the era, arguably none worked more often in a noir mode than Preminger; his other noirs include Fallen Angel (1945), Whirlpool (1949), Where the Sidewalk Ends (1950) (all for Fox) and Angel Face (1952). A half-decade after Double Indemnity and The Lost Weekend, Billy Wilder made Sunset Boulevard (1950) and Ace in the Hole (1951), noirs that were not so much crime dramas as satires on Hollywood and the news media. In a Lonely Place (1950) was Nicholas Ray's breakthrough; his other noirs include his debut, They Live by Night (1948) and On Dangerous Ground (1952), noted for their unusually sympathetic treatment of characters alienated from the social mainstream.
Rita Hayworth in the trailer for The Lady from Shanghai (1947)
Orson Welles had notorious problems with financing but his three film noirs were well budgeted: The Lady from Shanghai (1947) received top-level, "prestige" backing, while The Stranger, his most conventional film and Touch of Evil, an unmistakably personal work, were funded at levels lower but still commensurate with headlining releases. Like The Stranger, Fritz Lang's The Woman in the Window (1945) was a production of the independent International Pictures. Lang's follow-up, Scarlet Street (1945), was one of the few classic noirs to be officially censored: filled with erotic innuendo, it was temporarily banned in Milwaukee, Atlanta and New York State. Scarlet Street was a semi-independent, cosponsored by Universal and Lang's Diana Productions, of which the film's co-star, Joan Bennett, was the second biggest shareholder. Lang, Bennett and her husband, the Universal veteran and Diana production head Walter Wanger, made Secret Beyond the Door (1948) in similar fashion.
Before leaving the United States while subject to the Hollywood blacklist, Jules Dassin made two classic noirs that also straddled the major–independent line: Brute Force (1947) and the influential documentary-style The Naked City were developed by producer Mark Hellinger, who had an "inside/outside" contract with Universal similar to Wanger's. Years earlier, working at Warner Bros., Hellinger had produced three films for Raoul Walsh, the proto-noirs They Drive by Night (1940), Manpower (1941) and High Sierra (1941), now regarded as a seminal work in noir's development. Walsh had no great name during his half-century as a director but his noirs White Heat (1949) and The Enforcer (1951) had A-list stars and are seen as important examples of the cycle. Other directors associated with top-of-the-bill Hollywood film noirs include Edward Dmytryk (Murder, My Sweet , Crossfire )—the first important noir director to fall prey to the industry blacklist—as well as Henry Hathaway (The Dark Corner , Kiss of Death ) and John Farrow (The Big Clock , Night Has a Thousand Eyes ).
Most of the Hollywood films considered to be classic noirs fall into the category of the "B movie". Some were Bs in the most precise sense, produced to run on the bottom of double bills by a low-budget unit of one of the major studios or by one of the smaller Poverty Row outfits, from the relatively well-off Monogram to shakier ventures such as Producers Releasing Corporation (PRC). Jacques Tourneur had made over thirty Hollywood Bs (a few now highly regarded, most forgotten) before directing the A-level Out of the Past, described by scholar Robert Ottoson as "the ne plus ultra of forties film noir". Movies with budgets a step up the ladder, known as "intermediates" by the industry, might be treated as A or B pictures depending on the circumstances. Monogram created Allied Artists in the late 1940s to focus on this sort of production. Robert Wise (Born to Kill , The Set-Up ) and Anthony Mann (T-Men  and Raw Deal ) each made a series of impressive intermediates, many of them noirs, before graduating to steady work on big-budget productions. Mann did some of his most celebrated work with cinematographer John Alton, a specialist in what James Naremore called "hypnotic moments of light-in-darkness". He Walked by Night (1948), shot by Alton and though credited solely to Alfred Werker, directed in large part by Mann, demonstrates their technical mastery and exemplifies the late 1940s trend of "police procedural" crime dramas. It was released, like other Mann-Alton noirs, by the small Eagle-Lion company; it was the inspiration for the Dragnet series, which debuted on radio in 1949 and television in 1951.
Movie poster with a border of diagonal black and white bands. On the upper right is a tagline: "He went searching for love ... but fate forced a DETOUR to Revelry ... Violence ... Mystery!" The image is a collage of stills: a man playing the clarinet; a smiling man and woman in evening dress; the same man, with a horrified expression, holding the body of another man with a bloody head injury; the body of a woman, asleep or dead, splayed out over the end of a bed, a telephone beside her; leaning against either side of a lamppost, the same man a third time, wearing a green suit and tie and holding a cigarette, and a woman wearing a knee-length red dress and black pumps, smoking. Credits at the bottom feature the names of three actors: Tom Neal, Ann Savage, and Claudia Drake.
Detour (1945) cost $117,000 to make when the biggest Hollywood studios spent around $600,000 on the average feature. Produced at small PRC, however, the film was 30 percent over budget.
Several directors associated with noir built well-respected oeuvres largely at the B-movie/intermediate level. Samuel Fuller's brutal, visually energetic films such as Pickup on South Street (1953) and Underworld U.S.A. (1961) earned him a unique reputation; his advocates praise him as "primitive" and "barbarous". Joseph H. Lewis directed noirs as diverse as Gun Crazy (1950) and The Big Combo (1955). The former—whose screenplay was written by the blacklisted Dalton Trumbo, disguised by a front—features a bank hold-up sequence shown in an unbroken take of over three minutes that was influential. The Big Combo was shot by John Alton and took the shadowy noir style to its outer limits. The most distinctive films of Phil Karlson (The Phenix City Story  and The Brothers Rico ) tell stories of vice organized on a monstrous scale. The work of other directors in this tier of the industry, such as Felix E. Feist (The Devil Thumbs a Ride , Tomorrow Is Another Day ), has become obscure. Edgar G. Ulmer spent most of his Hollywood career working at B studios and once in a while on projects that achieved intermediate status; for the most part, on unmistakable Bs. In 1945, while at PRC, he directed a noir cult classic, Detour. Ulmer's other noirs include Strange Illusion (1945), also for PRC; Ruthless (1948), for Eagle-Lion, which had acquired PRC the previous year and Murder Is My Beat (1955), for Allied Artists.
A number of low- and modestly-budgeted noirs were made by independent, often actor-owned, companies contracting with larger studios for distribution. Serving as producer, writer, director and top-billed performer, Hugo Haas made films like Pickup (1951) and The Other Woman (1954). It was in this way that accomplished noir actress Ida Lupino established herself as the sole female director in Hollywood during the late 1940s and much of the 1950s. She does not appear in the best-known film she directed, The Hitch-Hiker (1953), developed by her company, The Filmakers, with support and distribution by RKO. It is one of the seven classic film noirs produced largely outside of the major studios that have been chosen for the United States National Film Registry. Of the others, one was a small-studio release: Detour. Four were independent productions distributed by United Artists, the "studio without a studio": Gun Crazy; Kiss Me Deadly; D.O.A. (1950), directed by Rudolph Maté and Sweet Smell of Success (1957), directed by Alexander Mackendrick. One was an independent distributed by MGM, the industry leader: Force of Evil (1948), directed by Abraham Polonsky and starring John Garfield, both of whom were blacklisted in the 1950s. Independent production usually meant restricted circumstances but Sweet Smell of Success, despite the plans of the production team, was clearly not made on the cheap, though like many other cherished A-budget noirs, it might be said to have a B-movie soul.
Perhaps no director better displayed that spirit than the German-born Robert Siodmak, who had already made a score of films before his 1940 arrival in Hollywood. Working mostly on A features, he made eight films now regarded as classic-era film noirs (a figure matched only by Lang and Mann). In addition to The Killers, Burt Lancaster's debut and a Hellinger/Universal co-production, Siodmak's other important contributions to the genre include 1944's Phantom Lady (a top-of-the-line B and Woolrich adaptation), the ironically titled Christmas Holiday (1944), and Cry
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