Film Noir

The sunny blue skies and swaying palm trees are fine for postcards.

But Hollywood seemed to get L.A. best at night — in black and white — with menacing shadows moving down a dark hallway and a flickering street lamp outside illuminating something bad, if you could just figure out what.

Film noir is one of Hollywood's most enduring genres, a decidedly alternative history of L.A. The idea was that if you scratched beneath the surface of all that beauty and delight, you'd find things decidedly ugly and horrible.

William Holden found it when he decided to outrun the repo men and turned into one of those grand mansion off Sunset Boulevard. The police found him floating face first the estate's pool. Humphrey Bogart showed that writer's block and anger issues can be a bad combination in West Hollywood.

Film noir seemed populated with naive men and cunning women, those "femme fatales" like Lana Turner and Barbara Stanwyck who never had to look hard in L.A. to find someone willing to do in their inconvenient husbands. Ultimately, the genre left much to the imagination. No one is exactly sure what Bogart and /Bacall were up to in "The Big Sleep," and you don't need to know what "Jake, it's Chinatown" meant to know it wasn't good.

— Shelby Grad, who has been city editor of the Los Angeles Times since 2005.

Here's a look at some of the film noir stars and directors of who can be found on the Walk of Fame.If you do not see the person you are looking for below please search our complete list of the stars on the Walk of Fame. And, if you haven’t yet, check out The Times virtual tour of the stars.

14 thoughts about Film Noir

Share a thought about The Times’ “Film Noir” category

  • Which star best represents the group?
  • Does everyone here deserve to be on the list?
  • Who has been overlooked?