In 1946, French film critics coined the term film noir, meaning black or dark film, to describe a newly emergent quality in wartime Hollywood films. At that time, the term signified an unexpected strain of maturity in contemporary American film, marking the end of a creatively ossified era and the beginning of a bold new one. By the time the term achieved wide English language usage in the 1960s, however, it had come to mean dark Hollywood films of the past—films whose era and style were no longer current. Despite such a slippage in definition, film noir remains arguably the most protean and influential of American film forms. It has demonstrated a limitless capacity for reinvention, has undergone major cycles of redefinition, and has analogues not only in other national cinemas but also in radio, television, theater, fiction, graphic novels, comic books, advertising, and graphic design. The term has moved beyond the domain of film discourse and has been used to describe narratives in other media and genres. There is even a ''Film Noir' lipstick.
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