RARA-AVIS: A Mathematical Answer to What Films are Noir

From: Jeff Vorzimmer ( jvorzimmer@austin.rr.com)
Date: 05 Aug 2007

I've read a lot of essays on film noir and there are a lot of different views on what films should be included, what film was the first, the last, etc. So I wondered if mathematics could yield the answers to some of these questions. By using standard deviation and a sample of over 200 movies considered by a general consensus to be film noir and then sorting them by year to yield a standard distribution model I came up with some interesting results. The peak year for film noir was 1949. Some 95% of all movies considered noir were made from 1940 to 1958. The first film that falls within the 95 percent deviation: Stranger on the Third Floor.


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