The Visual Power of Venetian Blinds In Cinema

Cinema has a way of making the most innocuous daily objects appear as profound narrative tools. The colour of a dress, the flicker of a flame or the placement of a domestic object – all of these can be a subtle signifier to a greater narrative thread.

Simply put, what appears on screen and how it is arranged (the mise-en-scene for film buffs out there) is incredibly important to a film’s ability to tell an effective visual story. For a little fun, we’ve compiled a handful of screenshots where Venetian blinds are used with great cinematic effect in film noir. Enjoy!

As you can see in the above shot, the shadows cast by Venetian blinds are used to great effect in creating a sinister sense of mystery. In fact, this style of lighting was often used in early Hollywood as it was cost effective and offered a bold aesthetic presence. Double Indemnity is a cultural landmark of the film noir genre which subsequently birthed countless Hollywood tropes that are still used and abused today.

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  • Psycho – 1960 (Alfred Hitchcock)

What is there to say about Psycho that hasn’t already been gushed by decade’s worth of academic analysis? Hitchcock always had a singular talent at bringing out flawless stylised resonance in every picture he shot and as you can see here, he was also rather partial to the old Venetian blind effect.

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When LA Confidential appeared at Cannes Film Festival nearly two decades ago, the studio was quite oddly opposed to the idea. The film went on to earn a level of universal critical appraisal not seen since Hollywood’s golden era and became an instant neo-noir classic. We recommend searching this one out for a reminder of how to do noir right with a contemporary approach – Venetian blinds and all.

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You’ve not seen The Godfather!? Good – it’s overrated… just kidding! Here’s Marlon Brando in front of some Venetian blinds – what a man.

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Got any classic Venetian blind moments from cinema to share with us? Let Barnes Blinds know on Facebook and Twitter.