A wave of film noir is due on DVD shortly, hurrah!
From the Wikipedia link above:
Film noir tends to feature characters trapped in a situation (often a situation not of their making) and making choices out of desperation. Frequent themes are murder, betrayal, and infidelity. Films noirs tend to include dramatic shadows and stark contrast (a technique called low-key lighting).
Ahh, that’s the stuff. Wikipedia crosslinks to a title list. Noirfilm is a sort of noir-lovers’ co-op. Classic Noir digs a bit deeper than the box sets below. The site encourages browsers to pull a fast one, and check out a random film.
(“The Big Clock” was a prominent influence on the Coen’s “Hudsucker Proxy,” for what it’s worth.)
Missing from these box sets is the terrific “Double Indemnity,” starring Fred MacMurray, Barbara Stanwyck and Edward G. Robinson.