As a whole, ABC Family’s Pretty Little Liars have never shyed away from showing it’s appreciation to all – things classic so it is, therefore, unsurprising that it’s creators have taken this one step further in this week’s episode entitled ‘Shadow Play’ by paying a stylish tribute to the genre of noir by transforming the characters into the tough guys and brassy dames of post-World War II.
The special black and white episode, which took place mostly in Spencer’s drug – fuelled and overloaded mind, had been highly anticipated by it’s fans since the show’s producers released a promo for it, a few months back. Thankfully, our expectation was met with a fun, action – packed homage that was brought to life, in every way.
It is, therefore, fair to conclude that ‘Shadow Play’ was very much a project borne out of love and it is this deep appreciation for the genre that shines through in the visual style.
Every aspect of film noir has been covered from the beautifully haunting lighting of dimly seen coffee shops, the canted angels to make the audience feel off – balance, the Raymond Chandler inspired dialogue, the sound of piercing telephones and scores that heavily rely on strings to the less – obvious mise -en – scene of permanently wet streets that have been suddenly filled with fire escapes, shots of Mona’s face reflected in dozens of mirrors and mysterious, dark figures that are shown silhouetted against smoky backgrounds.
On the whole, both the show’s cast and crew deserve ample praise for embracing the 1940’s period thoroughly, turning what could have been a largely extraneous concept episode into a compelling piece of television.