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Film Noir

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Classic noir flicks of the 1940s-50s, illustrated and examined Beginning with a general overview of film noir and covering its most important themes ... Show synopsis

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Reviews of Film Noir

Overall customer rating: 5.000
Spelvini

Black Film

by Spelvini on Jun 11, 2008

Film Noir: An Encyclopedia Reference To The American Style is just what it says. It has everything listed and is a ready resource for some rare films you will want to see after reading one of the tidy intelligent explications in the book. Each film listed in the book is covered completely with in-depth cast listings, Directors, Cinematographers, ADs, material that the film originated from and many incidentals that will be great at cocktail parties, or next time you?re mixing with one of your Sundance Festival wannabe buddies! ?City That Never Sleeps? and ?Ride the Pink Horse? are 2 examples of fine noir films with very little profile but excellent stories, and Film Noir: An Encyclopedia Reference To The American Style gives them plenty of air. But also listed is ?Dirty Harry? (a detective story with particular noir touches), and ?Hustle? (a little-known Robert Aldrich film with Burt Reynolds cast with Catherine Deneuve!)- many treats are in this book! The big down side is that there aren?t enough production photos to accompany the text. The story breakdowns are really fine, and the production details are in-depth, but because it?s so text-heavy the book feels a little too academic. We want to see how the films look - I mean the most important thing about movies is the visual stuff, right?! The book does cover exceedingly well the characteristics and overall paradigm of the American Style called Film Noir (as the French tagged it). This style of film-making dictated more by budget than thematic expression developed in America in the 40s- and the French called it ?black film? or Film Noir as a nick name on the mood and visuals of the films of the period. It is more a mood than a style, so that many films can have ?noirish? qualities. Many of the New Wave films of the 60s coming out of France copied the Noir story-telling techniques and visual styling. The introductory pages in Film Noir: An Encyclopedia Reference To The American Style is a complete and lucid overview and analysis of the Film Noir style, its human concerns, characteristics, and visual themes. Many rare generally unknown films are given a good breakdown. I use the book to read about my favorite films such as ?Kiss Me Deadly?, ?The Big Sleep?, and ?Touch of Evil?. I have also found that it is a great resource for info on films that I might want to see like ?Fear In The Night?, a small but wonderful film starring Deforest Kelly who later starred as Dr. McCoy in the Star Trek series on TV. Another gem I discovered by looking through the book is ?Ride The Pink Horse? directed by and starring Robert Montgomery and based on Dorothy Hughes? novel. Also covered are what essentially considered neo-noir films like Robert Altman?s ?The Long Goodbye?, based on Raymond Chandler?s novel- a reinterpretation of Philip Marlow in 70s Los Angeles, sloppy, slouchy and metaphoric of the anachronism of the noir style itself, and ?Taxi Driver?, driven (pun intended) by Robert De Niro?s performance (? you talkin? to me??!), to re-establish the noir elements in our own fractured and schizophrenic Post-modern world. Film Noir is said to be an exclusively American stylized film genre. In its world the rain-soaked streets, shadowy doorways, and marginally moral characters attract our attention because of the mystery they seem to be entrenched in.

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