Film Noir (Insider Film)

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Film Noir is an overview of an often celebrated, but also contested, body of films. It discusses film noir as a cultural phenomenon whose history is more extensive and diverse than American black and white crime thrillers of the forties.
An extended Background Chapter situates film noir within its cultural context, describing its origin in German Expressionism, French Poetic Realism and in developments within American genres, the gangster/crime thriller, horror and the Gothic romance and its possible relationship to changes in American society.
Five chapters are devoted to ‘classic’ film noir (1940-59):
chapters explore its contexts of production and reception, its visual style, and its narrative patterns and themes chapters on character types and star performances elucidate noir’s complex construction of gender with its weak, ambivalent males and predatory femmes fatales and also provide a detailed analysis of three noir auteurs, – Anthony Mann, Robert Siodmak and Fritz Lang

Three chapters investigate ‘neo-noir’ and British film noir:
chapters trace the complex evolution of ‘neo-noir’ in American cinema, from the modernist critiques of Night Moves and Taxi Driver, to the postmodern hybridity of contemporary noir including Seven, Pulp Fiction and Memento the final chapter surveys the development of British film noir, a significant and virtually unknown cinema, stretching from the thirties to Mike Hodges’ Croupier

Films discussed include both little known examples and seminal works such as Double Indemnity, Scarlet Street, Kiss Me Deadly and Touch of Evil. A final section provides a guide to further reading, an extensive bibliography and a list of over 500 films referred to in the text. Lucidly written, Film Noir is an accessible, informative and stimulating introduction that will have a broad appeal to undergraduates, cinéastes, film teachers and researchers.

Product Details

  • Series: Insider Film
  • Paperback: 264 pages
  • Publisher: Longman; 1st edition (May 31, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0582437121
  • ISBN-13: 978-0582437128
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.4 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds

Customer Reviews

A Brilliant Trip Down These Mean Streets

36 helpful votes
 on December 6, 2002
By Michael Samerdyke
This is a textbook designed to introduce film noir to college students. However, it could be read with profit by anyone with an interest in the film noir phenomenon.

Four Stars

1 helpful vote
 on October 18, 2016
By Katie
It’s kind of dry but very informative.

Find "film" Noir" here

1 helpful vote
 on December 15, 2013
By R. Mirisch
Useful book for the serious film student. Helpful lists and very good photographs. Often quoted in other books on film noir

Really helpful

1 helpful vote
 on December 16, 2014
By Chasity
Really helpful for film noir class.

Excellent Intro to Film Noir Theory. Concise and Readable.

27 helpful votes
 on August 11, 2004
By mirasreviews
“Film Noir” is an excellent introduction to film noir theory. Author Andrew Spicer, a professor of film studies, has packed all of the key definitions, elements, and influences on film noir into just over 200 very readable pages. “Film Noir” is well organized, in the style of a text book. Pictures are few, as are detailed descriptions of plots. The book covers both classic and neo-noir,1940-2000, with about half of the book dedicated to each. The discussion of classic noir includes the definitions and evolution of the style, the conditions of production, themes, narrative strategies, gender roles, and three noir auteurs (Anthony Mann, Robert Siodmark, Fritz Lang). Spicer divides neo-noir into two periods: modernist and post-modern. Modernist refers to the 1967-1976 period when films were characterized by the near-complete collapse of the Hollywood studio system, unprecedented directorial power, and a conspicuous absence of femmes fatales. The post-modern era began in 1981, with studios jumping back into the noir picture and dedicating big budgets and big stars to noirs, betting on commercial success. Most of the films discussed in “Film Noir” are American, but the book’s last chapter is dedicated to British film noir. Appendices (although they are not labeled as such) include excellent lists of American and British film noirs, organized chronologically and grouped by era. There is an index of names and an index of films. “Film Noir” is academic, but it’s a good, concise analysis for anyone who wants analysis but isn’t up to heavy-duty film theory that is so often tedious. It’s a very readable, useful intro to film noir theory, covering 60 years of American and British noir, with the occasional reference to German and French films as well.

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