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Film Noir [Paperback]

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Item description for Film Noir by Alain Silver...

General overview of film noir and covering its most important themes chapter by chapter. This illustrated book provides instant and in-depth access to the film noir genre.

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Item Specifications...

Pages   192
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 9.8" Width: 8" Height: 0.6"
Weight:   1.85 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   May 1, 2004
Publisher   Taschen
ISBN  3822822612  
ISBN13  9783822822616  

Availability  0 units.

More About Alain Silver

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Alain Silver is the author of The Samurai Film and Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles (with Elizabeth Ward). Among his other books, co-authored with James Ursini, are The Noir Style, The Vampire Film, Film Noir (Taschen), More Things than are Dreamt Of, L.A. Noir, and director studies of David Lean, Robert Aldrich and Roger Corman. He is co-editor of Film Noir: The Encyclopedia, four Film Noir Readers, Horror Film Reader, Gangster Film Reader and a contributor to Film Noir and Philosophy. Forthcoming are Where Danger Lives: Film Noir Graphics and Film Noir: the Directors. His produced screenplays include Kiss Daddy Goodbye, the Showtime feature Time at the Top, and an adaptation of Dostoevsky's White Nights, which he also directed. Selected feature credits as a producer include Crashing, Beat, Cyborg2, 10th & Wolf, Night Visitor, and Palmer's Pick-up. He has been a guest lecturer at film noir retrospectives in Palm Springs, Detroit, and Santa Fe, New Mexico and served as a moderator and panelist for numerous presentations sponsored by the Writers Guild of America, the Directors Guild of America, the American Film Market, and at the Torino, Cinequest, Pacific Northwest, Slamdance and Los Angeles Film Festivals. He has been interviewed as an expert on Raymond Chandler, film noir, the samurai film and vampire films for documentary programming produced by the BBC; TV-Ontario; E! Entertainment Television; Channel Four, UK; ZDF/Germany; Starz/Encore channel; the Sci-Fi Channel; the American Movie Channel and KCET Los Angeles. His DVD work includes audio or video commentaries for over two dozen titles from Warner Bros., 20th-Century Fox and Criterion including David Lean's Hobson's Choice and numerous classic period film noir such as Murder, My Sweet, Out of the Past, Thieves' Highway, Call Northside 777, Panic in the Streets, The Dark Corner, Laura, Double Indemnity, Kiss of Death, The Street with No Name, Crossfire, Lady in the Lake, Nightmare Alley, Brute Force, Tension, Mystery Street and Where Danger Lives. His essays accompany the Criterion releases of Samurai Spy and The Seven Samurai. He is a member of the Writers Guild of America west and Directors Guild of America and holds degrees in Theater Arts/Motion Pictures from U.C.L.A.

Alain Silver was born in 1947.

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Arts & Photography > Graphic Design > Pop Culture
2Books > Subjects > Entertainment > Movies > General
3Books > Subjects > Entertainment > Movies > History & Criticism

Reviews - What do customers think about Film Noir?

Great for the Film Noir Novice!  Jun 12, 2006
I am new to film noir, and I really enjoyed this book. Although it seems simply laid out, there is a lot of information in the book. When I bought the book, I didn't want to learn about every last noir film that has been made. I just wanted an overview of the genre and some key themes. I have read some essays on film noir, and found them difficult to understand. But this book organizes the subject in an easy-to-understand way. If you're new to this genre, I would recommend this book. However, if you've watched a lot of noir films, Alain Silver's other books, such as "Film Noir Reader" and "Encyclopedia of Film Noir" would be more suitable.
Sleek, Attractive Showcase of Film Noir Photos. But Light on Information.  Apr 29, 2006
"Film Noir", by noir scholars and pundits Alain Silver and James Ursini, is slick and pretty. I enjoyed reading through it and admiring the photos from some of my favorite films. It's certainly not a bad book, but I wonder who the target readership is. "Film Noir" isn't comprehensive enough to be a good introductory text, and it doesn't contain anything that readers with a basic understanding of the film noir movement don't already know. Maybe it's just supposed to be attractive. In that, the book succeeds. Its 9 3/4" x 8" cover is a thick, nicely bound and printed paperback. Inside are attractive black crepe endpapers and 192 slick black pages filled with over 180 (mostly black-and-white) photos and white-on-black text. You may want to wash your hands before cracking this book open. The problem of oily fingerprints on the shiny black pages is significant. The photographs are reproduced nicely, primarily shots from classic noir films with some publicity stills and behind-the-scenes photos mixed in. The photos are 2-to-a-page, full page, and 2-page spreads, all with captions.

After the obligatory "What is Noir?" introductory chapter, Silver and Ursini break film noir down into 10 categories or motifs, dedicating a chapter to each one: "The Perfect Crime", "The Fatalistic Nightmare", "The Burden of the Past", "The Caper Film", "Docu-Noir", "Love on the Run", "Male Violence", "Women in Film Noir", "The Private Eye", and "The Darkness and Corruption". The authors say a little about each motif and choose one film to represent it. In each chapter or category, we get an analysis of the film, discussion of its origins, and a bio of its director. The photographs are from the film being discussed as well as other films that share the motif. All of the text, including photo captions and quotations, is white on black background. This looks spiffy, but it may be difficult for some people to read. So we have a somewhat cursory discussion of 10 film noir motifs and 10 films, focusing on the classic era. That is followed, in the back of the book, by a chronology of the artistic movements and significant works related to film noir and a filmography of the films discussed. "Film Noir" is fun. Noir buffs may enjoy the pictures. It's just not especially useful.
Overview only--some rare pictures  Feb 27, 2005
I got a copy of this book as a gift (had I paid for it, I might have to deduct half a star), and it contains illustrations which I have never seen elsewhere. Those alone have some value. The problem with the Taschen approach is that it is not only multi-lingual but sometimes seems to be lowest common denominator as well. At this point in their long career of writing about noir, it's interesting to see a distilled text from the authors; but I must agree that in terms of analytical depth, it doesn't quite measure up to their book on "The Noir Style" or their anthology "Film Noir Reader" series. If you can't afford them all, buy those first.
The blackest book.  Jul 20, 2004
Essentially a photo book of film stills with eleven chapters covering the usual subjects. If you are new to this movie style the first chapter, What is 'Noir'?, explains the fascination with the themes, archetypes, visual iconography and dialogue. The other chapters expand on these main points.

I was, though, rather disappointed with this book, Alain Silver has done it before with his definitive text book 'Film Noir: An encyclopaedic reference to the American style' (ISBN 0517464675) and also with his photo book 'The Noir Style' (ISBN 0879517220) a beautiful coffee-table title with film stills and long captions revealing the essence of these great movies.

Other disappointments include a rather narrow focus on mainly ten movies, Criss Cross, Detour, Double Indemnity, Gun Crazy, In a Lonely Place, Kiss me Deadly, Out of the Past, The Reckless Moment, T-Men and Touch of Evil, which unfortunately does not include The Asphalt Jungle (OK, it's my favorite). No index, I really would expect one in this kind of book. The production, though beautifully printed, all the text is white out of black and I find this gets tiresome eventually, especially the tiny type of the Chronology and Bibliography, not to mention that printed matt black shows up finger marks easily.

I think the book is really only worth having as collection of movie stills and at the price is probably reasonable value.

***FOR A LOOK INSIDE click 'customer images' under the cover.


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