BOOK NEWS: Film Noir

Geekdom comes in all kinds of forms, so excuse me if this little tidbit doesn’t fit the usual pattern around here.

Just wanted to give you the heads up about a book that is coming out in February called Film Noir, published by Taschen.  Here’s what they promise:-

‘Beginning with a general overview of film noir and covering its most important themes chapter by chapter (lovers plan murder, corrupt police, doomed love, psychological noir, etc.), this copiously illustrated handbook provides instant and in-depth access to the film noir genre for amateurs and aficionados alike.’

Now, I’ve been a fan of Film Noir since before I knew what it was.  Being the last kid in our village to get a colour tv I saw most things in black and white until I was about ten years old, so films being shot in monochrome has never been a barrier between me and old movies.  I would lap up anything as a kid from musicals to Westerns, tear-jerkers to slapstick, but the ones that have stayed with me most over the years have tended largely to fall under the category of Film Noir.

We’re talking gritty dramas, hardened criminals, crusty gumshoes, lousy dames, all soaked in smoke and whisky.  They played on psychology as much as brutality, with a heightened emotion that often left glasses smashed and shocked silences.  Frankly Hollywood just doesn’t make ’em like this any more.  Thankfully there’s a huge back catalogue of films out there and you can often pick up the dvds pretty cheaply in places as diverse as HMV, Poundland, Amazon and The Works.

With such a wide subject it can be useful to have a guide to the top films to seek out and the hidden gems you’ve probably missed.  Enter Taschen with this hardback extravaganza.  I’m hoping to get a review copy soon, but in the meantime here’s a pedigree of the folks involved to whet your appetite.

‘The editor:
Paul Duncan has edited 50 film books for TASCHEN, including the award-winning The Ingmar Bergman Archives, and authored Alfred Hitchcock and Stanley Kubrick in the Film Series.

The authors:
Film producer, critic and historian Alain Silver is the author of 20 books on cinematic topics, including The Noir Style, LA Noir, the Film Noir Reader series, and Steve McQueen, Frank Sinatra, and Katharine Hepburn for TASCHEN’s Icon Series. His audio commentaries on classic film noir DVDs include Call Northside 777 and Double Indemnity. A member of the Directors Guild of America, the Screen Actors Guild, and the Writers Guild of America, he graduated from UCLA with degrees in film production and critical studies.

James Ursini has co-written eleven books with Alain Silver, including their Film Noir Reader series, which established them as two of the foremost authorities on film noir. Ursini has also written for various film magazines and supplied the commentary for numerous classic film noir DVDs. He has a doctorate in motion pictures studies and lectures on filmmaking in the Los Angeles area.’

So whaddya reckon – sound like it’s up your alley?  I’m gonna be revisiting a few of the classics in my late night dvd sessions over the next few weeks, and my creative writing has taken a distinctly noirish tone since I read the Straight Razor Cure recently.

Looks to me like Noir is the new black 😀

GS Reporter: Dion Winton-Polak

You can hear me blather about books on Scrolls, the podcast for literary geekdom here on the Geek Syndicate Network.
Follow me on Twitter @Dion_Scrolls too if you like.

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