March 2012, ©2012, Wiley-Blackwell
- Brings together a range of perspectives on a topic that has been much discussed but remains notoriously ill-defined
- Traces the historical development of the genre, usefully exploring the relations between the films of the 1940s and 1950s that established the "noir" universe and the more recent films in which it has been frequently revived
- Employs a clear and intelligent writing style that makes this the perfect introduction to the genre
- Offers a thorough and engaging analysis of this popular area of film studies for students and scholars
- Presents an in-depth analysis of six key films, each exemplifying important trends of film noir: Murder, My Sweet; Out of the Past; Kiss Me Deadly; The Long Goodbye; Chinatown; and Seven
1 Introduction 1
2 Historical Overview 20
3 Critical Overview 50
4 Murder, My Sweet 73
5 Out of the Past 100
6 Kiss Me Deadly 123
7 The Long Goodbye 146
8 Chinatown 171
9 Seven 191
Further Reading 223
“It is the most comprehensive and lucid study of the genre I have read … I was also impressed with Luhr's handling of the shift in Hollywood from the 1930s to 1940s. The morally compromised "heroes" of the 1940s were unthinkable in the 1930s. Like all good film critics, Luhr makes me want to see my favorite films again because he has shown me things I missed. And then there are all those films I didn't see that are now on my list because of William Luhr.” (Carl Rollyson, 16 June 2012)
"A superb guide to the main streets, back alleys, penthouses and abandoned lots of film noir. A comprehensive survey of canonical movies, written with a fan's eye for noir's killer-cool and an academic's desire for contextual precision and analytical insight."
—Peter Stanfield, University of Kent
"William Luhr is the intrepid sleuth of cinema studies, tracking
down film noir under all the aliases – classic
noir, pre-noir, neo-noir – that its
infinite variety has produced. Writing with energy, clarity, and
verve, Luhr explodes narrow conceptions of noir as
conclusively as the Great Whatsit blew up postwar innocence in
Kiss Me Deadly. Carry a copy of this timely, spirited book
in your trenchcoat. It is a boon for film scholars, general
readers, and movie buffs alike."
—David Sterritt, Chairman, National Society of Film Critics
"Informed by a rich body of previous scholarship, conceptually
sophisticated, yet written with grace and clarity, Film Noir
by William Luhr provides an ideal introduction for students and
fans to the dark corner of American culture represented by these
gloriously perverse crime films."
—Jerry W Carlson, PhD, The City College & Graduate Center CUNY
"William Luhr, who knows all the many questions raised by film
noir, supplies lucid, elegant, provocative answers. His knowledge
is deep, his comments far-ranging. This is an essential addition to
the vast literature on the genre."
—Charles Affron, New York University
"Writing with broad expertise and deep sensibility, Professor
Luhr heightens our nostalgic delight in noir films while also
pointing to the lost spectatorial experience of film noir's once
—Chris Straayer, New York University Department of Cinema Studies
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