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Film Noir Encyclopedia

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The Film Noir Encyclopedia

Alain Silver, Robert Porfirio, Elizabeth Ward, and James Ursini

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ISBN 13: 9781590201442
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Product Description

Enter the world of film noir, a world of darkness, ambiguity, and moral corruption. Meet the cynical and obsessive heroes of film noir portrayed by actors like Humphrey Bogart, Peter Lorre, James Cageny, Joan Crawford, and Bette Davis. You may encounter a gun-toting gangster, a femme fatale wrapped in fur, a detective with the brim of his hat turned down, or a desperate murderer lurking in the shadows of a doorway. Its a world we all knowthe seedy underbelly of the American Dream, and every bit as much a part of our culture.

This wonderfully exhaustive text tallying more than three hundred thousand words with hundreds of film stills and photos new to the work distills everything about the genre into one volume from movies to stars to themes and motifs, and brings us up to date with contemporary contributions to the genre. This is the final word on a dark subject.

About the authors
Alain Silver has co-written and co-edited a score of books including The Samurai Film, The Noir Style, and The Vampire Film. He holds a Ph.D. from UCLA and lives in Los Angeles.

Elizabeth Ward has co-written and co-edited three books with Alain Silver, including Overlook Press' Raymond Chander's Los Angles, a collection of Chandler's prose illustrated with photographs by Ward and Silver. She is a freelance writer/photographer living in California's High Sierras.

James Ursini has co-written and co-edited eleven books with Alain Silver. He lectures on filmmaking at UCLA.

Robert Porfirio has written in publications including Continuum and Sight and Sound. He holds a Ph.D. from Yale University.

Praise for Film Noir: The Encyclopedia

"It's what you always want in a film reference book, but rarely find: comprehensive, intelligently organized, voluminously illustrated, and possessed of its own distinctive voice." -Lawrence Kasdan, writer of Raiders of the Lost Ark and The Big Chill

"A top-flight piece of work." -Walter Hill, director of 48 Hours

"An extraordinarily well done book about a neglected subject ... This is likely to become the book on film noir." -Robert Benton, writer of Bonnie and Clyde


“These four [editors Silver, Ward, Porfirio, and Ursini] have cornered the market on shadows and fog. And they’re undoubtedly the most informed film noir historians working today. Film Noir: The Encyclopedia fills you in on what came before and after, be it back in noir’s heyday or in its more recent neo-noir incarnations. And the book does so with wily eye for detail.” -- Sun Post Weekly

“[T]he publication of an updated Film Noir: The Encyclopedia…is a rewarding reminder of the nitty-gritty reality of that film style’s golden day” -- The Morning News

Film Noir: The Encyclopedia is a joy for noir enthusiasts—a must-have for scholars, students, filmmakers, and fans… perfect for teaching about film noir… Just a note on the physical book: The book is a dark and hefty tome—a noirish object itself. On the front of the dust jacket is an unlabeled still of a man in a suit and fedora emerging from darkness toward a mysterious light. Open the book and the paper is a rough stock. All the striking stills and posters are presented in black and white on that same rough paper— no glossy bookplates. Even the appearance of the book resoundingly shouts “noir!”…The Encyclopedia is an instructive, analytical, intellectual approach to film noir… The Encyclopedia certainly sends the reader into a labyrinth on an existential journey through dark streets and alleys, only to emerge knowing a hell of a lot more about film noir—and possibly even about the black depths of the human soul.” -- Noir Journal

“One of the first and best books in English about film noir was 1979’s Film Noir: An Encyclopedic Reference to the American Style from The Overlook Press…Now, 31 years later comes a substantially rewritten version of the book…Both the individual entries and the thematic essays in the new Film Noir: The Encyclopedia are engrossing reading for those interested in the world of noir” -- Glenn Erickson, DVD Savant

“For those of you who are newly interested in film noir, Alain Silver and Elizabeth Ward’s Encyclopedia is a superb starting place…The new volume is not just a cleaned-up reprinting – the Encyclopedia has been overhauled and improved in almost every fashion” -- Where Danger Lives Blog

“The authors’ opening essay lays out the history and parameters of noir in a succinct but undogmatic way, offering an intro for the new viewer as well as food for thought for the hardboiled fan--It’s a fascinating ride, full of shadowy dames and fedora-topped detectives...This new edition of the definitive text on film noir is a perfect companion for a foray into the dreamlike world of some of the most dark and mesmerizing movies ever made” -- PopMatters.com

“The parameters of film noir, as well as our knowledge of this most sinister movie genre, are greatly expanded with the recent release of Film Noir: The Encyclopedia a revised and redesigned fourth edition of the classic pioneering text that movie lovers consider the final word on the cinematic world of fog and shadows…Film Noir: The Encyclopedia is an essential reference work for students of film and for movie fans who love plying cinema’s mean streets. It is indeed a beacon of light in an artful landscape of darkness.” -- Projections Blog

“This issue has been revised, updated and redesigned, and will provide lovers of the genre with even more ammunition in the ongoing debate over the cinematic world filled with shadowy characters and femme fatales...The book is a concise compendium of films noir, actors and directors and filmmakers who helped create this unique and beloved genre...This wonderfully exhaustive text tallying more than three hundred thousand words with hundreds of film stills and photos new to the work distills everything about the genre into one volume from movies to stars to themes and motifs, and brings us up to date with contemporary contributions to the genre. This is the final word on a dark subject.” -- Film Monthly Magazine



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