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Film Noir

A review of the book Somewhere in the Night, Film Noir and the American City by Nicholas Christopher

Book Review by Dan Jardine

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A giant mushroom cloud rises from ground zero, and the nuclear generation is born. Living in the shadow of imminent nuclear annihilation can mess with your head. But it can also be the genesis for some interesting art.

As Nicholas Christopher suggests in his excellent study of the genre, film noir shines a dark light on our fears, both rational and irrational. Christopher's book, Somewhere in the Night: Film Noir and the American City, is a philosophically and intellectually complex analyses of the social, cultural, political, psychological and economic milieu of noir, from the 1940's to the present.

This is not simply a detached, insular observation of a film genre, but a sophisticated social document. Christopher presents a comprehensive study of both obscure and famous noir films, thereby establishing their relationship to the darkly lit subconscious terrain they examine.

Christopher uses the language of literary criticism (not surprising, considering he is a poet and novelist) to study film, looking at movies as allegory, discussing symbolism, imagery and motifs in order to decipher the code of noir film. With his clear grasp of the complex history of noir as well as the key figures--directors, writers, cinematographers, actors-- in its surge to the fore of American film in the 1940's, Christopher’s work is a vital resource to any film fan.

...continue to the next page: The Life-Blood of Film Noir


To buy the book, click here to visit Amazon.com





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