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Film Noir Guide: 745 Films of the Classic Era, 1940-1959 Paperback – Nov 22 2011


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 541 pages
  • Publisher: McFarland & Company (Nov. 22 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 078646366X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0786463664
  • Product Dimensions: 27 x 18 x 3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 907 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #17,619 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)


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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most helpful customer reviews

Format: Hardcover
If you are a lover of film noir, do yourself a favor and pick up this book. It is chock full of wonderful comments,as well as a number of films you probably have never heard about elsewhere. Michael Keaney casts the widest possible net in compiling his compendium of over 700 noirs (ALL FROM THE CLASSIC ERA OF THE 1940S & 1950s), and while he himself admits many may not be true noirs, each and every one displays a genuine noir influence. Keaney writes in an approachable light and breezey style. He does not go in for deep analysis, but has a large number of wry, amusing and downright clever observations about most of these efforts. His ratings might annoy some (Hey, he gave a low rating to one of my all time favorite noirs, Bogie's DARK JOURNEY!) but then this is part of the fun of the book, seeing where you agree or disagree with his critiques. He provides an extensive bibliography as well as a fine breakdown in an appendix of classification of films according to type. One important note: Keaney limits himself to films he actually viewed, so a number of excellent noirs that are currently out of circulation are not included, such as I WOULDN'T BE IN YOUR SHOES, STRANGERS IN THE NIGHT and WITHOUT WARNING. Let's hope these rarities may turn up in the future. Then maybe Keaney can add them to his book in an update in five years or so. In the meantime, Keaney's book is a "must have" for anyone interested in film noir. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
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Format: Hardcover
Mr. Keaney's Guide is much more than movie reviews. His Memorable Noir Moments alone are worth the price of the book. His insights into the actors and directors are fascinating. This a catalog to be used to explore the genre. I have found movies I was not aware of that are now on my must-see list. Another big plus is Mr. Keaney's thoroughly enjoyable writing style. This simply a fun read!
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Format: Hardcover
Mr. Keaney has done a great service to us self-proclaimed "noir heads" with his comprehensive book "The Film Noir Guide" Unlike other books of the canon, it is truly a "guide" or rather an primer to the complete noir theme. Other authors, in fact all that I've read, have analyzed film noir to death. The Keaney book minimizes this frequently trodden path and instead provides an extensive filmography of noir with a refreshing look at many obscure and borderline noirs as well as all the old favorites. Most important, it explains a simple and inexpensive way to locate and own these films. This in itself will save a significant amount of money and countless hours trying to track down these movies (Hint: They're not at Blockbuster); and it certain justifies the cost of the book. (I only wish I had a reference book like this when I started collecting). Also impressive is the fact that he actually watched all of these movies, something other authors have neglected, often relying on third party sources.
An earlier reviewer argued over several of the inclusions (BLOOD ON THE MOON, i.e.), but he clearly is not very knowledgeable about film noir (Or relies only on select authors). There are western noirs (YELLOW SKY, STATION WEST) as well as costumer noirs (BLUEBEARD, HANGOVER SQUARE), horror noirs (The Val Lewton films) and serials noirs (The SHADOW series). Noir is not just defined by THE BIG SLEEP, DOUBLE INDEMNITY and TOUCH OF EVIL. It has a look, feel and tone that cuts across genres. Frankly limiting noir to only pulp detective films is not only wrong and arbitrary but deprives the noir fanatic of many rewarding dark films. Thankfully, Mr. Keaney has bypassed this pitfall and breathed new life into an often written about subject.
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By A Customer on Oct. 29 2003
Format: Hardcover
I was all excited for this book being a more comprehensive guide to Noir. I am one of those film geeks who has little check marks in all my books next to films I've seen and I was all set to check away but a lot of the films in this book are NOT NOIR. And I am not a stickler for the defintion but I'm sorry, a western is a western and he's got about a dozen of them in here (no matter how noirish a film like Blood on the Moon is - it's a western) Also, no cinematographers or compsers listed. What? That's half of Noir is the look and sound. Finally he is strangely obsessed with TV (perhaps he should have written a book about that) It is intrusive the way he stops at every turn to mention "familiar faces from TV" when in truth half of them are obscure, mentioning shows like Lock Up (?) and The Partners (??) and many are repeated many times over. Casablanca and Gaslight are also not Noirs but whatever. The layout is good, pictures are nice if sparse and the summaries concise. Close but he seemed to have lost focus on what he was writing about. The lack of cinematographers is criminal in a book about Noir. Waaaaaay too expensive for what you get. Stick to Spencer Selby's Dark City.
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Format: Hardcover
Film Noir Guide brings forth a compelling compilation of movies from a bygone yet memorable era. This book will serve those of us struggling to reassemble fragments of films viewed long ago as well as those preparing to view them for the first time. At first glance I expected this book to be a bit dry, after all, there are indeed 745 films covered! I was pleasantly surprised to find the book written in the spirit of the subject films, in that it provides not only abundant but amusing appraisals. Each film is presented in the context of a series of factoids (title, date, whodunit), useful categorizations (i.e., greed, wrong man, ambition), a review, familiar faces (i.e., if the actors worked in television), and a memorable noir moment (e.g., "...it's just a flesh wound"). The organization of the book makes it easy to sort through the huge volume of films contained within. It's natural to wonder what could drive someone to sit and watch such a large number of films in a systematic manner, but Keaney's fun-loving cinematic portrayals mirror the fascination shared by so many film-goers, both in their day and to this day.
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