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Film Noir Guide: 745 Films of the Classic Era, 1940-1959 Paperback – Nov 22 2010
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Over a six-week period at the end of World War II, French cinema audiences saw a flood of American films. All were crime movies, mostly involving murder. French critics applied the term film noir to these, and it stuck. Examples include The Maltese Falcon and Murder, My Sweet. Since then, of course, the academic definition of this term has been in much dispute, including, but not limited to, when the first and last film was produced. Keaney, a film noir fan, briefly addresses these controversies, but as a true fan he would rather leave the arguments to professors and collect and enjoy the movies even if they fall outside somebody's definition.
The result is this work, a filmography of more than 700 movies released from 1940 to 1959. Each entry includes a cast and crew list; film noir type (for example, "Blackmail," "Femme Fatale") and themes ("greed, lust, guilt, fatalism"); a one- to five-star rating; and a synopsis and brief examination written in an easy, familiar style that serves to inform and entertain. Keaney is not a blind fan, as he does recognize the faults and problems with the films he includes. The features he appends to most entries add interest. One feature highlights "Memorable Noir Moment(s)." For example, for The Maltese Falcon (1941) he notes: "Psychotic gunman [Elisha] Cook, fed up with Bogey's [Humphrey Bogart] lack of respect, warns him, 'Keep on ridin' me, they're gonna be picking lead out of your liver.'" He also identifies "Familiar Faces from Television," cluing viewers into early appearances of Star Trek's Dr. McCoy or F Troop's Sgt. O'Rourke. The work is completed by lists of films by director, type, and year of release; a collector's guide; and a very useful annotated bibliography.
As a popular film reference resource, this is a worthy addition to public libraries, and even specialized or research libraries might be interested in it for the filmography alone. RBB
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
About the Author
Michael F. Keaney is a fan of classic movies and the author of two McFarland books about film noir.
Top Customer Reviews
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.
I thumbed through it looking at all the photos and then read the preface. This was enjoyable since I had grown up in Brooklyn, NY and could identify with the time period the author wrote about. I found the book to be easy reading as I would look forward to each "movies memorable quotes" and the fun poked at the politically correct "sensitivity training required".
There were of course many films I did not see but even the tidbits of the TV personalities connected with these old films were interesting. Many of the films that I remembered and loved had uncannily the memorable quoted that were still fresh in my mind.
I never had given Film Noir much thought but this book opened a new source of enjoyment for me.
Most recent customer reviews
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. Read morePublished on Jan. 31 2004 by Len Ogborn
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... Read morePublished on Oct. 29 2003
It was a dark night in the city. The rain had washed away most of the dregs off the street, and I settled in under a lamp post with my latest find, Mike Keaney's FILM NOIR GUIDE. Read morePublished on May 27 2003
McFarland has brought out another book on Film Noir (viz. Michael Stephens work)---it has wonderful stills and is beautifully bound... Read morePublished on May 21 2003 by Dr. Ronald Schwartz
As a veteran of dozens of film guides, I must say that Mr. Keaney's book is a refreshing change from the ordinary. Read morePublished on May 8 2003