Monday, November 20, 2017

"Film Noir: Light and Shadow" edited by Alain Silver and James Ursini

This book is a delight.

It's absolutely crammed with pictures.  (Yes, as my Goodreads friends know, I got entirely stuck on page 132 because it was a full-page picture of a certain beloved actor, and I didn't want to turn the page on him.)  It's also crammed with details and observations and information and trivia and facts and theories and... yeah, it is completely wonderful.

But what do you expect from a book with a cover that boasts Dana Andrews and Gene Tierney from my fave film noir ever, Laura (1944)?

The only real problem with this book is that now I have dozens more noir films on my to-be-watched list.  Such a problem to have, huh?  

Basically, the whole book is essay after essay devoted to the visual aspects of film noir.  The essays have titles like "Rooms like Reveries: Interiors and Interiority in Film Noir" (Imogen Sara Smith), "The Gangster and Film Noir" (Alain Silver), "Fragments of the Mirror: Hitchcock's Noir Landscape" (Alain Silver), and "Women's Song and Dance Performances in Film Noir" (Christophe Gelly and Delphine Letort) -- you can see how enticing they are to someone who enjoys this film style!

By far, my favorite essay was "Nothingness and Purpose: Light and shadow in It's a Wonderful Life" by Todd Erickson.  I've always felt that Wonderful Life was a much darker movie that it gets credit for, and so much darker than most Christmas movies -- I heartily agree with Erickson that it has noir in its heart.  

If you're a fan of film noir and love learning about how movies are made, love delving into what's going on below the surface of a story, or just generally love reading about movies, you will probably enjoy this book.

If This Was a Movie, I Would Rate It: a hard PG-13 for some bad language (quoting movie lines, mainly) and non-explicit discussions of adult themes and sexual undercurrents in films.

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