Crime Films / Edition 1

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Overview

Focusing on ten films that span the range of the twentieth century, Thomas Leitch traces the transformation of three figures common to all crime films: the criminal, the victim and the avenger. He shows how the distinctions among them become blurred throughout the course of the century, reflecting and fostering a deep social ambivalence towards crime and criminals. The criminal, victim and avenger characters effectively map the shifting relations between subgenres (such as the erotic thriller and the police film) within the larger genre of crime film.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Leitch makes his case, and provides a structure through which any crime film—and, really, any film with a criminal, victim, and avenger—can be studied. Such a structure is never more valuable than now." Erik Lundegaard, Film Quarterly

"No film critic writes more clearly, in a style unencumbered by jargon. Even the photo captions are unusually perceptive and amusing. Highly recommended." Choice

Booknews
The central concern of Leitch (English and film studies, U. of Delaware) in this examination of nine subgenres of crime film is the changing nature of the archetypes of victim, criminal, and avenger. He suggests that even in those films with endings supporting the most absolutist views of crime and punishment, the films break down the borders between archetypal categories, reflecting deep societal ambivalence about crime. Although numerous American films enter into the discussion, the examination of ten films form the core of the work: , , , , , , , , , and . Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521646710
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 8/15/2002
  • Series: Genres in American Cinema Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 400
  • Sales rank: 1,183,855
  • Product dimensions: 5.98 (w) x 8.98 (h) x 0.91 (d)

Table of Contents

1. The problem of the crime film; 2. Historical and cultural overview; 3. Critical overview; 4. Fury and the victim film; 5. The Godfather and the gangster film; 6. Double Indemnity and the film noir; 7. Basic Instinct and the erotic thriller; 8. Murder on the Orient Express, Blue Velvet, and the unofficial detective film; 9. Chinatown and the hardboiled detective film; 10. Bullitt and the police film; 11. Reversal of Fortune and the lawyer film; 12. Fargo and the crime comedy; 13. What good are crime films?

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