Dark City: The Lost World of Film Noir / Edition 1

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Welcome to Dark City, urban landscape of the imagination. A place where the men and women who created film noir often find themselves dangling from the same sinister heights as the silver-screen avatars to whom they gave life. Eddie Muller, who led readers on a guided tour of the seamier side of motion pictures in Grindhouse: The Forbidden World of 'Adults Only' Cinema, now takes us on a spellbinding trip through treacherous terrain: Hollywood in the post-World War II years, when art, politics, scandal, style—and brilliant craftsmanship—produced a new approach to moviemaking, and a new type of cultural mythology.


Dark City is a 1999 Edgar Award Nominee for Best Critical / Biographical Work.

From celebrated examples like Double Indemnity and Chinatown to such fabulous "B" flicks as Raw Deal and Out of the Past, Muller examines the culture of film noir, post-World War II Hollywood's moviemaking phenomenon. B&W photos and color illustrations.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"The best book ever written on film noir."—Mystery Scene

"Eddie Muller seriously takes film noir not too seriously—just the right mix, and with great stills."—Paul Schrader

"Dark City is a thoroughly enjoyable companion to the unique, sometimes twisted pleasures of film noir, from acknowledged classics like Out of the Past to lesser-known gems like Born to Kill and The Chase. In a genre where some see mostly fatalism and social critique, Eddie Muller also finds humor, eroticism, and the unfettered inventiveness of an extraordinary generation of directors and actors."—Geoffrey O'Brien, author of The Phantom Empire

"This ultimate companion to gritty black-and-white postwar classics reveals that the dark stars led desperate, nefarious lives both on-screen and off."—Details

"Even if you aren't a film buff, you'll probably find Dark City compelling. . . . Muller's plot summaries and insider accoutns of moviemaking are fitting companions to the brooding images that accompany them."—the Washington Post

"A pictorial anthology on the American existentialist crime movie . . . rich in background anecdotes and the argot of the genre."—San Francisco Examiner

"Dig it: Eddie Muller's Dark City is a righteous, rip-snorting riff on the ultimate cinematic genre—film noir. This book displays a salutary knowledge of the underpinnings of the genre; serves as a fabulous reference book; and most importantly, dishes the real life dirt on the freaks, geeks, commies, nymphos, hopheads, has-beens, red-baiters, and all-purpose fiends who made this genre great."—James Ellroy

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780312180768
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 5/15/1998
  • Edition description: REV
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 208
  • Sales rank: 481,553
  • Product dimensions: 10.04 (w) x 7.91 (h) x 0.68 (d)

Meet the Author

Eddie Muller, a writer and designer, is the creative director of St. Francis Studio, producing storytelling in all media. He co-authored Grindhouse (St. Martin's Griffin, 1996), a history of adults-only cinema in America, and his other books include Dark City Dames and The Art of Film Noir. He lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted November 3, 2008


    If you've ever been curious about 'film noir', this book will pull you right into the themes, actors, and directors that make the style so fascinating.After WW2. GIs returned home to a world turned upside down; wives and mothers working full time, families scattered. "Commies" lurked around every corner and the idea of 'post-traumatic stress' was two wars away.'Film Noir' (the French named it but it was primarily an American style) typically set their main characters in a maze of sorts, with goals and trustworthy people hard to pick out. These movies were usually low budget affairs, which allowed subjects to sneak in that were too controversial for mainstream Hollywood of the 40's and 50's.The black-and white camerawork, with its layers of grays and shadows, became an essential part of the style.<BR/>Eddie Muller is passionate about the films and the people on both sides of the camera, and is backed up by a great batch of photos that will make you want to seek out every movie mentioned.<BR/>A terrific book for any film buff.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 31, 1999

    Excellent Overview of Noir

    Eddie Muller does full justice to the many facets of the genre. Packed with photos and bio's of the stars who brought these twisted tales to the screen, it is a 'must read' for any fan of noir, and a great introduction to the social/historical climate that produced such varied work as 'Murder, My Sweet' and 'The Asphalt Jungle'. Naturally, Muller adopts the apropriate verbiage and tone that keeps the reader turning the pages and aching to see 'Laura' one more time.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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