Encyclopedia Of Film Noir

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When viewers think of film noir, they often picture actors like Humphrey Bogart playing characters like Sam Spade in The Maltese Falcon, the film based on the book by Dashiell Hammett. Yet film noir is a genre much richer. The authors first examine the debate surrounding the parameters of the genre and the many different ways it is defined. They discuss the Noir City, its setting and backdrop, and also the cultural (WWII) and institutional (the House UnAmerican Activities Committee, and the Production Code Administration) influences on the subgenres. An analysis of the low budget and series film noirs provides information on those cult classics. With over 200 entries on films, directors, and actors, the Encyclopedia of Film Noir is the most complete resource for film fans, students, and scholars.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"New Zealand-based film studies scholars Mayer and McDonnell list and describe approximately 130 films, actors, and directors of the film noir genre in alphabetically arranged entries. Along with classics such as Hitchcock's works, Chinatown, and Sunset Boulevard, this highly cross- referential text discusses newer noir such as Shallow Grave and Memento. Five essays open the book and expound on themes including noir's reflection on the McCarthy era and the influence of hard boiled detective fiction on the films of Bogart and his ilk."


Reference & Research Book News

"This work is highly recommended for academic and public libraries supporting film studies collections."


American Reference Books Annual

"Film authorities Mayer and McDonnell deliver a well-researched, comprehensive guide to film noir history. The first part of the encyclopedia provides five excellent essays on the genre, complete with references, and the second part has entries on films, actors, and directors. Covering both the classical film noir cycle (1939-59) and the modern neo-noir period (1959-present), this work assesses many old standards (High Sierra, Treasure of the Sierra Madre) and modern films (Body Heat, Chinatown). In addition, it covers low-budget films, black films, and representative British films. Big name actors and directors (Bogart, Stanwyck, Hitchcock) are profiled, as are some unlikely minor ones like Hugh Beaumont. Most entries vary in length from one to three pages, but the genre essays are much longer…. this one is hard to beat because of its broad focus, scholarly but readable style, and good organization. The essays on the film noir genre will appeal to academic libraries with film studies programs and public libraries with film aficionados. Highly recommended. Lower-level undergraduates and above; general readers."



"This is an essential book on any courses devoted to film studies and the cinema and, indeed, the essays will be excellent material for study in literary studies that include detective novels. The encyclopedia will be of interest in the public library for general readers, who will find details of their favourite 1940's films, even if some general readers may find the essays rather too academically inclined. Another marvellous film book!"


Reference Reviews

"This is one of those rich resource books that's fun to have around, because you can open it to just about any page and find lively musings on a particular film or artist associated with noir….The writing is accessible, concise, and never pretentious, unlike other film-noir encyclopedias I've come across. Ultimately, the authors make a good point: you can't simplify noir."


The Santa Fe New Mexican

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780313333064
  • Publisher: ABC-CLIO, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 9/5/2000
  • Pages: 494
  • Product dimensions: 7.00 (w) x 10.00 (h) x 1.06 (d)

Meet the Author

GEOFF MAYER is a Reader and Associate Professor in Cinema Studies at La Trobe University. He is Head of the School of Communications, Arts and Critical Enquiry. His previous books include: Roy Ward Baker, and the Guide to British Cinema (Greenwood, 2003).

BRIAN MCDONNELL is an experienced film teacher and researcher with a PhD from the University of Auckland. He is currently a Senior Lecturer in Film Studies and Program Co-ordinator in Media Studies at the Auckland campus of Massey University in New Zealand. His previous publications include the book Fresh Approaches to Film (1998) and chapters in the Italian encyclopaedias Storia del Cinema Mondiale and Dizionario del registi del cinema mondiale. He has achieved a high profile as an international television quiz contestant. Brian's ancestry goes back to Ireland and to Maori iwi (tribe) Tuhoe.

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Table of Contents


:The Myths and Parameters of Film Noir

The Hard-Boiled Influence

Film Noir and the City

Film Noir Style

Films, Actors and Directors

Act of Violence

Aldrich, Robert

Among the Living

Andrews, Dana

Angel Face

Apology for Murder

Asphalt Jungle, The

Beaumont, Hugh

Bennett, Joan

Big Clock, The

Big Combo, The

Big Heat, The

Big Sleep, The

Black Angel

Blonde Ice

Blood Simple

Body Heat

Bogart, Humphrey

Born to Kill

Breaking Point, The

Brighton Rock

Brodie, Steve

Brothers, The

Brothers Rico, The

Burr, Raymond


Cash on Demand

Chase, The



Conte, Richard

Cook, Jr., Elisha

Corridors of Mirrors

Cosh Boy


Criminal, The

Criss Cross

Crooked Way, The



Cry of the City

Dance With a Stranger

Dark City

Dark Corner, The

Dark Passage

Daughter of Darkness

Dead Reckoning

Dear Murderer




Devil in a Blue Dress

Dmytryk, Edward


Double Indemnity

Duryea, Dan

Fallen Angel

Fallen Sparrow, The

Farrow, John

Fear in the Night

File on Thelma Jordan, The

Force of Evil

Ford, Glenn


Fuller, Sam

Garfield, John

Get Carter


Good Die Young, The

Goring, Marius

Grahame, Gloria

Great Day

Great Flamarion, The

Greer, Jane

Gun Crazy

Gynt, Greta

Hatters Castle

Hayden, Sterling

Heflin, Van

Hell Drivers

High Sierra

History of Violence, A

Hitchcock, Alfred

Hollow Triumph

House Across the Lake, The

Huston, John

I Wake Up Screaming

I Wouldnt Be In Your Shoes


In a Lonely Place

Interrupted Journey

It Always Rains on Sunday


Kansas City Confidential

Karlson, Phil

Killers, The

Killing, The

Kiss Me Deadly

Kiss of Death

Kiss the Blood Off My Hands


L.A. Confidential

Ladd, Alan

Lake, Veronica

Lancaster, Burt

Lang, Fritz

Late Edwina Black, The


Leave Her to Heaven

Lewis, Joseph H.

Long Memory, The

Lupino, Ida

MacMurray, Fred

Macomber Affair, The

Macready, George


Man From Colorado, The

Mann, Anthony

Mark of Cain, The

Mason, James


Mildred Pierce

Mine Own Executioner

Mitchum, Robert

Money Trap, The

Mr. Perrin and Mr. Traill

Murder, My Sweet

My Brothers Keeper

My Name is Julia Ross

Naked City

Neal, Tom

Night and the City

Night Has Eyes, The

Night Moves

Nightmare Alley

99 River Street

No Orchids For Miss Blandish

OBrien, Edmond


October Man, The

Odds Against Tomorrow

On Dangerous Ground

Out of the Past

Paris By Night

Payne, John

Phantom Lady

Pickup on South Street

Pink String and Sealing Wax


Point Blank

Portman, Eric


Postman Always Rings Twice, The

Powell, Dick

Preminger, Otto

Prowler, The


Raw Deal

Ray, Nicholas

Reckless Moment, The

Ride the Pink Horse


Robinson, Edward G..

Rocking Horse Winner, The

Ryan, Robert

Savage, Ann

Scandal Sheet

Scarlet Street.

Scott, Lizabeth

Set-Up, The


711 Ocean Drive

Seventh Veil, The

Seventh Victim, The

Shallow Grave

Sin City

Siodmak, Robert

Slightly Scarlet

So Dark the Night

So Evil My Love

Somewhere in the Night

Sorry, Wrong Number

Spider and the Fly, The

Stanwyck, Barbara

Stranger on the Third Floor

Street of Chance

Sunset Boulevard

Take My Life

Taxi Driver

They Made Me a Fugitive

They Wont Believe Me

Third Man, The

This Gun For Hire

Tierney, Gene



Todd, Ann

Totter, Audrey

Touch of Evil

Tourneur, Jacques

Trevor, Claire

True Confessions

Ulmer, Edgar

Under the Gun

Undercover Man, The


Where Danger Lives

Where the Sidewalk Ends

Widmark, Richard

Wilde, Cornel

Wilder, Billy

Windsor, Marie

Wings of the Dove, The

Winstone, Ray

Woman in the Window, The

Selected Bibliography



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