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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!"
"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