Film Noir Guide: 745 Films of the Classic Era, 1940-1959

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The term "film noir" was first applied by French critics to a number of American films that made their way to France over a period of six weeks at the end of World War II. These films -- which included such soon-to-be classics as The Maltese Falcon; Murder, My Sweet; This Gun for Hire, and The Big Sleep -- and the noirs that followed fascinated French moviegoers with their new breed of criminals: love-starved husbands and wives, local business owners, writers, gamblers, small-time hoods, private eyes, mental patients, war veterans, rebellious teenagers, and corrupt lawyers, politicians, judges and cops. Over 700 films noirs from the classic period of film noir (1940 to 1959) are presented in this exhaustive reference book -- such films as The Accused, Among the Living, The Asphalt Jungle, Baby Face Nelson, Bait, The Beat Generation, Crossfire, Dark Passage, I Walk Alone, The Las Vegas Story, The Naked City, Strangers on a Train, White Heat, and The Window. For each film, the following information is provided: the title, release date, main performers, screenwriter(s), director(s), type of noir, thematic content, a rating based on the five-star system, and a plot synopsis that does not reveal the ending.
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Editorial Reviews

Classic Images
memorable quotes...a terrific reference
a worthy addition
engaging...suitable for both scholars and fans......informative...highly recommended
A worthy addition
Engaging...suitable for both scholars and fans......informative...highly recommended
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780786415472
  • Publisher: McFarland & Company, Incorporated Publishers
  • Publication date: 4/2/2003
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 551
  • Product dimensions: 10.00 (w) x 7.00 (h) x 1.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Michael F. Keaney is a fan of classic movies and the author of two McFarland books about film noir.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vii
Preface 1
The Films 9
Appendix A Films Noirs Listed by Director 481
Appendix B Films Noirs Listed by Type 487
Appendix C Films Noirs Listed by Year of Release 492
Appendix D How to Build an Affordable Film Noir Library 500
Annotated Bibliography 503
Index 509
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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 21, 2003


    McFarland has brought out yet another book on film noir---it has wonderful stills and is beautifully bound...but the writer needs a keener critical eye about many of the films he has described in his text. First, he takes pride in NOT revealing the endings of these classic noirs---a gimmick which is a bit unsatisfying to film buffs. Second, he uses the names of the actors, rather than the characters they play...characters often made memorable by the it may be oftentimes hard to grasp the plot of the film. Thirdly, Mr. Keany's use of language is a bit colloquial, rather than scholarly. I expected more profundity in his rendition of his plot descriptions than his unpersuasive re-tellings loaded with jargon. However, the 'guide' does serve the reader if you are interested in a somewhat superficial A to Z guide to the best of film noir---altho some excellent titles like I WOULDN'T BE IN YOUR SHOES, are not included. Also the credits do not list studio, photographer or music...three very important components of defining a film noir. Moreover, the author insists in giving us a section entitled 'Familiar Faces from Television' which I personally found useless, altho he reedems himself with another section, 'Memorable Noir Moments,' in which he encapsulates some vivid scenes or dialogue from the films. Scrupulously organized, Keaney does provide 4 appendices, listing films by director, type, year of release, but most valuable, 'How to Build an Affordable Film Noir Library,' with excellent suggestions, url. sites and the names of the best places to buy VHS copies of films, especially DARKER IMAGES VIDEO in Millinocket, Maine, possibly the best company in the 'noir' business, boasting the best collection ever of noir films. Keany's annotated bibliography is especially useful...but there are some major errors in the book...for example, in THE LOCKET, he says '[Laraine] Day killed her boss (Denny)' when in fact, it was Ricardo Cortez who played her employer. There are others errors of this type, but how can anyone who loves film noir give this book a negative review. In fact, for some of us who are always on the 'Noir Hunt,' for films and critical volumes, Keany's FILM NOIR GUIDE fills a gap that is necessary for all avid cinephiles. The book is beautifully produced and deserves to be in all personal and library collections. And there is nothing wrong in giving away the endings of the films under discussion.

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