Death On The Cheap: The Lost B Movies Of Film Noir

Death On The Cheap: The Lost B Movies Of Film Noir


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Robert Mitchum once commented to Arthur Lyons about his movies of the 1940s and 1950s: "Hell, we didn't know what film noir was in those days. We were just making movies. Cary Grant and all the big stars at RKO got all the lights. We lit our sets with cigarette butts." Film noir was made to order for the "B," or low-budget, part of the movie double bill. It was cheaper to produce because it made do with less lighting, smaller casts, limited sets, and compact story lines—about con men, killers, cigarette girls, crooked cops, down-and-out boxers, and calculating, scheming, very deadly women. In Death on the Cheap, Arthur Lyons entertainingly looks at the history of the B movie and how it led to the genre that would come to be called noir, a genre that decades later would be transformed in such "neo-noir" films as Pulp Fiction, Fargo, and L.A. Confidential. The book, loaded with movie stills, also features a witty and informative filmography (including video sources) of B films that have largely been ignored or neglected—“lost" to the general public but now restored to their rightful place in movie history thanks to Death on the Cheap.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780306809965
Publisher: Hachette Books
Publication date: 10/01/2000
Pages: 224
Sales rank: 615,388
Product dimensions: 6.30(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

Arthur Lyons is the author of eighteen books of fiction and nonfiction, including The Dead Are Discreet and other mysteries featuring private eye Jacob Asch. He lives in Palm Springs, California.

Table of Contents

Preface ix
Introduction 1(6)
Film Noir: It's All in the Story
Roots: The Boys in the Back Room
Attack of the Killer B's
The Emergence of the B Noir
Poverty Row: The B Factories
The Final Decade: The Demise of the B
Epilogue 163(4)
B Noirs Listed by Year and by Studio 167(26)
Film Noir Sources 193(4)
Notes 197(2)
Bibliography 199(2)
Index 201

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