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Hello fellow film noir fans, Like all of you I love film noir - grew up watching it and even wrote several plays inspired by it (all published and widely produced). I also taught a college course in it. So, I’m the author of a new book with a totally different look at film noir, “Film Noir production: the Whodunit of the Classic American Mystery Film” from Routledge. Focal Press. I know – another book on Film Noir, really? Well, yes. Because as a member of the Mystery Writer’s of America, an award winning screenwriter/playwright and a working professional in the film/TV industry in lighting and cinematography, I felt I needed to write a book enlightening readers about all the wonderful and interesting people who worked in the shadows behind creating what would become known as “film noir”, who are so often glanced by other books. I talk about the Hollywood studio chiefs and the original mystery novels the films were based on, the staff screenwriters and the film factory producers, the contract actors and studio cinematographers, the art directors, costume designers and music composers – what they all did and how they all together with the directors created one of the most popular forms of mystery films . So I wrote about the noir themes, character types, dialog style, imagery, cast and public reception of these classic films and how the films were made from the perspective of someone who works in the film industry and is a published mystery writer. It’s a fun, conversational read rather than an academic thesis. I’m trying to get the word out about it. I wish they had allowed me to put in more pictures, but - oh well. I did lots of research including at the Academy of Motion picture Arts & Sciences document room and on this wonderful TCM website. Its available on Amazon and on the publisher's page. So here’s a link to my book https://www.routledge.com/Film-Noir-Production-The-Whodunit-of-the-Classic-American-Mystery-Film/Landau/p/book/9781138201484 and on Amazon - https://www.amazon.com/Film-Noir-Production-Whodunit-American/dp/1138201480/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1484514436&sr=8-1&keywords=film+noir+production Hope you give it a look and hopefully enjoy it. Happy new year all. David Landau
While looking around on youtube, I found two videos I thought were worth sharing from the same channel. The first is a short 6-7 minute video essay titled "The Basics of Lighting Film Noir" You'll notice a lot of common comments to the 1970s article assigned in last week, but there's more of an industry perspective and pulling back of the curtain about how these classically noir images were generated. The second video is another longer video essay titled and about "The Origins of Film Noir" Although much of this material is a bit repetitive to what's already been covered, there are still plenty of interesting nuggets, tidbits, and new movies to seek out. If you enjoy these videos, I'd definitely recommend this youtube channel, FilmmakerIQ, as it's one made by professional filmmakers and those in the movie-making community and many of the videos are very high-quality in their explanations of film techniques, various movie traditions and histories, and professional jargon like gobos or a key light.
It's interesting to recognize the differences in how film sensitivities, lighting and camera movement in early noir films helped create the genre and how those new films, processes and new lighting instruments joined in shaping and refining the look of noir films. Most early films that used artificial light relied on carbon arc lamps, the first commonly used lamps for street illumination before the development of incandescent lights After they were abandoned for common purposes, they continued to be used for specialized needs such as in movie projectors and searchlights. In film, the abandonment of carbon arcs and the development of Panchromatic film stocks - film stocks that were sensitve to a wider spectrum of color - freed directors and cinematographers from mostly stationary camera positions that 'staged' the action in a less visually dynamic ways and made the camera - and especially camera movement, on dollies and cranes an active participant in defining action and character and allowed for a new spatial and temporal depth in all film styles. Generally early films were visulally unexciting in terms of dynamic camera motion but together with faster Panchromatic film stocks, incandecent lights and new ways to change picture framing through movement-the camera was to bring a new dimension to the narrative.