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Film Noir Book Recommendations


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I know, who has time to read when then are so many yet unseen movies, but I'm so grateful for the recommendations received regarding Douglas Sirk movies that I thought I'd try again.

 

What should I put on my reading list?

 

Some of my recommendations:

 

[A Panorama of American Film Noir, 1941-1953] (Borde & Chaumeton) -- This is where it pretty much began. If there's a "must-read", this is it.

 

[Film Noir: The Dark Side of the Screen] (Hirsch) -- Enjoyable read and with pictures.

 

[Film Noir Reader 4: The Crucial Films and Themes] (Silver & Ursini, eds) -- Can be hit-or-miss, but two -- count'em, two -- essays on *Gun Crazy* .

 

[Film Noir] (Robson) -- Info and analysis on 18 movies he considers to be the essential "classical" Hollywood films noir. 18 movies, 15 directors. One of the directors with 2 movies -- Joseph H. Lewis for *The Big Combo* and (need I say it?) *Gun Crazy* .

 

Not entirely noir, but close enough for government work:

 

[Cornell Woolrich: First You Dream, Then You Die] (Nevins) -- The definitive biography of the pulp author who, I believe, had more writings adapted into movies than Hammett, Cain, & Chandler combined. Out-of-print, but worth scrounging around used bookstores to find.

 

[A Personal Journey with Martin Scorsese Through American Movies] (Scorsese & Wilson) -- I love reading his personal take on Ophuls, Wilder, de Toth, Fuller, et al.

 

[De Toth on De Toth: Putting the Drama in Front of the Camera] (Slide, ed) -- Sage advice from the auteur of *Crime Wave* , *Pitfall* , and *Dark Waters* .

 

[A Third Face: My Tale of Writing, Fighting, and Filmmaking] (Fuller) -- Sam Fuller's autobiography reads like his movies look. All that's missing is a pistol shot as you start a new chapter.

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I strongly recommend "Film Noir" by Andrew Spicer, which not only covers the classic era of film noir but also neo-noir films as well as British film noir.

 

"Dark City" by Eddie Muller takes a thematic approach to noir, so perhaps you should read it after you know the basic chronology of noir. "Somewhere in the Night" by Nicholas Christopher is also very good, but organized thematically.

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Hey, ChiO -- I haven't read anything on noir yet, so I cannot contribute to this thread, only take suggestions from you and others. Why haven't I read up on noir? Because I want to see the films before I read about them. I'm still in the learning stage of noir. I'm slowly increasing my noir powers, but I've got a long ways to go.

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