6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on July 21, 2003
Using Freudian theory as a base, this scholarly treatise postulates that film noir is premised on conflicts involving gender, race, and nationality. Since much of the text necessarily examines psychoanalytical concepts, the reading requires patience and careful scrutiny. The authors' conclusions are at best edifying and at worst eye-opening--and almost certainly will cause readers to view familiar movies in a brighter light. Touch of Evil, for example, well known to most noir mavens, is thoroughly probed in its treatment of sexuality and ethnicism. The writers' judgments can thus be assessed as to their plausibility in accordance with readers' beliefs concerning Freudianism or simply in their evaluation of the motives of director Orson Welles. If the reader has not seen the film, however--as in the lesser known Secret Beyond the Door--it will be impossible to apply such a deduction. Surely, any of the authors' conclusions can be theorized to be intentional on the film creators' parts, or subliminally driven, or simply done for a technical reason. For instance, in Touch of Evil, the writers contend that Welles had Charlton Heston translate a Spanish statement into English in order to demarcate linguistic (and thus ethnic) identity. But might this not have been done merely to clue in the audience? Regardless, this text is very well researched and composed and should be of major interest to serious students of film noir.