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A Panorama of American Film Noir (1941-1953) Paperback – November 1, 2002


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 200 pages
  • Publisher: City Lights Publishers; First Thus edition (November 1, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 087286412X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0872864122
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.7 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #392,567 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

". . . a seminal work of cinema description and analysis and therefore an essential purchase..." -- Library Journal, February 1, 2003 **Starred Review

"...the book notes the influence of criminal psychology on film noir and how German Expressionism inspired directors..." -- Sunday, March 16, 2003: San Francisco Chronicle Book Review

Language Notes

Text: English (translation)
Original Language: French

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

27 of 27 people found the following review helpful By mirasreviews HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on November 19, 2004
Format: Paperback
In 1946, French critic Nino Frank gave the cynical, existential, expressionist, and often erotic crime thrillers that Hollywood had been producing since around 1940 a name. He called them "film noir", after "série noire", the French expression used to describe crime and detective novels. In 1955, Raymond Borde and Etienne Chaumeton, film scholars from Toulouse, France, gave "film noir" an identity. They published "A Panorama of American Film Noir", which became the basis of all film noir theory that followed. This 2002 edition is the first time the book has been published in its entirety in English.

Noir theorist James Naremore has written a valuable new introduction to the book, in which is explains the reception that American film noir received in France in the post-war era, the Surrealist environment from which noir film theory emerged, and why "A Panorama of American Film Noir" was so influential.

"A Panorama of American Film Noir", attempts to define "film noir", identify its sources and influences, and to document its rise and fall. The first three chapters focus on definitions and sources, from the obvious hard-boiled crime novels to the events of WWII. "The War Years and the Formation of a Style" follows the genesis of film noir from 1941-1945. "The Glory Days" explores the apogee of film noir, when films such as "Gilda", "The Big Sleep", "Sorry, Wrong Number", and a trio from Alfred Hitchcock exemplified a fully developed style, 1946-1948. "Decadence and Transformation" traces noir's shift toward realism and location shoots in the period 1949-1950. And "The Demise of a Series" discusses some of the last true film noirs of the classic era, 1951-1953, as Hollywood moved toward escapism.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Lara E. Fisher on December 30, 2002
Format: Paperback
Though often neglected today, Borde and Chaumeton's seminal piece "A Panorama of American Film Noir" was the book that first identified film noir as a genre. This piece, which is nearly 50 years old, is a wonderful way to explore the genre of film noir from the perspective of an audience member who was experiencing the films when they were released - not in retrospect.
This edition offers a great introudction by Noir expert and author, James Naremore as well as a chronology, filmography, and film stills. "A Panorama of American Film Noir" is a classic piece of film history.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Carolyn Paetow on June 30, 2003
Format: Paperback
After all the controversy over the constitution of film noir, it can only be edifying to read the perspective of classic-period French critics. Indeed, it was Gallic mentality that first recognized and recorded the phenomenon, and--if these writers are representative of their ethnic mainstrem--surmised that noir was born of an infusion of angst into the cinematic puritanism of the Anglo nations. While American scholars have often seen noir as a reaction to good times (as comedy is a reaction to bad), the authors site only the related relevance of World War II in its capacity to desensitize audiences to stark screen violence. Furthermore, they label only a handful of films as true noir and assess many other features--such as police and psychological dramas--as merely possessing qualities of noir. The book discusses a myriad of these movies in a colorful but easily comprehended style that avoids becoming parched with pedogogic discourse. A lengthy, up-to-1979 filmography, which also includes non-American films, has been added to the text--and is of particular interest in listing features not commonly called noir, such as cartoons and sci-fi thrillers. (I always knew Soylent Green was black!) Digression aside--for those with amour de noir, this book is de rigueur!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on April 8, 2003
Format: Paperback
Succinctly translated into English by Paul Hammond, A Panorama of American Film Noir 1941-1953 is a remarkable and collaborative work by Raymond Borde and Etienne Chaumeton which was originally published in France in 1955. A Panorama Of American Film Noir offers unique insights into the dark surrealism and ambivalent atmosphere of Hollywood's film noir glory days. A brilliant critique of classic movies and the American culture that created them; as well as a film noir chronology and filmography enhance this masterful work which is strongly recommended for personal, professional, and academic Cinematic Studies reference collections and supplemental reading lists.
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