on September 6, 2000
As someone who likes to dabble in film studies and is looking for some guidance into watching films with a more critical eye, this is an excellent, little introduction into Film Noir. The author gives a brief history (we are talking about only a handful of pages) of film noir and follows up by summarizing and analizing seven films that help define the genre. None of this is meant to be comprehensive, but it does serve to give the reader a good feel for the entire film genre. Perhaps the best feature of the book is a 40+ page, annotated listing of Film Noir films--a great feature for any one wanting to watch more Film Noir but not knowing which titles to start with.
My only complaint is that the writing is often fragmented and not always thoroughly worked through. It seems to me that there could have been some more editorial guidance in creating the final product.
on November 19, 2001
These brief vademecums, or "idiots'" guides, are generally a waste of time and money. This one, however, provides a valuable consumer resource: an extensive list of films noirs, with minimal information (director, studio, one or two starring actors, year, brief plot summary). It's far more complete a list than is contained (for instance) in the venerable compendium Film Noir: An Encyclopedic Reference to the American Style, and it helps to identify films of interest that may be coming up on cable movie channels at 4a.m. Plus, it's cheap enough.
on December 12, 2012
As other reviewers have noted, much of the value of this book is its extensive list of film noir titles. The reviews, though quite brief, are well-written. Some problems with the formatting have created inappropriate hyphens.