What is film noir? With its archetypal femme fatale and private eye, its darkly-lit scenes and even darker narratives, the answer can seem obvious enough. But as Ian Brookes shows in this new study, the answer is a lot more complex than that. This book is designed to tackle those complexities in a critical introduction that takes into account the problems of straightforward definition and classification. Students will benefit from an accessible introductory text that is not just an account of what film noir is, but also an interrogation of the ways in which the term came to be applied to a disparate group of American films of the 1940s and 1950s.
Ian Brookes teaches in the Department of Culture, Film and Media at the University of Nottingham, UK, where he has taught film noir courses for several years. He is also the editor of Howard Hawks: New Perspectives (2016).
Acknowledgements Introduction Part 1: What is Film Noir? 1. Genre and the Problem of Film Noir 2. Visual Style and Narrative Themes 3. Genre and Gender Part 2: The History of Film Noir 4. Prehistory and the Wartime Period, 1939-1945 5. The Postwar Period, 1945-1950 6. The Late Period, 1950-1958 Part 3: Case Study: The Veteran Problem and Postwar Film Noir 7. The Discourse of Veteran Readjustment 8. The Veteran and the Readjustment Narrative 9. Conformity, Community, and Citizenship Coda: The End of Film Noir Bibliography Filmography Index