Dark Cinema: American Film Noir in Cultural Perspective

Dark Cinema: American Film Noir in Cultural Perspective

Dark Cinema: American Film Noir in Cultural Perspective

Dark Cinema: American Film Noir in Cultural Perspective

Synopsis

"Tuska's book is an attempt to link the film noir tradition to a wider world of American culture. Thus it provides not only a description of the cinematic antecedents of the films but also a history of its literary origins. The book also defines noir's typical style, themes and concerns, actors, actresses, and directors.... This book is strongest when it discusses the films themselves.... Selected bibliography and filmography are included. Probably most useful at the lower-division undergraduate level." - Choice

Excerpt

Nous sommes foutus. Oui. Comme toujours. Oui. C'est dommage. Oui. --Ernest Hemingway

DARK CINEMA is different from my other books of cinema history and criticism insofar as it takes a cultural approach to the subject of film noir. The manner must fit the matter. The entertainment career of Mae West was such that I could treat of it in a single book along strictly categorical and chronological lines. The career studies of film directors which I wrote for the three-volume Close-Up on the Cinema series lent themselves easily to treatment in the form of the extended essay. The history of the detective film and the history of Mascot Pictures were subjects that could be dealt with adequately in terms of traditional linear historical narrative. The subject of the Western film alone was a genre too expansive for a one-book treatment, and hence I divided it into two parts: one volume, THE FILMING OF THE WEST (1976), dealing with the production history and personnel of Western films and a second volume currently in progress, THE AMERICAN WEST IN FILM, devoted to criticism of Western films.

DARK CINEMA is an outgrowth and extension of the chapter on film noir in my book THE DETECTIVE IN HOLLYWOOD (1978), and the point was already made there that film noir is both a screen style, about which I shall have something more to say presently, and a perspective on human existence and society which I propose to treat first. "All that an honest and forthright philosophy can undertake," William Troy wrote in "Thoughts on Tragedy," an essay contained in WILLIAM TROY: SELECTED ESSAYS (1967), "is to give the order and cogency of an intellectual construction to what must originally be . . .

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