The philosophy of film noir /

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Bibliographic Details
Imprint:Lexington : University Press of Kentucky, c2006.
Description:xv, 248 p. ; 24 cm.
Subject:Film noir -- History and criticism.
Film noir.
Criticism, interpretation, etc.
Format: Print Book
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Hidden Bibliographic Details
Other authors / contributors:Conard, Mark T., 1965-
ISBN:9780813123776 (hardcover : alk. paper)
0813123771 (hardcover : alk. paper)
Notes:Includes bibliographical references and index.
Review by Choice Review

Conard (philosophy, Marymount Manhattan College) gathered a gallery of scholars to reflect on the shadowy essence and influence of film noir. The essays work both as solid primers into philosophy, stretching from Aristotle to Schopenhauer, and as lucid excursions into the genre's dark, mean streets. The essays in part 1, "The Essence of Elements of Noir," define key terms and translate philosophical concepts into the vernacular of film. Here, Conard situates the unique tone and outlook of film noir in Nietzsche's notion of the death of God and the subsequent alienation, disorientation, and pessimism such a crisis suggests. Ensuing essays map out film noir's labyrinths and wastelands: Aeon Skoble cleverly inverts noir's seemingly murky morality by cogently revealing the moral law underlying the films; Read Mercer Schuchardt locates the evolutionary roots of the femme fatale in The Jazz Singer and astutely recognizes the role of religion in the heart of noir. The essays in part 2 explore the dark terrain of existentialism and nihilism, touching on the bitter fruit of meaninglessness and pessimism; those in part 3 look at six classic examples (e.g., The Maltese Falcon), offering fresh, insightful analyses. This is a fascinating, readable, and provocative book. ^BSumming Up: Highly recommended. All readers; all levels. T. Lindvall College of William and Mary

Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

When Nietzsche declared ?God is dead,? little did he know he was helping to launch a new cinematic genre characterized by shady characters and seamy plotlines involving fallen women, murder and betrayal. But noir is inevitably more than just stylish filmmaking or the marriage between American hard-boiled fiction and German expressionism, according to the philosophers, film historians and English professors who contributed to this book: film noir ?challenged widespread assumptions about material and moral progress? and represents a ?systematic deconstruction of the American Dream.? Examining classic noir films and books by writers such as Albert Camus, Dashiell Hammett and James Cain, contributors discuss essence of film noir as reflecting a sense of disenchantment, ?inversion of traditional values? and the ?spiritual defeat of modernity.? In her essay on The Maltese Falcon, Deborah Knight draws the distinction between the emotionally conflicted detective Sam Spade and his more detached predecessor, Sherlock Holmes. Philosophy professor Steven Sanders sifts through existentialist texts and classic noir films to find the meaning of life, while several contributors weigh in on themes of morality and Pulp Fiction gets a deep scholarly massage from Conard. Dense and intriguing, the book suggests noir is best perceived as a slightly warped mirror held up to contemporary society. (Dec.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

Review by Choice Review

Review by Publisher's Weekly Review