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Film

Ross Is the Name, Crime Is the Game: 'My Name Is Julia Ross'

My Name Is Julia Ross is fast, direct, and easy fun. It never tests the viewer's patience with unnecessary trills.

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Film

Hitchcock Breaks the Sound Barrier in Early Films 'Blackmail' and 'Murder!'

Hitchcock's motif of treacherous toying with filmgoers is intriguing to spot in his early silent-to-talkie thrillers, Blackmail and Murder!

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Rivette's 'Paris nous appartient' Nods to McCarthyism, Communist Witch Hunts, and Cold War Paranoia in the USA

Jacques Rivette's first French New Wave film, Paris nous appartient, is infused with the look and feel of Hollywood's more paranoid, conspiratorial and apocalyptic films noir.

Film

Film Noir Comes with a Hint of Hitchcock in 'The Man Who Cheated Himself'

This professional seen-it-all flatfoot believes he can orchestrate his way out of situations where a thousand fools have floundered.

Film

The Erotic Tease in 'Tiger by the Tail' Turns into an Explosion of Fisticuffs

Whenever this movie threatens to get sexy or implies nudity, the story hastily goes back to two-fisted action.

Film

'Le Corbeau' at the Film Forum (trailer) (premiere)

Why was Henri-Georges Clouzot's film noir Le Corbeau banned by the French film industry?

Film

Jean-Pierre Melville’s 'Le Samouraï' Plays with the Perils of the Loner

Under the lens of cultural and historical context, as well as understanding the reflective nature of popular culture, it's hard not to read this film as a cautionary tale about the limitations of isolationism.

Film

Smudge and Jury: The Punk-Noir Pulp of 'I, The Jury'

With all the roughneck charm of a '40s-era pulp novel and much style to spare, I, The Jury is a good, popcorn-filling yarn.

Reviews

'Tharlo' Is a Slow-moving Allegory About Innocence lost

Pema Tseden's Tharlo presents an allegory of Tibet and China in the guise of a film noir story set in Thailand

Film

Harry Belafonte Fights Racism in 'Odds Against Tomorrow'

By the late '50s, some Hollywood filmmakers were producing films that reflected changes in public attitudes and addressed the concerns of the nascent Civil Rights movement.

Film

'Gilda' Is an Invitation to Look Deeper Into Pop Culture

Beautiful, classic, important, and thoroughly complex, Gilda is a real “aficionado” film, and yet it has an undeniable popular appeal.

Reviews

Library of America Rethinks Women and the Hard Boiled Tradition in New Set of Women's Crime Writing

This box set represents a nuanced perspective not only of the crime fiction genre, but of women's contributions to mid-century American culture.

Film

'The Killers' DVD Is a Double Whammy

Criterion brings two film versions, one a classic and one a misfire, of Ernest Hemingway's short story, "The Killers".

Games

Moving Pixels Podcast: 'White Night', White Noir

White Night tells the story of a haunted house and a decaying American economy.

Film

Farther Than You Think: Mapping the Noir Terrain

Rope of Sand, Dark City, and Union Station each extend the shadowy reach of film noir.

Film

'Fear in the Night' Speaks the Indecipherable Language of Noir

Noir, as a definitive term, is elusive and always out of reach, as are dreams. So what are we to do with Fear in the Night, a noir that traffics in dreams?

Film

'Cry Danger' Is Simple Noir Elegance

Olive Films' reissue of the 1951 Cry Danger is as no-frills as the old school film itself.

Film

A Little Ominous Noir Music Makes Jules Dassin's 'Rifif' Nearly Perfect

This benchmark of the heist genre shows that for the criminal, elegance and brutality go hand-in-hand, never more vividly depicted than in this tightly structured ode to Paris.

Games

Hard Boiled Combat: Enduring the Quick Time Event

The Wolf Among Us's quick time events typify the hard boiled genre better than any elegant combat system would or than any analytically driven puzzle solving might. Moments less to be won than to be survived or endured.

Books

If You Take Film Noir Seriously, You'll Want 'Film Noir: The Directors'

Film Noir: The Directors offers two great pleasures: the chance to discover new films and directors, and the chance to see films you already know, but through new eyes.

Reviews

Mod Film Noir: 'Brighton Rock'

Rowan Joffe sets this adaptation in 1964, amidst the mods and the rockers. A mods-versus-rockers riot serves as chaotic cover for one of the film’s acts of murder.

Film

Kafka Noir: 'The Sickroom' and 'A Country Doctor'

Serge Marcotte's The Sickroom compresses Franz Kafka's A Country Doctor into a nightmarish rush of hard-boiled film noir cynicism that, like all the best literary adaptations, is simultaneously faithful and unique.

Reviews

'Pale Flower': Living for Death

Into this movie's milieu of prison terms, all-night gambling sessions and literal and figurative back-stabbings arrives a dewy young woman named Saeko (pronounced, more or less, 'psycho') who is very young and very tired of life.

Reviews

'Trouble in Mind': Noir Turned Inside Out

Alan Rudolph's re-released 1985 neo-noir reinvented the genre by incorporating humor and levity on top of the social criticism.

Reviews

Columbia Pictures Film Noir Classics II' Is Uneven, But With a Few Bleakly Satisfying Moments

In Human Desire, one of the five films included here, Broderick Crawford is one of those big lugs whose volume control dial has been permanently stuck somewhere between "bluster" and "bellow."

Books

Noir: A Novel by Robert Coover

This book is a compendium of noir clichés, each one twisted to Coover’s purpose, which is to repurpose noir into a metaphor for existence itself

Books

The Dark Page by Kevin Johnson

Offering a scrupulous listing of the novels, plays, and other literary sources that inspired great noir productions of the 1940s, this is bibliophilia with heart and cinephilia with brains.

David Sterritt
Books

The Gangster Film Reader by Alain Silver and James Ursini [Eds]

In an age when gangsters have given way to gangstas, it's refreshing to find a book that takes the older breed seriously.

David Sterritt
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