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Film Noir Reader (Englisch) Taschenbuch – 1. August 2004

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Synopsis

This bountiful anthology combines all the key early writings on film noir with many newer essays, including some published here for the first time. Part one reprints eight seminal essays that classify and analyse the period and its product and also offers the initial extensive discussion of film noir in English. In Part Two there are 'case studies' of individual film and film makers. Part Three probes deeper into the question 'What Is This Thing Called Noir?' -- the title of one of the new essays. Other original pieces consider such issues as narrative structure, the femme fatale, the influence of film noir on early television and, finally the rebirth of the genre in the neo-noir films of our own day.

Über den Autor und weitere Mitwirkende

Alain Silver and James Ursini are the authors of Film Noir: The Encyclopedia. Alain Silver is also the author of The Samurai Film, and co-author of Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles (all available from Overlook).

<div><b>Alain Silver</b> is the author of <i>The Samurai Film</i> and the coauthor of fifteen other books, including<i> Raymond Chandler&#8217;s Los Angeles</i>, and two screenplays. He has written numerous articles for the <i>Los Angeles Times</i>, <i>DGA Magazine</i>, <i>Film Comment</i>, and <i>Photon</i>. He has also produced nine independent features and over fifty soundtrack albums, and is a member of the Directors Guild of America and the Writers Guild of America. <b>James Ursini</b> has contributed to various publications including <i>Cinema</i>, <i>Femme Fatales</i>, <i>Mediascene</i>, and <i>Photon</i>. Together, they are the coauthors of eleven books, among them the Film Noir Reader series, <i>Film Noir: An Encyclopedia Reference to the American Style</i>, and <i>The Noir Style</i>. They both live in Santa Monica.<br></div>

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Format: Taschenbuch
Barring an English translation of Borde and Chaumeton's seminal Panorama du Film Noir Américain, this collection may well be the most valuable Film Noir reference available. It gathers nearly all the most important essays and articles of the last 40 years, including the introduction to the above-mentioned work by Borde and Chaumeton, Paul Schrader's "Notes on Film Noir", Raymond Durgnat's "Family Tree of Film Noir" and Higham and Greenberg's "Black Cinema" chapter from Hollywood in The Forties. The collection is exceptionally valuable, if rather poorly edited; I wouldn't suggest throwing out one's original, dog-eared copies of the items mentioned above. The book also suffers from a difficult-to-read sans serif typeface. Still, you're unlikely to find all these valuable articles together in any other book. That alone makes it a valuable buy.
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Amazon.com: 4.1 von 5 Sternen 18 Rezensionen
36 von 37 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Collection of Film Noir Essays, Including Some Essentials 22. März 2005
Von mirasreviews - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Taschenbuch
I'm including reviews of both "Film Noir Reader" and "Film Noir Reader 2" in the same review until Amazon gets the two books unlinked.

FILM NOIR READER (1)

"Film Noir Reader" is a collection of 22 essays about film noir, written between the mid-1950s and mid-1990s by a diverse group of film theorists, including a few essays by the editors themselves, Alain Silver and James Ursini. Some of the essays are illustrated with black-and-white photographs. Mr. Silver takes the opportunity of the book's Introduction to deliver a scathing rebuttal of French critic Marc Vernet's views before commenting on the book's content.

"Film Noir Reader" has three parts: Part I is "Seminal Essays", which include 8 essays written 1955-1979. An excerpt from Raymond Borde and Etienne Chaumeton's seminal 1955 book "A Panorama of American Film Noir" is included, as well as Paul Schrader's essential 1972 essay "Notes on Film Noir". Other essays discuss film noir's visual style, existential motifs, and there is a very interesting essay by Paul Kerr on the circumstances that caused B movies, including B-noirs, to flourish in the 1940s. Part II, "Case Studies", includes 8 essays about specific films and directors, all but one addressing films of the classic noir period. Essays are dedicated to directors John Farrow and Anthony Mann, while others discuss the films "Phantom Lady", "Angel Face", "The Killers", "Night and the City", "Kiss Me Deadly", "Hickey and Boggs", and "The Long Goodbye". Part III, "Noir Then and Now", includes 6 articles that seemed not to fit into Part I or Part II, including a few about neo-noir films. Karen Hollinger discusses the effects of first-person male voiceovers on the images of female characters in classic film noir. Others essays explore films that feature fugitive couples, noir television series, neo-B noirs, and Jeremy G. Butler writes about "Miami Vice".

The date of first publication is clearly stated for all essays in Part I, but I found myself wondering when some of the other essays had been written. Publication information, including dates, are provided for each essay at the end of the book's Acknowledgments. There are some interesting and essential essays in "Film Noir Reader", and some less so, but the book provides a nice collection of opinions and observations on the style that are great food for thought for noir fans and scholars.

FILM NOIR READER 2

"Film Noir Reader 2" is a collection of 24 essays, written 1945-1999, that attempt to define the film noir sensibility and explore particular films and facets of the style in depth. This book shares the same format with the first "Film Noir Reader": Essays are arranged in 3 parts. Part I contains "More Seminal Essays" that augment the defining material in "Film Noir Reader". There are 8 essays, written 1945-1988, including a surprising article written by Lloyd Shearer for "The New York Times" in 1945. A year before French film critics identified and began to discuss the film noir style, Shearer plainly recognized a distinct trend in Hollywood toward "lusty, hard-boiled, gut-and-gore crime stories, all fashioned on a theme with a combination of plausibly motivated murder and studded with high-powered Freudian implication." Pretty neat definition only 4 years into the noir movement. And Shearer goes on to ask "why at this time are so many pictures of the same type being made?" Funny that his article should be reproduced in a book that is still trying to answer that question 60 years later. Shearer's article is followed by French critic Nino Frank's 1946 essay in which the term "noir" was first applied to film. For all the talk of film noir having been created in the minds of critics after the fact, it's apparent that these writers comprehended the existence of film noir style as it was being created.

Part II is dedicated to "Case Studies". It includes 8 essays that discuss "The Postman Always Rings Twice" (1946 & 1981 versions), "Kiss Me Deadly", "The Big Heat", "The File on Thelma Jordan", "Pushover", the neo-noirs "Mississippi Mermaid" and "Badlands", as well as the films of directors Alfred Hitchcock and Samuel Fuller. There is also an essay by Francis M. Nevins on films adapted from the works of Cornell Woolrich and an essay by Robert G. Porfino on jazz music in film noir. Part III, "The Evolution of Noir", is an eclectic assortment of 8 essays. Topics include: noir science fiction, British film noir, abstract expressionism in film noir, female protagonists in neo-noir, and tabloid/crime photographer WeeGee's (Arthur Fellig) relationship to film noir, including discussion of the 1992 film "Public Eye" that was inspired by his career. Film professor Philip Gaines provides an outline of his film noir course, with recommended films and suggested reading. I'd like to mention, in response to Linda Brookover's essay on WeeGee, that although WeeGee's talent for self-promotion was equal to his gift for photojournalism, his photographs were not unique. The work of many excellent and tireless crime photographers adorned the pages of daily newspapers in the 1920s-1950s. Some of them can be seen in the "New York Noir" gallery of the "New York Daily News" archive at [...] . Tabloid photography is usually overlooked as an influence on film noir, so I'm glad that Ms. Brookover has addressed that oversight, even if I don't entirely agree with her assessment.
13 von 14 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
4.0 von 5 Sternen Excellent for film students, but less so for general viewers 14. Mai 2006
Von Steven Reynolds - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Taschenbuch Verifizierter Kauf
Silver and Ursini's 1996 anthology has quickly become an essential tome for students of film noir everywhere, and with very good reason. Divided into three parts - "Seminal Essays", "Case Studies" and "Noir Then and Now" - it offers a comprehensive selection of essays defining the genre in general and exploring specific instances and variations over the last 70-odd years. Even without the other volumes, this is pretty much all a college-level film student could need or desire for building a solid understanding of the genre and appreciating the central debates it's aroused. General viewers/readers, however, can probably do without the specialist jargon, arcane hair-splitting, and density of argumentation that ultimately consume any academic discipline, and the personal attacks: a large part of Silver's introduction is, astonishingly, dedicated to poleaxing other writers - quite pointedly, Marc Vernet, in whose misspelling of Silver's name Silver reads a dark tendency towards pre-judgment and other fatal flaws in Vernet's critical apparatus, such as a solipsistic arrogance that can presume to correct anomalies it does not understand. Whatever, Alan. Sorry - Alain. If you're writing your own academic essays, or enjoy probing the neuroses of disgruntled academics, then that kind of thing might be useful to you. But general readers will be much better served by one of the dozens of non-academic survey volumes, such as those by Barry Gifford (God forgive me, Alain, I know you hate him so), or, if they're feeling more adventurous, Nicholas Christopher's "Somewhere in the Night" which gives a fluent and accessible exploration of film noir by using the American city as a way into it.
18 von 21 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen An Essential Film Noir Reference 9. Mai 1998
Von Ein Kunde - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Taschenbuch
Barring an English translation of Borde and Chaumeton's seminal Panorama du Film Noir Américain, this collection may well be the most valuable Film Noir reference available. It gathers nearly all the most important essays and articles of the last 40 years, including the introduction to the above-mentioned work by Borde and Chaumeton, Paul Schrader's "Notes on Film Noir", Raymond Durgnat's "Family Tree of Film Noir" and Higham and Greenberg's "Black Cinema" chapter from Hollywood in The Forties. The collection is exceptionally valuable, if rather poorly edited; I wouldn't suggest throwing out one's original, dog-eared copies of the items mentioned above. The book also suffers from a difficult-to-read sans serif typeface. Still, you're unlikely to find all these valuable articles together in any other book. That alone makes it a valuable buy.
11 von 13 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen A Good Anthology 8. Dezember 2002
Von Michael Samerdyke - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Taschenbuch
This is a very good anthology of noir criticism. It contains three of the first assessments of noir in English, by Higham, Durgnat and Schrader right next to each other - boom, boom, boom - so one can see the criticism of noir developing before one's eyes.
The rest of the essays/arcticles are mostly very interesting. There is one on John Farrow, who is usually overlooked, so it is good to see his films grouped together and examined. The essay on Anthony Mann's noirs is quite strong, and Ursini's article on noir TV, shows such as "Peter Gunn" and "The Fugitive" is very interesting and makes one wish that there were more written on this part of TV history.
I think this would be an essential part of any noir fan's library.
2 von 2 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
4.0 von 5 Sternen Essays on Noir. 26. Mai 2011
Von Steven Daedalus - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Taschenbuch
It's what in academia is sometimes disparagingly called a "non book," a collection of essays with a few contributions by the editors. In this case, it happens to be quite a good non book. The contributors seem to know what they're talking about. Some of the essays are older than others, so it's not exactly a snapshot in time, but that's not bad in itself. The focuses run from early gangster films through the so-called neo noirs of the 1970s and after. (They're the ones in color.)

Here is how Todd Erikson describes the jelling of the genre.

"What made the noir films of the forties such as Double indemnity, The Killers, and Out of the Past so revolutionary in their day was that they distorted the viewer's psychological reference points by establishing a new set of generic codes. This new set of generic codes incorporated iconography from the detective and gangster genres, the distinctive narrative voice (or attitude) of the hard-boiled writers, and the first-person sensibility of the expressionistic subjective camera, through which the underworld could be experienced vicariously by the viewer."

Now, that's writing that both informed and informative. The prose is not for the casual viewer. It's not for tabloid fans. It's a little challenging. You have to think twice about "generic codes" and "iconography" and "expressionistic," but it condenses a good deal of data in a relatively small space.

I'm hardly an expert on the subject of film noir and I admit to not having read this book from cover to cover, page by page, all 327 of them, seriatim. But it's not that kind of a book anyway. It's more like an encyclopedia than a novel. You don't gobble it all down, you have to dabble in it.

I was grateful that it wasn't one of those heavily philosophical treatises. I wasn't overwhelmed with aesthetic theory. If Derrida and folk of that ilk showed up, I happily missed them. "Phenomenology" popped up once in a while, true, but at least I know what that means -- at least I THINK I know what it means. I have a feeling that if you asked 100 philosophers to define "phenomenology" you'd get 100 different definitions. At any rate, I found I sometimes stumbled (or levitated) but it wasn't like running into a brick wall. There are a good number of illustrative photos, mostly frames from the films, that help the reader along.

Some of the essays are particularly useful. Paul Schrader concentrates on two elements of a production that help to define it as "noir". Fir instance, the use of lighting dramatic enough to distinguish it from, say, a television situation comedy. He even goes to the trouble of explaining key lights, fill lights, back lights, and kick lights. He doesn't assume you already know what they are. I rather like being treated as someone who knows practically nothing, especially on subjects about which I know practically nothing. The second focus of his attention is camera angles and placement within the setting, which he reasonably treats as equal in importance. Of course Schrader acknowledges the importance of other noir elements, the femme fatale, the revenge motive, the fatalism, and the rest.
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