Somewhere in the Night: Film Noir and the American City

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9781593760977: Somewhere in the Night: Film Noir and the American City

Starting with the classic Out of the Past, Christopher takes us on the grand tour of the great film noirs. With style and humor, he identifies the genre's central motif The city as labyrinth is key to entering the psychological and aesthetic framework of the film noir” and goes on to analyze more than three hundred films from 1940 to the present. Imbuing the language of film with the lyricism so praised in his novels, Christopher draws from his vast knowledge of literature to explore the genre's numerous influences. (Although it was a French critic who coined the term film noir,” Christopher argues that Americans had been shooting films in the genre years even before the term was invented.) Citing cultural, social, and historical influences from all over the world, he effortlessly guides us through the labyrinth.
This edition includes a new afterword and expanded filmography, making this bold and thoroughly researched book more relevant and comprehensive than ever.

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Review:

When World War II segued into the Cold War and the American dream deflated a half-size, a dull-gray patina settled over cities across the U.S. As the urban landscape shifted and swelled, these changes crept into the collective psyche via the silver screen and a cinematic genre termed "film noir." Employing dramatic use of shadow, night scenes, and voice-overs--as well as frequent shots of jagged skylines, dark street corners, and hidden crannies--the style revealed the underside of American life struggling to be heard amidst the existential clamor in the streets. In Somewhere in the Night: Film Noir and the American City, novelist and poet Nicholas Christopher uses the city as a vehicle for exploring the world of film noir, treating the urban setting more like a universal character than a mere backdrop for human action. Alluding to pop culture, literature, bits of history, sociology, and, of course, countless films from the past 50 years, Christopher examines the genre and its history in an entertaining and imaginative style that flows like a seamlessly edited film.

About the Author:

Nicholas Christopher is the author of two novels: Veronica and The Soloist, and six books of poetry, including the forthcoming The Creation of the Night Sky. His work has appeared in Esquire, The New Yorker, The New Republic, among other leading magazines. He teaches at Columbia University and NYU, and lives in New York City.

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