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L.A. Noir: The City as Character

3.38  ·  Rating Details ·  26 Ratings  ·  3 Reviews
Film buffs explore the world of noir cinema in a Los Angeles context with this guide to noir films and their California settings. This book illustrates how these films use L.A.'s diverse cityscape and architecture to convey a unique vision of urban corruption and existential fatalism, in both the gritty downtown area and the outlying affluent communities like Malibu and Be
Published May 2010 by Santa Monica Press (first published January 1st 2005)
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In films, Los Angeles has many faces (none have shown that better than one of my favorite documentaries Los Angeles Plays Itself [2003]), and Silver and Ursini (film noir experts familiar to many) examine that from noir's point of view. For me, it's sometimes difficult to differentiate filming locations, but here's a fairly decent source if you want to know which noirs have actually been shot in L.A.

One might think noir only focuses on the seedy parts of the city, but the book is organized by ar
As with the other books on noir that Sliver and Ursini have been part of--Film Noir Readers 1, 2, 3, & 4; Film Noir: An Encyclopedic Reference to the American Style; Film Noir; The Noir Style--this one features extensive close readings of most of the films in the noir catalog. Although there are some variant readings based on the implications of the LA settings, for the most part there's not much new here. With a few notable exceptions--the neo-noirs in which LA is a character: Chinatown, L ...more
Entertaining look at the city of Los Angeles as a character in classic film noir from the 1940s on. It's good to see under-appreciated "The Long Goodbye" included and there was at least one film - "Hickey and Boggs" - that I'm unfamiliar with and want to investigate. I suppose the near total omission of "The Big Sleep" is due to it's having been shot entirely on sound stages rather then actual locations but how to explain the exclusion of "True Romance"?
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Alain Silver has co-written and co-edited a score of books including The Samurai Film, The Noir Style, The Vampire Film, Raymond Chandlers Los Angeles, director studies of David Lean and Robert Aldrich, and four Film Noir Readers. His articles have appeared in numerous film journals, newspapers, and online magazines. He holds a Ph.D. from UCLA and is a member of the Writers Guild of America west a ...more
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