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Dark City: The Lost World of Film Noir

4.18  ·  Rating details ·  276 Ratings  ·  26 Reviews
Welcome to Dark City, urban landscape of the imagination. A place where the men and women who created film noir often find themselves dangling from the same sinister heights as the silver-screen avatars to whom they gave life. Eddie Muller, who led readers on a guided tour of the seamier side of motion pictures in Grindhouse: The Forbidden World of 'Adults Only' Cinema, no ...more
Paperback, 208 pages
Published May 15th 1998 by St. Martin's Griffin
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Tristram
May 17, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: cinema, film-noir
“Got More Than You Bargained for, Huh?“ – “Yes … and No: I Should Have Considered the Follow-up Costs.”

Follow-up costs? What follow-up costs can there possibly be hidden in a harmless book? In the case of Eddie Muller’s crazy roller-coaster of a homage to film noir the answer is quite simple: You will end up buying loads of films to complete your noir collection while following the author on his tour de force through the Mean Streets of Dark City. For example such forgotten gems as Edward Dmytry
...more
Jill Hutchinson
Jul 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Film noir fans rejoice!!! Here is a book, written by noir film maven Muller, which will expand on your knowledge about the special genre of film that has become rather a cult phenomenon. These dark, raw, and gritty movies, shot in black and white, were made mostly by second level studios or as "B" features by the majors, They became popular during the post WWII era through the early 1950s and were rediscovered in the 1990s, receiving the long overdue kudos from critics and fans alike.

The author'
...more
Antonius Block
Dark City is noir czar Eddie Muller’s entertaining and informative exploration of film noir. Since film noir is essentially an urban phenomenon, Muller looks at film noir as if it were a city, and focuses chapters on different noir themes or aspects, relating them to the different sections of Dark City. In Knockover Square you’ll find a lively discussion of heist films; Sinister Heights is where the corrupt and wealthy reside; and if you’re lucky enough to escape Vixenville alive, you’ll probabl ...more
Andy
May 14, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: film fans of all ages
Shelves: hollywoodbabylon
A Desert Island Book. Even if you don't care about film noir you need this book, it's filled with amazing stills from crime films.
In between the noir film summaries are amazing "Mysteries and Scandals"-type stories of Gloria Grahame's affair with her stepson, Charles McGraw's violent accidental death, Steve Cochran's bizarre death (aboard a boat with an all teenage girl crew in Mexico), Linda Darnell's fear of fire ultimately meeting up in her death, etc.
There's no shortage of great photos and
...more
Robert Blenheim
Jul 07, 2014 rated it really liked it
Eddie Muller knows what he's writing about. He's one of the finest experts on film noir alive. And, yes, this book is superb in its writing with many wonderful pictures that make it a joy for a quick scan or to slowly peruse.

Nevertheless, it seems disappointing on several levels: 1) There are too many plot synopses to the point I actually had to skip a few paragraphs if it was about a noir I hadn't seen; 2) the book seems poorly structured -- actually at times more like a novel; and 3) there isn
...more
Ed
Dec 30, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Eddie Muller has written a nitty-gritty guide to the classic of the film noirs that Hollywood made. He uses Hitch's PSYCHO as the cut-off point. I liked reading the background to each film, including the biographies of the performers and directors. Many noirs are out on DVD release. Netflix offers some. Muller tells you which ones are worth a look. So, if you're searching for something different to watch in films, DARK CITY might give you some ideas.
Leonard Pierce
Jun 07, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: film
Eddie Mueller is probably the premier popular writer on film noir. This is a really engaging and well written book, and its conceit -- that noir films all take place in a single universe -- works better than you might expect.
Victoria
Jul 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
Content-wise I think this book is excellent. I enjoyed every morsel of background about how the movies were made and all the people involved. I've always favored this genre. Now I can appreciate each movie more. I have revisited ones I didn't like looking at them in a new light based on Muller's insights. I recommend 'Noir Alley' on Turner Classic Movies hosted by Eddie Muller.

Format-wise, I have a few suggestions. I would appreciate a list of each film mentioned at the beginning or end of eac
...more
Sam
Feb 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
When I was about a quarter the way into this book & I was thinking that it was a pretty good book about film noir films, & then it went on & on, covering the personal & professional lives of the actors, filmmakers, writers, etc., the politics of the time, the influencing films & the influenced, etc., and then a poster gallery.

If you've seen a lot of these movies you should read this book, it's excellent.
Peter William Warn
Apr 03, 2012 rated it really liked it

Without warning, Eddie Muller spilled the beans about everything that happens in While the City Sleeps (1956). I wanted to splash scalding coffee in his face, plug his liver full of lead with my .45 and then tie him to a wheelchair and giggle as I push it down a long flight of stairs.

Maybe I've been watching too many films noir. That might have been an overreaction. But I knew I had to spread the word that this Muller character doesn't know when to keep his trap shut. His Dark City: The Lost Wo
...more
Steve Vincent Furness
May 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: film-books
Every now and then, a person returns to their favorite movie, or song, or book -- retreading ground they know very well, only because it's a comfort to them. Eddie Muller's "Dark City: The Lost World of Film Noir" is, in fact, my favorite book on the subject of film noir. Prior to reading this some fifteen years ago for the first time, my understanding of film noir was limited only to a few lines from Humphrey Bogart movies. They were black and white, they had tough guys and dangerous femmes. Mu ...more
Stephanie Griffin
Sep 25, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
An outstanding history of Film Noir, DARK CITY is a book I would recommend to all film fans. The whole book is written in a noirish style that compliments the subject. Chapter headings include Sinister Heights, The Precinct, Vixenville, Blind Alley, The Psych Ward and more. The book is printed on sturdy paper and there are photos on every single page. Stills, movie posters, promo shots – tons of photos!
Picking my favorite film descriptions for movies such as DEAD RECKONING and THE ASPHALT JUNGLE
...more
Kgwhitehurst
Nov 25, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Eddie Muller writes in the tone and language of noir, which can be a trifle off-putting until you get used to it. At that point, it takes off. He surveys the major players--directors, writers, stars--of noir and discusses the best and most influential noir movies. You'll ten to twenty new movies to watch out of this this book. And one of the great Hollywood villains menaces these pages--the House Unamerican Activities Committe--because so mucj noir exposed the corrupt nature of post-war America. ...more
David
Jul 22, 2015 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Any fan of film noir or hard-boiled fiction
Lots of fun and good info. I've seen many of the films discussed and enjoyed seeing his thoughts on them.

Somewhat idiosyncratic way of dividing various sections of the book as if they were various parts of the town of Dark City, but it works. Muller gives good attention to the base sources of film noir stories and scripts -- the hard-boiled novels and stories of the 1920s through 1950s -- and this will give many persons suggestions for valuable reading. He also goes into interesting detail on a
...more
Jeff
Jul 04, 2013 rated it really liked it
Dark City: The Lost World of Film Noir (1998)

This may be one of the best books I’ve read on film. The writing is thoughtful and fun to read. He doesn’t treat the films like gospel but he recognizes the art and occasionally debunks a lot of critical reverence pointing out that these may have points, but are also designed to be very entertaining. It’s brought a bunch of new noir films to my attention. And he knows the novels so many of these books were based on. His biographical tidbits about all
...more
Christine Sinclair
Dec 01, 2013 rated it really liked it
The writing, photos and content of this book are great. I know way more about film noir now. My only complaint is "Spoiler Alert!" Nearly every film Muller discusses contains the entire plot, including the ending. Granted, most of these films are from the forties and fifties, and some are fairly obscure, but still. See the movies first before you read the book. Lots of inside dope on the history and art of noir, plus many short bios of its best-known stars. Who knew that Richard Widmark's daught ...more
Robert Finnan
Jan 31, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Dark City takes you on a tour of the seamier side of film.
In each of the neighborhoods relevant films are examined in a thoroughly enjoyable manner.
As I am a noir buff, I am familiar with almost all the films, actors and behind the scenes figures mentioned in this book.
Those unfamiliar with noir may find themselves at a disadvantage on the streets of Dark City.
Nadine Lucas
Jul 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing
A superb compendium of film noir and gorgeously written. The most entertaining and informative book about the movies I have ever read. Muller is the man! Now if you'll excuse me, I have got to watch as many of the movies mentioned in this tome as I can.
Oliver Brackenbury
Sep 01, 2014 rated it really liked it
Still one of the better overall looks at this genre of film, written with some of the style and flair the subject matter is known for.
Vince
Jul 06, 2013 rated it liked it
Interesting, but if you haven't seen the films he writes about, beware of spoilers.
Corey
Aug 03, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Indispensable.
Ken French
Feb 12, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
A bit hokey at times, but a fun read.
Lisa Hechesky
Jan 30, 2015 rated it really liked it
Good history and background on the film noir genre.
Rally Soong
Dec 08, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Excellent guide to noir, written with wit and style. Can't go wrong with this book for exploration of noir, both the famous movies and the smaller ones.
Hamlet
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Jan 17, 2016
Andy
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Mar 03, 2015
Joerg Frankenberger
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Jan 28, 2015
Ernie Lavagetto
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Dec 29, 2013
r. r.
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Apr 16, 2014
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EDDIE MULLER is a second generation San Franciscan, product of a lousy public school education, a couple of crazy years in art school, and too much time in newspaper offices and sporting arenas. No college, but he's compensated by always hanging around smarter people, an effortless feat typically accomplished in bars.

Despite repeated warnings, he followed in his father's footsteps, earning a livin
...more
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“The collective sign of relief heaved on V-J Day ought to have inspired Hollywood to release a flood of "happily ever after" films. But some victors didn't feel too good about their spoils. They'd seen too much by then. Too much warfare, too much poverty, too much greed, all in the service of rapacious progress. A bundle of unfinished business lingered from the Depression — nagging questions about ingrained venality, mean human nature, and the way unchecked urban growth threw society dangerously out of whack. Writers and directors responded by delivering gritty, bitter dramas that slapped our romantic illusions in the face and put the boot to the throat of the smug bourgeoisie. Still, plenty of us took it — and liked it.” 2 likes
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