A Companion to Film Noir

Co-edited by Professor Andrew Spicer and Dr Helen Hanson, this collection contains 29 essays specially commissioned for this volume by leading scholars in the field. The volume is organised into 7 parts.

Part 1, ‘Conceptualising Film Noir’, contains four essays that explore the ways in which this category of films has been constructed, contested and reconfigured and why it has produced such a welter of commentary and exegesis. Part 2, ‘Hidden, Hybrid, and Transmedia Histories and Influences’, examines noir’s antecedents; the relationship between American and European film noir; and the cross-overs with documentary realism, crime fiction and other cultural forms including painting and photography. Part 3, ‘Social, Industrial, and Commercial Contexts’, examines noir’s politics and the political context of American film noir; who wrote the novels and screenplays; studio and post-studio (neo-noir) production practices; and the marketing of film noir. Part 4, ‘The Fabric of Film Noir’, explores noir’s formal properties: lighting, sound, music, and acting and performance. Part 5, ‘Identities and Film Noir’, considers noir’s distinctive focus on subjectivity; the presentation of women and men, and of ethnicity; and revisits the depiction of the city in film noir. Part 6, ‘Noir in Other Forms’, analyses noir on radio, television and in comics. Part 7, ‘New Geographies of Film Noir’, considers noir as a global phenomenon and explores two case studies: South Korea and ‘Bombay Noir’.

Overall, the volume both consolidates and extends existing scholarship and breaks new ground, opening up the terrain of film noir for further exploration. Spicer’s introduction frames the volume’s concerns, and problems the causes and lineaments of the ‘noir phenomenon’.