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Noir

Noir

FILM NOIR, AMERICAM WORKERS AND POSTWAR HOLLYWOOD

 

New Noir Book:

“Busts This Town Wide Open”: Film Noir, American Workers and Postwar Hollywood

Dennis Broe, University of Florida Press

Order now for a 40% Discount with Code Listed Below

Ever since French critics began using the term film noir in the mid-1940s, a clear definition of the genre has remained elusive. Broe’s interdisciplinary examination is a cogent argument for the centrality of class in the creation of film noir, demonstrating how the form itself came to fruition during one of the most active periods of working-class agitation and middle-class antagonism in American history.

In the 1940s, both radicalized union members and protagonists of noir films were hunted and pursued by the law. The book details how, after World War II, members of the labor movement who waged a series of strikes that paralyzed American industry, including Hollywood, were forced to use extralegal means because of pressure applied by new legislation such as the Taft-Hartley Act. In the same way the film noir protagonist moves further and further outside the law in this period until the films become a lament for a change hoped for but not achieved. The book then marks the sharp distinction between noir and the police procedural where the working class cop, now shorn of his or her radical sympathies, becomes the subject of the film.

A coda describes noir under Reagan and Bush (“A Thousand Points of Dark”) and post-9/11 noir which alternately resists and validates the replaying of the Cold War as the War on Terror.

What the Critics are saying:

‘[This is] an intriguing study of U.S. film noir as a left-wing cultural formation. Broe makes an informative and convincing case for the repressed, often overlooked working class determinants of early noir, and his discussion of individual films is consistently insightful. This is an important addition to the literature on the subject.’ James Naremore, author of More Than Night: Film Noir in Its Contexts

‘With keen insight and a deep appreciation of the politics of film noir, Broe has broken new ground in the interpretation of cinema itself. With this book film noir has found its most astute and informed critic.’ Gerald Horne, author of Class Struggle in Hollywood, 1930-50

‘Broe puts the red back in the black. His book contours amidst the shadows of film noir those battles and tussles of the laboring classes that have too often been written out of film history, as out of the authorized narrative of U.S. history. Through wonderfully synthetic overviews and deft extended readings, a panoply of films is shown to chart in devious and overt ways the ups and down of union power and working class perspectives.’ Esther Leslie, author of Walter Benjamin and Hollywood Flatlands: Animation, Critical Theory and the Avant-Garde

‘[The book is] a bracing alternative history of how noir represented the roiling state of American culture in the 1940s … His categorization scheme will carry great weight in all future discussion of noir’s thematic landscape.’ Donald Malcolm, Noir City Sentinel

For a special 40% discount, until October 1, 2009, call toll free 800-226-3822, or order online at: http://upf.com/book.asp?id=BROEXS07 with discount code NOIR9.

Posted here by Glenn Rikowski

The Flow of Ideas: http://www.flowideas.co.uk