L.A. Noir: The City as Character (Paperback)

The City as Character

By Alain Silver, James Ursini, Elizabeth Ward (Photographer)

Santa Monica Press, 9781595800060, 173pp.

Publication Date: October 28, 2005

Advertisement

Description

Los Angeles has always been as much a star in film noir as any actor, be it Humphrey Bogart, Barbara Stanwyck, Burt Lancaster, Ava Gardner or Jack Nicholson. In L.A. Noir: The City as Character renowned film historians Alain Silver and James Ursini explore the world of noir cinema in the context of Los Angeles. The book features dozens of noir and neo-noir landmark films from Double Indemnity, Criss Cross, Sunset Boulevard, Gun Crazy, The Big Heat, Kiss Me Deadly, and Touch of Evil in the classic period (1940-1960) to such neo-noir notables as Chinatown, L.A. Confidential, Mulholland Drive, and Pulp Fiction.

L.A. Noir illustrates how these noir films use L.A.'s diverse cityscape and architecture to convey a unique vision of urban corruption and existential fatalism, not only in the ever-changing, chaotic downtown of Bunker Hill, Main Street, and Chinatown, but in its affluent coastal communities (Santa Monica, Malibu) as well as its deceptively sunny suburbs (South Bay, San Fernando Valley). The authors deftly analyze the key films of noir while integrating them into the geography and history of this "dark city" which became such an important icon of noir literature and film.

L.A. Noir is profusely illustrated with approximately 150 photographs-many of them appearing in print for the very first time-including production stills from the movies discussed, archival photos of the locations from the films and new photographs of the locations today, chronicling the ever-changing cityscape of this noir character-Los Angeles.


About the Author

Alain Silver is the author of The Samurai Film and has co-written fifteen other books, including Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles, and two screenplays. He has written numerous articles for the Los Angeles Times, DGA Magazine, Film Comment, and Photon. He has also produced nine independent features and over fifty soundtrack albums. Silver is a member of the Directors Guild of America and Writers Guild of America. He lives in Santa Monica, California. James Ursini has contributed to various publications including Cinema, Femme Fatales, Mediascene, and Photon. Together, they are the co-authors of eleven books, among them the Film Noir Reader series, Film Noir: An Encyclopedia Reference to the American Style, and The Noir Style. Ursini lives in Santa Monica, California.
Advertisement