Paperback / softback
October 19, 2005
9780801882180
English
264
20
9.00 Inches (US)
6.00 Inches (US)
0.60 Inches (US)
.9 Pounds (US)
$26.00 USD, £19.50 GBP
v2.1 Reference

Blackout

World War II and the Origins of Film Noir

Challenging conventional scholarship placing the origins of film noir in postwar Hollywood, Sheri Chinen Biesen finds the genre's roots firmly planted in the political, social, and material conditions of Hollywood during the war. After Pearl Harbor, America and Hollywood experienced a sharp cultural transformation that made horror, shock, and violence not only palatable but preferable. Hard times necessitated cheaper sets, fewer lights, and fresh talent; censors as well as the movie-going public showed a new tolerance for sex and violence; and female producers experienced newfound prominence in the industry.

Biesen brings prodigious archival research, accessible prose, and imaginative insights to both well-known films noir of the wartime period— The Maltese Falcon, The Big Sleep, and Double Indemnity—and others often overlooked or underrated— Scarlet Street, Ministry of Fear, Phantom Lady, and Stranger on the Third Floor.

About the Author

Sheri Chinen Biesen is an associate professor of radio, television, and film studies at Rowan University.

Reviews

Biesen adds a new perspective that enhances scholarship on the subject and makes this book a must.

- Choice

Ms Biesen describes too how film noir drew on societal anxieties as Americans faced fear, loss and shortages during the war and viewed ever-more-harrowing newsreel footage. 'As life on the homefront became increasingly hard-boiled,' she writes, 'so too did American film.'

- Nina Ayoub - Chronicle of Higher Education

Biesen's book is readable, informative and jargon free... Biesen uses her research into studio archives, the films' attendant publicity and the contemporary press to bring alive the wartime period of film noir and its transformation into a post-war genre for dealing with troubled veterans returning home, the coming of the Cold War, nuclear angst and the effects of McCarthyism on Hollywood and the nation at large.

- Times Literary Supplement

Readers will come away from Blackout with a fuller understanding of the industrial and historical contexts of wartime film noir.

- Charles Maland - Cineaste

This text offers a compelling history of wartime Hollywood and a provocative challenge to current noir scholarship.

- Southern California Quarterly

An important contribution to the history of film noir.

- Jan-Christopher Horak - Screening the Past

A film noir aficionado, Biesen provides the most detailed and thoroughly researched interpretation of this era's American film noir.

- Clayton Koppes - American Historical Review

The author is to be congratulated on producing an exemplary study in empirical film history.

- Brian Neve - Historical Journal of Film, Radio, and Television

Endorsements

This volume stands out as one of the best and perhaps the single most essential book in English on film noir. Biesen reveals an untold part of the movement with originality, sophistication, and vitality. Her work will become a foundation for subsequent interpretation of film noir, as well as an ideal text in film, history, and cultural studies courses.

- Brian Taves, film historian, author of The Romance of Adventure: The Genre of Historical Adventure Movies
Johns Hopkins University Press
From 13 To 17

9780801882180 : blackout-biesen
Paperback / softback
264 Pages
$26.00 USD

Other Titles by Sheri Chinen Biesen

Music in the Shadows

Sheri Chinen Biesen
Mar 2014 - The Johns Hopkins University Press
$69.00 USD - Hardback
$32.95 USD - Paperback / softback
$32.95 USD - Electronic book text

Other Titles in PERFORMING ARTS / Theater / General

Staging Governance

Daniel O'Quinn
Mar 2020 - Johns Hopkins University Press
$68.00 USD - Hardback
$68.00 USD - Electronic book text

Theaters of Anatomy

Cynthia Klestinec
Mar 2020 - Johns Hopkins University Press
$58.00 USD - Hardback
$58.00 USD - Electronic book text

The Sentient Archive

edited by Bill Bissell, Linda Caruso Haviland
Jun 2018 - Wesleyan University Press
$28.95 USD - Paperback / softback
$90.00 USD - Hardback
$22.99 USD - Electronic book text

Other Titles in Theatre studies

Staging Governance

Daniel O'Quinn
Mar 2020 - Johns Hopkins University Press
$68.00 USD - Hardback
$68.00 USD - Electronic book text

Theaters of Anatomy

Cynthia Klestinec
Mar 2020 - Johns Hopkins University Press
$58.00 USD - Hardback
$58.00 USD - Electronic book text

The Birth of Comedy

edited by Jeffrey Rusten - translated by Jeffrey Henderson, David Konstan, Ralph Rosen, Jeffrey Rusten, and Niall W. Slater
Jan 2017 - Johns Hopkins University Press
$115.00 USD - Hardback
$49.95 USD - Paperback / softback
$49.95 USD - Electronic book text