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The Philosophy of Film Noir

edited by Mark T. Conard

Out of Printcloth$35.00x 978-0-8131-2377-6
Availablepaperback$28.00s 978-0-8131-9181-2
The Philosophy of Popular Culture
264 pages  Pubdate: 01/27/2005  6 x 9  

From The Maltese Falcon (1941) to Touch of Evil (1958), the classic film noir is easily recognizable for its unusual lighting, sinister plots, and feeling of paranoia. For critics and fans alike, these films defined an era. The Philosophy of Film Noir explores philosophical themes and ideas inherent in classic noir and neo-noir films, establishing connections to diverse thinkers ranging from Camus to the Frankfurt School. The authors, each focusing on a different aspect of the genre, explore the philosophical underpinnings of classic films such as The Big Sleep (1946), Out of the Past (1947), and Pulp Fiction (1994). They show how existentialism and nihilism dominate the genre as they explore profound themes in a vital area of popular culture.

A satisfying book, as each of the authors brings a unique perspective to the discussion and they are able to isolate, identify, and explain some of the more subtle aspects of a genre which, on the surface, seems all about gangsters and pretty girls who done somebody wrong. -- Blogcritics

Explores the philosophical underpinnings of movies from the classical noir period and . . . suggests that films aren't noir merely because they share a consistent tone, or certain visual conventions, with the likes of The Maltese Falcon , The Postman Always Rings Twice , and Double Indemnity . -- Boston Globe

The essays work both as solid primers into philosophy, stretching from Aristotle to Schopenhauer, and as lucid excursions into the genre's dark, mean streets. . . . A fascinating, readable, and provocative book. . . . Highly recommended. -- Choice

An intellectually seductive, hard-boiled romp through a world of moral murkiness, femme fatales, and desperately lonely protagonist. -- Eric Bronson, editor of Baseball and Philosophy

The collection aims to achieve two goals: to introduce genuine philosophical problems and film noir characteristics, while providing sufficiently in-depth discussion that those familiar with either philosophical methods or film noir will not find the material too elementary. Although facing a difficult task, Conard has put together a collection that succeeds in both respects. -- Intertexts

Dense and intriguing, the book suggests noir is best perceived as a slightly warped mirror held up to contemporary society. -- Publishers Weekly

An excellent book, giving readers a very good sense of the rich philosophical resources in film noir. -- Thomas Hibbs, author of Shows About Nothing

This collection of essays, delving into the films and elucidating their philosophical depths, is challenging and engaging. Read it and prepare to be provoked. -- Les Reid -- Philosophy Now