Film Noir and Los Angeles : Urban History and the Dark Imaginary book cover
1st Edition

Film Noir and Los Angeles
Urban History and the Dark Imaginary

ISBN 9781138304567
Published September 1, 2020 by Routledge
218 Pages 1 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

This book combines film studies with urban theory in a spatial exploration of twentieth century Los Angeles. Configured through the dark lens of noir, the author examines an alternate urban history of Los Angeles forged by the fictional modes of detective fiction, film noir and neo noir.

Dark portrayals of the city are analyzed in Raymond Chandler’s crime fiction through to key films like Double Indemnity (1944) and The End of Violence (1997). By employing these fictional elements as the basis for historicising the city’s unrivalled urban form, the analysis demonstrates an innovative approach to urban historiography.

Revealing some of the earliest tendencies of postmodern expression in Hollywood cinema, this book will be of great relevance to students and researchers working in the fields of film, literature, cultural and urban studies. It will also be of interest to scholars researching histories of Los Angeles and the American noir imagination.

Table of Contents

Introduction  Part I: Approaching the Metropolis  1. From Modern Metropolis to Postmodern Urbanism  2. Hard-Boiled Boulevards  Part II: Los Angeles – Between the Screen and the Streets  3.City of Silhouettes 4. Noirscapes of Motion  5. The Neo Noirscape of Nostalgia  6. Through a Glass Darkly: Global Los Angeles and Postmodern Noirscapes at the End of the Twentieth Century

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Dr Sean Maher is Senior Lecturer in the Creative Industries Faculty at the Queensland University of Technology (QUT) in Brisbane, Australia. He has been a been Visiting Scholar at UCLA Film and Television Archives. He is an Australian representative on the Steering Committee for the Filmmakers Research Network (FRN), a British Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) grant investigating filmmaking-based research. As a writer and director, he has produced essay films on Los Angeles and film noir as part of investigating creative practice-based research (Maher, S. and Kerrigan S, (2016) Noirscapes: Using the screen to write Los Angeles noir as urban historiography in the Journal of Writing in Creative Practice).



"This is an exciting book that provides a fresh take on both a familiar genre, and familiar city. Maher manages to make the familiar unfamiliar, creating an alternative history of both LA as a city of our imagination, and Film Noir as the location for this." -Jane Roscoe, The London Film School