Film Noir is a genre unlike any other in the history of cinema and has managed to fascinate people for over 70 years. With its dark alleyways and dames to die for, the genre only existed for about two decades, but managed to leave an indelible print on society and filmmakers around the world. In the Film Noir FAQ, author David J. Hogan takes us on a personal tour through the many of the genres highlights and explores many facets of what consists of a film noir. From its roots in both World Wars, to its dark themes, Hogan looks at a variety of films, their productions, reoccurring motifs and plenty of other fantastic elements that make the Film Noir FAQ an entertaining and educational read.
Immediately from his introduction, Hogan manages to lay everything on the table, concerning the genre’s origins, its refections of society and the extremes that the genre employs to enforce its themes. Slowly then, does Hogan begin to dive into the various films and their contributions to the genre. There are sections that highlight a variety of directors, cinematographers and other crew people involved to give wonderful insight as to how all these various elements came together to create what we know as film noir.
While the book says its an FAQ, the book does give away plot elements to many of the films discussed in it. If this doesn’t bother you and you’ve seen a great portion of these film noirs, then you’ll find that this book does a great service to the material at hand. Hogan’s writing is extremely concise and provides a wealth of knowledge regarding the genre. I love the fact that he makes the actual distinction of film noirs, as being very different than that of heist films, police procedurals, revenge films and plenty of films from other genres that many times get thrown into the mix.
The amount of history provided on the productions and methods of how film noir came to be, makes the Film Noir FAQ, worth reading. From filmmakers various backgrounds, to various actors that became stars by being in these films, Hogan manages to unearth an insane amount of history, some of which I’ve never heard, until I read this book. For this portion alone, I would urge any film noir purist or any film historian to pick up this wonderful text on one of America’s oldest and richest genres.
David J. Hogan’s Film Noir FAQ is simply one of the best books I’ve ever read on a genre, period. Through its all of its concise details and exploration of a grand amount of films, Hogan presents a read that is educational and fun, at the same time. Highly Recommended!