Film Noir: The Directors, edited by Alain Silver and James Ursini, is a compendium chock-full of wonderful black and white film stills and production shots film (noir) buffs are sure to enjoy. Film historians Silver and Ursini certainly know their stuff. They have both written or contributed to numerous other titles on the subject of film noir.
This weighty paperback volume (over 470 pages) includes an introduction by Silver and essays on 28 directors the pair consider to be crucial to film noir. The essays are written by the editors and a host of over 20 other historians and filmmakers, with brief bios of all the contributors included at the back of the book.
Each essay on a director includes an overview of films deemed to be the director's best and most important films in the genre; a biography; and a list of their noir films or films with noir elements made during their career.
[Humphrey Bogart in John Huston's The Maltese Falcon]
Hollywood's classic era of film noir lasted mostly from the early 1940s to the late 1950s. But film noir is not limited to American-made films or solely that era. The most common elements of film noir are crime, drama, chiaroscuro lighting effects, shadows, seedy locations, and themes of sex and violence. The term film noir, which literally means "black film" in French, was coined in 1946 by French film critic Nino Frank.
Directors included in Film Noir: The Directors: Robert Aldrich, John Brahm, Jules Dassin, Andre de Toth, Edward Dmytryk, John Farrow, Felix Feist, Samuel Fuller, Henry Hathaway, Alfred Hitchcock, John Huston, Fritz Lang, Joseph H. Lewis, Joseph Losey, Ida Lupino, Anthony Mann, Max Ophuls, Gerd Oswald, Otto Preminger, Nicholas Ray, Don Siegel, Robert Siodmak, Jacques Tourneur, Edgar C. Ulmer, Raoul Walsh, Orson Welles, Billy Wilder, and Robert Wise.