Art of Noir

Eddie Muller, Author
Eddie Muller, Author Overlook Press $65 (272p) ISBN 978-1-58567-073-4
Paperback - 270 pages - 978-1-58567-603-3
Paperback - 338 pages - 978-0-7156-4768-4
Paperback - 338 pages - 978-1-4683-0735-1
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Stanley Kubrick's The Killing touted as being ""In All Its Fury and Violence...Like No Other Picture Since 'SCARFACE' and 'LITTLE CAESAR'!"" Bay Area mystery writer Muller (his novel Shadow Boxer will be reviewed in the Dec. 9 issue of PW) describes the various styles employed by the studio system, all designed for, in the charming vernacular of theater owners, ""putting asses in the seats""; the idiosyncratic promo for Sudden Fear has Joan Crawford staring luridly over a male figure's shoulder at a miniaturized Gloria Grahame embracing Jack Palance. With a clear love for and expertise in his subject matter, Muller tracks the evolution of the form through 275 posters (338 full-color illustrations in all), many of them full-page plates, which look nothing short of smashing in the book's oversize, 10 x 14 format. A series of foreign posters reveal how artists outside the studio system were able to convey a great deal of the films' psychological complexity in a single, giant image. The variety, style and color here, representing films familiar (The Postman Always Rings Twice) and forgotten (The Big Tip Off, starring Cathy Downs), will be enticing to any fan of noir or mid-century American history.
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