History | September 20, 2017 5:00 am

New Photo Book Navigates the Dark, Brooding History of Film Noir

Filled with stills and posters, compendium examines a classic era of moviemaking.

Film Noir
Legendary cinematographer John Alton composed the final iconic image of The Big Combo (1955) as Susan (Jean Wallace) and Detective Leonard Diamond (Cornel Wilde) walk out of an airplane hangar into the fog. (Allied Artists/TASCHEN)

Whether it’s classics like Double Indemnity, Kiss Me Deadly and The Big Sleep or RealCelarLife’s favorite Manhattan Night, the film noir era still casts a long shadow on the movies of today. From private eyes and perfect crimes to corrupt cops and doomed affairs, editors Paul Duncan and Jürgen Müller examine the dark and brooding elegance of film noir from 1940 to 1960 in an essential new book for cinephiles.

Copiously illustrated with film stills as well as original posters, this book offers page after page of the film noir era’s masterful visual compositions, while exploring the narrative paradigms of this cryptic, compelling, and evolving genre. If that weren’t enough to whet your cinematic appetite, the volume concludes with TASCHEN’s top 50 list of noir classics.

Brimming with the enigmatic dames, desperate gangsters, and psycho killers that continue to have a long legacy in the current cinema, this is a must-have handbook for noir aficionados and amateurs alike.

Film Noir
Legendary cinematographer John Alton composed the final iconic image of The Big Combo (1955) as Susan (Jean Wallace) and Detective Leonard Diamond (Cornel Wilde) walk out of an airplane hangar into the fog. (Allied Artists/TASCHEN)
Film Noir
Femme fatale Mrs. Helen Grayle (Claire Trevor) goes to work on private eye Philip Marlowe (Dick Powell) in Murder, My Sweet (1944). (RKO/TASCHEN)
Film Noir
Laura (Gene Tierney), returned from the dead, is given the third degree by Detective Mark McPherson (Dana Andrews) in Laura (1944). (20th Century Fox/TASCHEN)
Film Noir
The cuckolded Nick (Cecil Kellaway) blithely sings as Frank (John Garfield) eliminates the main obstacle to his obsessive love for Cora (Lana Turner) in The Postman Always Rings Twice (1946). (MGM/TASCHEN)
Film Noir
Harry Fabian (Richard Widmark), an American in London, is a low-life hustler and con man, always on the run in Night and the City (1950). Richard Widmark: “I enjoyed the picture; but physically, it was a real tough mother.” (20th Century Fox/TASCHEN)
Sam Spade (Humphrey Bogart) is embroiled in the hunt for a mysterious statuette in The Maltese Falcon (1941). (First National Pictures Inc.,Warner Bros./TASCHEN)
Film Noir
The gang’s “muscle,” Dix Handley (Sterling Hayden, right), hauls the wounded Louis Ciavelli (Anthony Caruso) away from the heist in The Asphalt Jungle (1950). (MGM/TASCHEN)
Film Noir
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