2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Dr René Codoni
- Published on Amazon.com
Women in Film Noir (British Film Institute Books) New Edition, 1998
(First 1978/80), 240pp. E Ann Kaplan (Editor),
Authors: Christine Gledhill, Sylvia Harvey, Janey Place, Pam Cook, E Ann Kaplan, Claire Johnston, Christine Gledhill (2nd article), Richard Dyer (2 articles), Patricia White, Chris Straayer (new), Kate Stables (last three only in New Edition)
Amazon reviews: None for First Edition (black cover),
For New Edition (purple cover) No1 Publisher's Review was brief: 5.0 out of 5 stars, and reads An essential for film noir buffs as some of the essays expand thinking about women in noir beyond the "femme fatale" box in which the early noir writers put women. Also the writing is not too academic. By Lynne Shapiro January 8, 2013
Thus the following, mine, is review No2.
FIRST EDITION: From Publisher (Revised)
For this expanded edition, 2002, the editor has brought together further essays which reflect the renewed interest in Film Noir which is apparent in many of today's most popular movies. (Additional wrIters are mentioned above-RC)
NEW EDITION From Library Journal
Film noir flourished in the years during and immediately following World War II, but the genre has never disappeared, as shown by the recent popularity of films like Basic Instinct, Bound, and LA Confidential. These academic essays, compiled by Kaplan (English, SUNY), ponder the "absent family" in noir, the role of woman as destroyer and redeemer, the common theme of female duplicity, and the role of women in the narrative structure. Other films considered here are Blue Gardenia, Gilda, Double Indemnity, modern noir films like Klute, and the horror classic The Haunting, which one critic sees as a representation of the "disruptive force of lesbian desire." Though few studies of women in this popular genre exist, the book's academic format and language will discourage most general readers. Recommended for academic libraries. A Stephen Rees, Levittown Regional Lib., PA Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Today’s Review (RC): One of the many original illusions of the Women’s Liberation movement was that their ideas were so compelling, so true, so everything, that everybody would need to pay attention. That the British Film Institute felt it unnecessary to do much promotion has happened before - it is a very diversified and at the same time slightly eccentric institution, but, despite this and its old fashioned logo, the BFI does some good work in its publications. That it threw both the original and the revised version to the librarian’s market for review, without as much as a publisher’s blurb for promotion, has produced no review for the first, and a review of doubtful competence on the second: That this review recommends it to the academic market is a joke – did he just expect an illustrated coloured starlet brochure? The book, especially the second version, is quite free from Women’s Lib jargonese, very readable, and except that of all of the dozen contributors, only one is male, not showing any other typical W’sL eccentricities.
Not enough: That the editor/authors did not find it necessary to stimulate discussion by having at least a few friends write a few reviews for amazon and others, huge and powerful markets to get into the public eye and to promote interest and sales. So this is the second review of the New Version, of me, a male, following a rather cursory sentence by Miss Shapiro, who normally reviews her fashion purchases and some travel stuff rather than movies, which she seems to toss in as a bonus.
What, all this said, is my overall assessment? The book is a good collection of film reviewer’s articles, only very occasionally becoming unnecessarily feministic, and can also be commen-ded for its able editorship! Revisions, where I checked, were generally to the positive from the first edition, generally more relaxed; the book makes a good read and deserves five out of five points. As is the case in any such collection, quality varies between articles, but I hold that the score assigned is correct. That film, from a feminist viewpoint (but also from many others), is a strange amalgam where women are typically often the real stars, though even for the top ones, with a much more limited shelf life than males. Well, indeed, c’est la vie!
114us - Women in Film Noir (British Film Institute Books) New Edition, 1998 (First 1978/80), 240pp - 11/2/2014