A superb showing of 338 colour film noir posters in a marvellous (oversize) book. None of the posters are angled or overlap each other and they all have credit and comment captions, all this thanks to book designer Bernard Schleifer who handles this rather garish material in a restrained way, though he did make a mistake with the ridiculously small page numbers. Author Eddie Muller writes just enough to back up the posters without making the book too text heavy and he has come up with some neat ideas, like using posters from other countries, grouping posters according to the director or actor or writer and a chapter that I thought fascinating, `Noir Around The World: Exploring how artists in other cultures rendered a peculiarly American style'.
Look through the book and you'll see how tacky so many of the American illustrations look, whereas the artists used in Europe seem technically better (is this a cultural thing?) and in many cases the poster design is more competent, the Spanish version of Dragnet (1954) on page sixty-three is really graphic yet uses all the usual ingredients, painting of the star, smaller illustrations (in this case the New York skyline and a couple of gangsters) bold type for the title yet turn over the page and a huge American version hits you and it looks a mess in comparison. However, all these posters capture the spirit of this American movie genre and the book looks so stunning that I don't think the subject could be covered better.
The perfect companion to `The Art of Noir' is `The Noir Style' by Alain Silver and James Ursini (and also beautifully designed by Mr Schleifer) it uses dozens of film stills to explain just what was so special about these movies. I found it fascinating to see the black and white photos the artists used to create the poster art. Both books should be in your `noir' collection.
on 24 August 2014
A brilliant collection of Noir posters - and good value for money, considering how difficult to find these are. Many of the reproductions are large enough to frame, although a few cover two pages and those of my favourite film noirs (Third Man, Maltese Falcon, Laura etc) are not full page-size. If any noir is left out, I couldn't name it - though a few included here might not always be included in this genre.