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Dark City Dames: The Wicked Women of Film Noir Hardcover – 4 Apr 2002
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The emerging genre of film noir in the late 1940s was the dark, real-world underside of Hollywood's Golden Age, and it was noir that gave us the femme fatale--the first tough, independent icon in American popular culture. At a time when American was supposed to be all post-war peaches and sunshine, the film noir dame had a strong mind, a strong arm, trouble in her past and up ahead of her, legs a mile long and lipstick you could fall into. The Dark City Dames of the great film noirs--Force of Evil, The Narrow Margin, Kiss of Death, Out of the Past, The Killing, While the City Sleeps - were dangerous, sly, and always more urgent and powerful than the men who tried to possess them. These women were all brought to life by a group of extraordinary actresses - working women who embodied the sultry aftermath of the accidental gender-shifting brought about by WWII.Eddie Muller--author of Dark City, the definitive book on noir--has selected eight of these formidable figures, and in this book he traces their lives in two remarkable years: 1948-49, the make-or-break year for all these women's careers, and 1998-9, half a century later, which finds these women all still living within blocks of each other in Hollywood, some rich and well known, others scraping away just as their on-the-edge alter egos did all those years ago. He dogs their heels through the studio machinations, competition, and volatile affairs (featuring Howard Hughes, John Huston, Humphrey Bogart, Kirk Douglas, and others) of the 1940s, and watches them with equal fascination today, as they have the last laugh. This is a book of contrasts-between youth and age, toughness and weakness, fact and fiction, dreams and reality--but at its heart is a band of women who were in a rare place at a rare time--the women who became the Dark Queens of America and mid-century, and who remain bright, opinionated, self-reliant, proud, and sexy half a century later.Filled with unbelievable gossip and attitude, written and designed with style and wit, Dark City Dames will be that rare film book that breaks away from the pack and fascinates anyone interested in the American woman - past, present and future
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I've read just about everything published on this subject and can honestly say nobody does it better than Muller. Buy this book and while your at it, throw "Dark City" into your cart along with it... you'll thank me for it later.
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