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The Art of Noir: The Posters and Graphics from the Classic Era of Film Noir
By Eddie Muller

To call hepcat historian Eddie Muller’s new tome The Art of Noir “eye candy” is to greatly understate its nutritional value for the hungry film fan. In short order, Eddie has already established himself as Noir City’s swingin’est scholar with his previous explorations of the subject, Dark City: The Lost World of Film Noir and Dark City Dames: The Wicked Women of Film Noir, unanimously deemed as definitive cinematic detective work. Muller has also made a famous name for himself programming and hosting wildly successful film noir festivals around the country, unearthing such long lost gems as Woman on the Run and Shakedown for rabid rediscovery. He has single-handedly revived an entire industry with his authoritative artistry, and shows no signs of slowing down.

Though the immediate attraction of The Art of Noir (Overlook Press) is the splashy reproduction of posters deliriously depicting guns, gams and graft, Eddie’s prose here is, as usual, pure professorial poetry, perfectly complementing the astonishing array of iconic imagery. He has a unique knack for engaging and edifying the reader simultaneously, the mark of a master wordsmith. His endlessly impressive knowledge of and vision for the legacy of film noir have once again coalesced into a voluptuous visual vehicle, already the best selling of his rapidly expanding literary resume. The collection here runs the gamut from the familiar classics (Criss Cross, Out of the Past, Gilda), to the notoriously cult (Shack Out On 101, Gun Crazy, Shield for Murder), to the aggressively obscure (The Long Haul, anyone?), to neo-noir (Shock Corridor, Harper), ranging in origin from American to French, Belgian, German, Italian, and everywhere in between, a real eye-opener for anyone who thinks this country locked the patent on lurid, luscious pulp. The two-page spread of the Belgian poster for Slightly Scarlet smacked me in the face with its garish eroticism like a furious femme fatale.

Beautiful, sensual, mysterious images, whether moving onscreen or captured on the page, are what define and sustain noir’s popularity in the 21st century, and Eddie Muller, with his words as well as his archival design skills, continues to passionately paint the pulpy past for popular posterity.

—Will “the Thrill” Viharo

 





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The Art of Noir: The Posters and Graphics from the Classic Era of Film Noir
   
 


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