Dartmouth 2011 • 336 pp. 148 illus. 6 x 9" Film, TV, Visual Culture
$40.00 Paperback, 978-1-61168-047-8
$34.99 Ebook, 978-1-61168-185-7
Check your ebook retailer or local library for ebook availability.
“Readers may have different senses how these noiremes cohere into a meta-film, but the individual commentaries are unfailingly insightful and suggestive of the noir ethos. In addition to the... [continued in Reviews below]”—Choice
Part thinking-mans fan crush, part crazily inspired remix of the most beloved of film genres, this book will force scholars and film lovers alike to view film noir afresh
Noir is among the most popular, acclaimed, and critically assessed film styles of all time. The unfortunate consequence is an ever-growing divergence between fans and scholars with regard to goals and methods for appreciating and studying noir. The Maltese Touch of Evil aims to bridge that gap. Based on a series of popular podcasts, this unique and inspired investigation of film noir sets out to examine the case of noir more closely, and in the process reconfigures the critical evidence on noir that has been presented to date.
The Maltese Touch of Evil reproduces and re-sequences nearly 150 still images from 31 great films, laying them out with the authors’ informed and entertaining insights into the significance of each shot. The result is a de facto meta–film noir, a celebration of the genre that shows how these films are themselves “constrained” texts whose carefully calculated visual forms simultaneously generate narrative and critical commentary on that narrative. You will never look at film noir the same way again.
Here's a video essay from authors Shannon Scott Clute and Richard L. Edwards:
Shannon Clute and Richard Edwards signing their book, The Maltese Touch of Evil, at the recent Turner Classic Movies (TCM) Classic Film Festival in Los Angeles
“Readers may have different senses how these noiremes cohere into a meta-film, but the individual commentaries are unfailingly insightful and suggestive of the noir ethos. In addition to the usual suspects, films include Sunset Boulevard, It's a Wonderful Life, Blade Runner, Batman Begins, and Good Night and Good Luck. This last chapter, a model for close analysis, will reward the reader more than the opening chapters. . . . Recommended.”—Choice
“A lucky combination of academic rigor and verbal playfulness, The Maltese Touch of Evil is provocatively open-ended. The authors, smooth writers both, are perceptive close readers, and their high-spirited commitment to unpacking selected noire moments is contagious: they make you want to join their conversation, whether in agreement or correction, defense or denial. Their intensive work reminds us yet again of the peculiar richness of the noir canon.”—Foster Hirsch, author of The Dark Side of the Screen: Film Noir and Detours and Lost Highways: A Map of Neo-Noir
SHANNON SCOTT CLUTE is an independent scholar who works for Turner Classic Movies in Atlanta. RICHARD L. EDWARDS is Lead Instructional Designer in the Integrated Learning Institute at Ball State University.