American Neo-Noir

American Neo-Noir

The Movie Never Ends

 by Alain Silver and James Ursini


After scores of books and commentaries on film noir and its classic period, experts Alain Silver and James Ursini turn their full attention to neo-noir, the self-conscious, mannered, sometimes ersatz, and often surprising genre that sprang from the original movement.

American Neo-Noir: The Movie Never Ends (May 2015, Applause Books, $27.99) surveys the full breath of American neo-noir, its style and substance, its evolution over succeeding generations of filmmakers, from activist through postmodern to millennial and on, with extensive illustrations in black-and-white and full-color that capture the genre’s dramatic and visual essence.

To write a book about neo-noir, one must first define it, and Silver and Ursini do so this way:

For us, neo-noir is more genre than movement, a mimicking of the style and content of the classic period, the best early example of which is John Boorman’s 1967 Point Blank, an adaptation of The Hunter, part of a postwar, hard-boiled series of “Parker” novels about the criminal underworld by Donald Westlake writing as Richard Stark. Like its antecedent and from the first, neo-noir would also be tied closely to a literary movement, riffs on the work of Hammett, Chandler, and McCoy, starting with the gritty exploration of sociopathy by Jim Thompson, the smug mysogyny of Spillane’s Mike Hammer and then a next generation that included Westlake, Ross Macdonald, and Elmore Leonard.

With chapters such as “Victims of Circumstance – Love with an Improper Stranger,” “Gangsters, Pushers, Pimps, and Con Men,” and “Some Cops Still Bend the Rules,” and a filmography featuring more than 500 titles, American Neo-Noir: The Movie Never Ends is the most thorough examination yet of the movement from its creation to the present day.

8″ x 10″
336 pages
Applause Theatre & Cinema Books, an imprint of Hal Leonard Performing Arts Publishing Group


Alain Silver is the author of The Samurai Film and The Noir Style. With James Ursini, he co-edited Film Noir: The Encyclopedia and seven readers on film noir and the horror and gangster genres, all published by Limelight Editions, an imprint of Hal Leonard Corporation. His produced screenplays include the Showtime feature Time at the Top. He lives in Santa Monica, Calif.

James Ursini is co-author, with Alain Silver, of The Vampire Film, published by Limelight Editions, and Film Noir Graphics. His other books include Femme Fatale, Cinema of Obsession, and Directors on the Edge. Together, Silver and Ursini have contributed audio-video commentaries for more than two dozen noir DVD releases.

8 x 10 in. cutout print



Hal Leonard Performing Arts Publishing Group, the trade book division of Hal Leonard Corporations, publishes books on the performing arts under the imprints Hal Leonard Books, Backbeat Books, Amadeus Press, and Applause Theatre and Cinema Books.

Posted on May 22, 2015, in Uncategorized and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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