The earlier Film Noir Readers, which now boast a combined sale of well over 30,000 copies, have all quite deliberately conveyed a sweeping overview of the classic period, demonstrating how broad and inclusive noir movies are. Film Noir Reader 4 moves in a different direction. Its purpose is to identify the key films and motifs of noir and to analyze in depth the prototypical pictures that, while vivid examples of certain cinematic themes, bend and break their molds to find new ways to enthrall and frighten us.
Like its predecessors, Film Noir Reader 4 is generously illustrated and features essays by such respected film critics and scholars as Robin Wood, J.P. Telotte, R. Barton Palmer and Robert Porfirio. All have as their purpose to explain why and how these classic films work: the way screenplay, direction, acting, cinematography, editing and all the other filmmaking crafts blended together to produce work that exemplifies both a particular movement in film history and the innovations that keep the noir style fresh and compelling.