Unlike its predecessors, this third volume of the Film Noir Reader
series is a collection of interviews rather than essays but, like them, it enriches our understanding and appreciation of a screen genre of endless, gripping appeal. The interviews are mainly with directors of landmark films of the Classic Noir Period, including, among others, Edward Dmytryk (Murder My Sweet
), Samuel Fuller (Pickup On South Street
), Fritz Lang (Scarlet Street, The Woman In The Window
), Otto Preminger (Fallen Angel, Laura
), Robert Wise (Odds Against Tomorrow, The Set Up
) and Billy Wilder (Double Indemnity, Sunset Boulevard
). Many of these directors are no longer alive, but since their films will never die, this book becomes all the more remarkable in offering us, for the first time and from beyond the grave or from the remote past, thoughts and recollections that illuminate the abiding achievements of masters.
But the interviews are not limited to directors. Here also are the words of producer Dore Schary, cinematographers James Wong Howe and John F. Seitz, screenwriter Daniel Mainwaring, composer Miklos Rozsa, and actors Lizabeth Scott and Claire Trevor. Quite vividly they recall their experiences working on such noir classics as Out Of The Past, The Asphalt Jungle, The Sweet Smell Of Success, They Live By Night and The Strange Loves Of Martha Ivers.
Strikingly illustrated by an abundance of film stills, promotional art and on-location and on-the-set production photos, Film Noir Reader 3 provides a rare personal look into the creation of noir films. The filmmakers interviewed share their memories of accomplishment and failure, often adding commentary shaped by the passage of time. Now, for the most part, decades after they spoke, what they had to say still enlightens and still enthralls.