Film noir is a uniquely American genre that has stylistic links to the German expressionist cinema of the 1920s and thematic links to the hard-boiled crime fiction that emerged in the 1930s. Generally the milieu is urban and middle class, and the overall feel is one of repression and fatalism. Whether shot in black and white or color, the style reinforces the overall feel.
Films, directors, actors, producers, screenwriters, art directors, themes, plot devices and many other elements are contained in this encyclopedic reference work. Each movie entry includes full filmographic data (studio, running time, production and cast credits, and plot synopsis) along with an analysis of its place in the genre. Biographical entries focus on the person's role in noir and provide a complete filmography of their film noir work. Terms are placed in the context of the genre and relevant examples from films are given.