The Noir Style

by Alain Silver and James Ursini

Review by Cathleen Myers

If you’re looking for style ideas and costume tips for PEERS’ Film Noir Ball, you couldn’t choose a better source of inspiration than The Noir Style, another elegant coffee table book which is also a thoughtful study of the cinema itself, focusing on several hundred full-page shots from classic Film Noirs from The Maltese Falcon (1941) to Touch of Evil (1958) as well as from such pre-Noir 30’s films as Scarface and The Blue Angel, and modern "Neo Noirs" like Silence of the Lambs and the spoof Basic Instinct. The editors, who have written several previous Film Noir studies, really know their stuff and have a fine eye for detail if perhaps a too eager eye for Freudian symbolism.

Fortunately for us costumers and dancers, the book pays loving attention to costume details, which should really help you get into the spirit of our Film Noir ball. Considering an all-black or all-white ensemble, ladies? Have a look at the section on femme fatales in Film Noir, which compares Rita Hayworth’s clinging black evening gown in Gilda with Jane Russell’s equally fitted white gown in Macao. Not sure how to accessorize? Not sure when a hat is appropriate? Black tie or white? Film Noir Style is a useful guide.

The photography is stunning, the analyses most perceptive and thoughtful, and the filmography very useful indeed. Don’t miss it!


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