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Distributed for Dartmouth College Press

The Maltese Touch of Evil

Film Noir and Potential Criticism

Noir is among the most popular, acclaimed, and critically assessed film styles of all time. The unfortunate consequence is an ever-growing divergence between fans and scholars with regard to goals and methods for appreciating and studying noir. The Maltese Touch of Evil aims to bridge that gap. Based on a series of popular podcasts, this unique and inspired investigation of film noir sets out to examine the case of noir more closely, and in the process reconfigures the critical evidence on noir that has been presented to date. The Maltese Touch of Evil reproduces and re-sequences nearly 150 still images from 31 great films, laying them out with the authors’ informed and entertaining insights into the significance of each shot. The result is a de facto meta–film noir, a celebration of the genre that shows how these films are themselves “constrained” texts whose carefully calculated visual forms simultaneously generate narrative and critical commentary on that narrative. You will never look at film noir the same way again.

336 pages | 6 x 9

Film Studies


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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments • Preface • A Void in Film Noir Studies • One Hundred Thousand Billion Films Noir: Oulipian Works and Potential • Workshop of Potential Criticism: Anoulipism and Plagiarism by Anticipation • Build My Scaffolding High: Noir Films as Constrained Texts • Oufinopo: The Noiremes • Postscript: How We Wrote Our Noiremes • Postliminary 1: The Guilty Parties: Out of the Past: Investigating Film Noir • Postliminary 2: Computers and Writers: The MTOE Project • Appendix 1: Selected Filmography • Appendix 2: Podcastography • Notes • Further Readings • References • Index

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