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Osteen, Mark
Nightmare alley : film noir and the American dream / Mark Osteen
Baltimore : Johns Hopkins University Press, 2013
book jacket
Location Call Number Status
 4th Floor  PN1995.9.F54 O88 2013    AVAILABLE
Subject(s) Film noir -- United States -- History and criticism
Motion pictures -- Social aspects -- United States -- History -- 20th century
American Dream in art
National characteristics, American, in motion pictures
Physical Description viii, 324 p. : ill. ; 24 cm
Note Includes bibliographical references and index
Contents Introduction: film noir and the American dream -- "Someone else's nightmare": exploring noir dreamscapes -- Missing persons: self-erasure and reinvention -- Vet noir: masculinity, memory and trauma -- Framed: forging noir identities -- Noir's cars: automobility and amoral space -- Nocturnes in black and blue: memory, morality and jazz melody -- Femmes vital: film noir and women's work -- Left-handed endeavor: crime, capitalism, and the Hollywood left -- Conclusion: American nightmares
Summary "Desperate young lovers on the lam (They Live by Night), a cynical con man making a fortune as a mentalist (Nightmare Alley), a penniless pregnant girl mistaken for a wealthy heiress (No Man of Her Own), a wounded veteran who has forgotten his own name (Somewhere in the Night)--this gallery of film noir characters challenges the stereotypes of the wise-cracking detective and the alluring femme fatale. Despite their differences, they all have something in common: a belief in self-reinvention. Nightmare Alley is a thorough examination of how film noir disputes this notion at the heart of the American Dream. Central to many of these films, Mark Osteen argues, is the story of an individual trying, by dint of hard work and perseverance, to overcome his origins and achieve material success. In the wake of World War II, the noir genre tested the dream of upward mobility and the ideas of individualism, liberty, equality, and free enterprise that accompany it. Employing an impressive array of theoretical perspectives (including psychoanalysis, art history, feminism, and music theory) and combining close reading with original primary source research, Nightmare Alley proves both the diversity of classic noir and its potency. This provocative and wide-ranging study revises and refreshes our understanding of noir's characters, themes, and cultural significance."--Publisher's website
NOTE 521046

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