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Editor: Andrew Spicer

This book aims to provide an overview of the history and development of film noir and neo-noir in five major European cinemas, France, Britain, Germany, Spain and Italy, written by leading authorities in their respective fields. It contains a bibliography and extensive filmography. The book describes the distinctiveness of film noir or neo-noir within its respective national cinema at particular moments, but also discusses its interaction with American film noir and neo-noir. It commences with a reflection on the significant similarities and differences that emerge in these accounts of the various European film noirs, and on the nature of this dialogue, which suggests the need to understand film noir as a transnational cultural phenomenon. The problems of defining film noir and the reasons why it has almost always been regarded solely as an American form are discussed. Because British film noir had never received critical recognition, Andrew Spicer argues that British neo-noir had to reinvent itself anew, with little, if any, explicit continuity with its predecessors. The book also explores the changes in the French polar after 1968: the paranoia of the political thriller and the violence of the postmodern and naturalistic thriller. That new noir sensibility is different enough, and dark enough, from what preceded it, for us to call it 'hyper-noir'. British neo-noirs are highly intertextual and allusive, both thematically and visually. The book also discusses German neo-noir, Spanish film noir and neo-noir, and the Italian film noir.

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Andrew Spicer

British neo-noirs are highly intertextual and allusive, both thematically and visually. They have a degree of visibility and recognition - even if they are often reviewed dismissively - because they are produced by filmmakers conscious of the 'tradition' of film noir. Get Carter, a highly representative British neo-noir because of its combination of indebtedness to American gangster films and British social realism, has itself become a powerful model, acting as a cultural intermediary between contemporary British filmmakers and American noir. Carter's investigations reveal how civic corruption, gambling, violence and sleazy sex are intermingled in a predatory noir world. Empire State's critical conflation of Thatcherism and the Americanisation of British culture was explored in a more extended form in Stormy Monday. Shooters replaces Bird's overtly political agenda with the fatalistic existentialism more characteristic of the third phase of neo-noir, and the film's sense of anarchy and social breakdown is stronger.

in European film noir
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Andrew Spicer

This introduction presents an overview of key concepts discussed in the subsequent chapters of this book. The book contains a bibliography and extensive filmography. It describes the distinctiveness of film noir or neo-noir within its respective national cinema at particular moments, but also discusses its interaction with American film noir and neo-noir. The book focuses on the significant similarities and differences that emerge in these accounts of the various European film noirs, and on the nature of this dialogue, which suggests the need to understand film noir as a transnational cultural phenomenon. It examines some necessary preliminaries: the problems of defining film noir and the reasons why it has almost always been regarded solely as an American form. The book concludes with some way to rectifying the negligence of neo-noir and provides the inspiration for further work that examines other European noir and neo-noir cinemas.

in European film noir
An Analysis of RED Production Company and Warp Films
Andrew Spicer and Steve Presence

This article analyses the production cultures of two film and television companies in the United Kingdom – RED Production and Warp Films – by discussing the companies formation and identity, aims and ethos, internal structures and their networks of external relationships. The article argues that although managing directors and senior personnel exercise considerable power within the companies themselves, the companies depend on the extent to which they are able to engage with other industry agents, in particular the large-scale institutions that dominate the film and television industries. By situating analysis of these negotiated dependencies within shifting macroeconomic, historical and cultural contexts, the article argues that the increasing power of multinational conglomerates and the cultural convergence between film and high-end television drama marks a threshold moment for both companies which will alter their production cultures significantly.

Film Studies