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New Books on Noir: From Screwball to Dragnet

A couple or recent publications have come to my attention.

TV Noir: The Twentieth Century by Ray Starman

Starman covers 50 prime-time television series over 50 years from Treasury Men (1950-55) to the X-Files (1993-99).  For those like me who grew up watching b&w TV in the 50s and 60s there is a wealth of noir analysis and a big dose of nostalgia, with chapters on shows like Dragnet, The Naked City, The Untouchables, Peter Gunn, 87th Precint (a personal favorite), The Fugitive, and Streets of San Francisco.  Available from Amazon.

Screwball Comedy and Film Noir: An Analysis of Their Imagery and Character Kinship  by Thomas C. Renzi

A comparative analysis of Screwball Comedy and Film Noir. Despite their contrast in tone and theme, Renzi sees Screwball and Noir as having many common narrative elements in common, and discusses their historical development and related conventions, offering detailed analyses of a number of films, among them The Lady Eve and His Girl Friday on the Screwball side, and Gilda and Sunset Blvd. on the Noir side.  Available from Amazon.



  1. Both books look interesting. Thanks for the update!

  2. Both books are immensely desirable, especially the one by Mr. Rienzi. I say that primarily because I am less familiar with the noir series that are the subject of Ray Starman’s “TV Noir.” Rienzi’s book covers a number a period that I have talken much interest in recent years and those four featured films make it essential.

    Great stuff here!

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