INTO THE DARK: THE HIDDEN WORLD OF FILM NOIR, 1941-1950 is a beautiful new coffee table book by Mark A. Vieira.
I have a number of books by Vieira, and my perception is that he tends to write two different styles of books. Titles like CECIL B. DEMILLE: THE ART OF THE HOLLYWOOD EPIC and HARLOW IN HOLLYWOOD: THE BLONDE BOMBSHELL IN THE GLAMOUR CAPITAL, 1928-1937 (cowritten with Darrell Rooney) included a great deal of substantive, well-researched text in addition to the fabulous photos.
The author's MAJESTIC HOLLYWOOD: THE GREATEST FILMS OF 1939, which I reviewed in 2014, and INTO THE DARK are more of a "scrapbook" style which are lighter on text. Without fail, however, all Vieira's books are beautifully illustrated with top-quality photos.
INTO THE DARK is, in essence, a pictorial encyclopedia of the genre's first decade. There's a brief introduction to each year, followed by entries for numerous films. The typical entry is two to four pages in length. In addition to the photos, the book provides short review excerpts as well as quotes from filmmakers and contemporaneous reactions from theater owners.
The book should appeal to both long-time noir fans and those new to the genre. I read as many books on film noir as possible, and there were a great many photos included in the book which I don't recall seeing before. Some of the photos, for instance from films like THE LOCKET (1946) and SECRET BEYOND THE DOOR (1947), are simply exquisite. And what a fantastic shot of Yvonne DeCarlo at the window in CRISS CROSS (1949), with Angels' Flight in the background!
BLACK ANGEL (1946), DESPERATE (1947), and IMPACT (1949). Of course, as with any book like this there can be puzzling omissions; for instance, where is KISS OF DEATH (1947)?
While those newer to film noir will also want to read more detailed books such as Eddie Muller's DARK CITY: THE LOST WORLD OF FILM NOIR and Foster Hirsch's THE DARK SIDE OF THE SCREEN: FILM NOIR, INTO THE DARK will whet a new noir fan's appetite to see the included films and learn more about them. As a young film fan it was photo books like INTO THE DARK which helped spur my interest in movies, and I believe a hefty, well-produced book like this is of great value, deserving a spot on every noir fan's bookshelf.
Nitrate Noir at the Billy Wilder Theater, showing LEAVE HER TO HEAVEN (1945) and NIGHTMARE ALLEY (1947). I have great memories of seeing nitrate prints as a young filmgoer in the '70s and hope to be there that evening.
INTO THE DARK is a hardcover which is 336 pages, including index. The paper is glossy, with outstanding photo reproductions. The book includes a foreword by the Film Noir Foundation's Eddie Muller.
Thanks to Running Press for providing a review copy of this book.