View Gallery


Somewhere in the Night

Film Noir and the American City

List Price: $16.00

May 9, 2006 | Paperback | 5.5 x 8.25, 304 Pages | ISBN 9781593760977
Order Now From Indiebound

"As poet and novelist Nicholas Christopher observes... film noir is more than just a style—it's a way of looking at the world, 'a dark mirror reflecting the dark underside of American urban life.'" —New York Times

“I had seen film noirs before, with only the vaguest notion of what that term really signified (something dark and sinister?) and was attracted by their unique visual style, gritty, textured rendering of urban life, sharply drawn characters, and psychological complexity,” writes acclaimed novelist and poet Nicholas Christopher in this new and expanded edition of Somewhere in the Night.

Starting with the classic Out of the Past, Christopher takes us on the grand tour of the great film noirs. With style and humor, he identifies the genre’s central motif—“The city as labyrinth is key to entering the psychological and aesthetic framework of the film noir”—and goes on to analyze more than three hundred films from 1940 to the present. Imbuing the language of film with the lyricism so praised in his novels, Christopher draws from his vast knowledge of literature to explore the genre’s numerous influences. (Although it was a French critic who coined the term “film noir,” Christopher argues that Americans had been shooting films in the genre years even before the term was invented.) Citing cultural, social, and historical influences from all over the world, he effortlessly guides us through the labyrinth.

This edition includes a new afterword and expanded filmography, making this bold and thoroughly researched book more relevant and comprehensive than ever.

About Nicholas Christopher

NICHOLAS CHRISTOPHER is the author of the acclaimed novels Franklin Flyer, A Trip to the Stars, Veronica, and The Soloist and eight poetry collections, including Crossing the Equator: New and Selected Poems 1972-2004. He teaches at Columbia University and New York University and lives in New York City.


“As poet and novelist Nicholas Christopher observes… film noir is more than just a style—it’s a way of looking at the world, ‘a dark mirror reflecting the dark underside of American urban life.'” —New York Times

“Intellectually stimulating, thoroughly researched and excellently written. Christopher writes with the mind of a scholar and the heart of a poet… This fascinating book will be a treat for film buffs, film professionals and everyone in between.” —Publishers Weekly

“Tough-talking ‘tecs, femme fatales, hard-bitten loners, mystery, eros, danger: With rich ingredients like this, it’s hard to go wrong, and Christopher certainly doesn’t disappoint in this intelligent, thoroughgoing study of film noir.” —Kirkus

Related Products