Film Noir Production

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Film Noir Production
The Whodunit of the Classic American Mystery Film
By David Landau

170 Pages - 10 B/W Illustrations

David Landau’s Film Noir Production: The Whodunit of the Classic American Mystery Film is a book meant for those who like a good story, one the Noir Films always delivered, concentrating on the characters more than anything else. Readers will find in these pages many behind-the-scenes tales of the productions of certain hard-boiled film classics and the prime players involved in their creation, from Darryl Zanuck and Raymond Chandler to John Seitz and Billy Wilder.

This book features:

    A clear understanding of how movies are actually made and all the creative artists that contribute, creating a better appreciation for the many talented artistic collaborators that worked in the Hollywood Studio System and who together created film noir.

    A behind-the-scenes look at the making of a classic film noir movie that typifies the chapter’s subject, allowing the reader to view that film in a new light and think about it from a new prospective.

    Appendices of suggested films to screen, film noir books for further reading, and downloadable files containing discussion points and class assignments for each chapter.

    An informative and conversational writing style, making the subject matter easy to digest and fun to read.

This book is an indispensible companion text for anyone studying or interested in film noir, film history, the bygone days of the Hollywood film factories or how movies are actually made.

Table of Contents


Chapter 1: Noir Comes to Light (The Maltese Falcon)

Chapter 2: The Noir Hero (Murder My Sweet)

Chapter 3: The Noir Anti-Hero (This Gun for Hire)

Chapter 4: The Femmes of Noir: They Aren’t Always Fatale (Double Indemnity)

Chapter 5: Directors and Noir: A Dark Relationship (Laura)

Chapter 6: The Noir Cast (The Big Sleep)

Chapter 7: Noir Themes (Macao)

Chapter 8: Noir Style; Cinematography, Sets, Costumes and Music (The Big Combo)

Chapter 9: Noir Speak: Dialog and Narration (Kiss Kiss Bang Bang)

Chapter 10: Noir Today, Noir Tomorrow: Noir’s Rebirth, Neo Noirs and Noir Influence (House of Games)

Appendix 1: Suggested Noir Films

Appendix 2: Books on Film Noir


Film Glossary



David Landau is an award winning mystery playwright with seven works published by Samuel French including his internationally produced play Murder at Cafe Noir, a comedy tribute to the film noir movies of the 1940s, which would be performed in theaters across the United States and Canada for the following six years. His noir play Deep Six Holiday, inspired by the work of James Cain, has won several theater awards, and his noir short film Joker’s Wild, (written and photographed by David) was featured on A&E Short Subjects, Cinemax, and won several film festival awards. David holds a Masters of Fine Arts in screenwriting from Goddard College, has published a dozen articles on screenwriting in such magazines as Screenwriter’s Monthly and Script Magazine, has won several screenwriting awards and has had several scripts optioned. As a full professor at Fairleigh Dickinson University, David teaches film, cinematography, screenwriting and film noir. He is a member of the Mystery Writers of America, the Dramatists Guild, the University Film & Video Association and IATSE local 52 as a gaffer.


    "’The stuff that dreams are made of.’ What Sam Spade said in The Maltese Falcon definitely applies to Film Noir Production. If you truly want to learn how the dark dreams of these films were conceived and written, let alone produced, David Landau’s book is a must read."

    –David Carren, screenwriter, Silver Palm Award winner, Writer’s Guild Award nominee

    "Film Noir Production is a breezy yet informative look at the content and making of Film Noir. If you weren't a fan of the genre before, you will be after reading this book!"

    –Peter Kiwitt, Associate Professor, Rochester Institute of Technology, Director member, Director's Guild of America

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