While many scholars have focused on noir as a dark visual style, or a worldview marked by the anxieties and stark realities of modernity, few have addressed noir's high degree of self-consciousness or its profoundly quirky humor. In their new book, The Maltese Touch of Evil: Film Noir and Potential Criticism, Clute and Edwards focus on these underappreciated characteristics of noir to demonstrate how films noir frame their "intertextual" borrowings from on another and create visual puns, and how these gestures function to generate both compelling narratives and critical reflections upon those narratives.
Drawing on the on the concept of "constraint" articulated by the Oulipo (a French acronym for "Ouvroir de Littérature Potentielle," or "Workshop of Potential Literature"), Clute and Edwards demonstrate that noir was among the most constrained of film styles, and the constraints noir embraced gave rise to its infinite variability and unprecedented self-reflexivity—the very characteristics that have often forced scholars to bracket off noir, framing it as an exception to the otherwise tidy world of studio-era American cinema.
Grab a copy of Clute and Edwards' new book today!
Dartmouth College Press (University Press of New England) has released Clute and Edwards' new study of film noir, The Maltese Touch of Evil: Film Noir and Potential Criticism. This exciting book builds on crucial insights from the Out of the Past: Investigating Film Noir podcasts, and draws on the work of the experimental literary group Oulipo (an acronym for "Ouvroir de Littérature Potentielle," or "Workshop of Potential Literature") to investigate the extreme self-consciousness and high degree of visual punning exhibited by noir. In the process, the book proposes—and serves as a sustained demonstration of—an OuFiNoPo, or Workshop of Potential Film Noir. Part thinking-man’s fan crush, part crazily inspired remix of the most beloved of film genres, this study will help scholars and film fans alike to view film noir afresh, and achieve new insights into even the best known movies. See the full press release from Dartmouth College Press here.
Australian Broadcasting Corporation broadcast 10 episodes of Out of the Past: Investigating Film Noir on its weekly series entitled Top of the Pods., advertised by ABC as: "some of the best audio to be found in the podcast universe...On Top of the Pods you can try everything and there will always be something to grab you by the ears and engage your cerebellum. Don’t trawl through trash—listen to the Top of the Pods."
We greatly enjoyed knowing that our podcast aired across Australia on one of its main radio outlets. We received wonderful feedback from Australian listeners. Thanks to ABC and all the Aussie fans of noir.
We also loved the creative titles of the episodes we appeared in (often involving podcasts on the brain!), and we frequently were grouped with content produced by the BBC Radio.
Clute and Edwards have been invited to the Decatur Book Festival to discuss their book, The Maltese Touch of Evil: Film Noir and Potential Criticism. The Decatur Book Festival is one of the largest book fests in the country. Clute and Edwards will be in a Q&A style interview with moderator Curt Holman. After the panel, they will be signing copies of their book. They will be speaking on Sunday, September 2nd, 2012 at 3:45pm at the Decatur Conference Center Auditorium. If you are in the Atlanta area, please come out and attend this wonderful event. For more information or event details, check out the festival's website at this link.
Clute was invited by Mullholland Books, the suspense and crime imprint of Little, Brown and Company, to contribute a short article on hard-boiled writer extraordinaire Jim Thompson—in honor of Mulholland's new ebook releases of Thompson's novels. For Clute's thoughts on THE GRIFTERS, and the power of Thompson's prose, click the above link.