BLACKOUT: WORLD WAR II AND THE ORIGINS OF FILM NOIR Sheri Chinen Biesen, The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2005 http://www.press.jhu.edu/books/title_pages/8895.html http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/product-description/0801882184/ref=dp_proddesc_0/103-4973985-3123840?%5Fencoding=UTF8&n=283155 "This volume stands out as one of the best and perhaps the single most essential book in English on film noir. Biesen reveals an untold part of the movement with originality, sophistication, and vitality. Her work will become a foundation for subsequent interpretation of film noir, as well as an ideal text in film, history, and cultural studies courses."--Brian Taves, film historian, author of The Romance of Adventure: The Genre of Historical Adventure Movies Challenging conventional scholarship, placing the origins of film noir in postwar Hollywood, Sheri Chinen Biesen finds the genre's roots firmly planted in the political, social, and material conditions of Hollywood during the war. After Pearl Harbor, America and Hollywood experienced a sharp cultural transformation that made horror, shock, and violence not only palatable but preferable. Hard times necessitated cheaper sets, fewer lights, and fresh talent; censors as well as the movie-going public showed a new tolerance for sex and violence; and female producers experienced newfound prominence in the industry. Biesen brings prodigious archival research, accessible prose, and imaginative insights to both well-known films noir of the wartime period—The Maltese Falcon, The Big Sleep, and Double Indemnity—and others often overlooked or underrated—Scarlet Street, Ministry of Fear, Phantom Lady, and Stranger on the Third Floor. Sheri Chinen Biesen is a film historian and assistant professor of radio, television, and film studies at Rowan University. Educated at the University of Southern California School of Cinema-Television (B.A. 1987, M.A. 1995) and University of Texas at Austin (Ph.D. 1998), Professor Biesen is the recipient of numerous research awards and teaching honors and has taught cinema history at the University of Texas at Austin, University of California, University of Southern California School of Cinema-Television, and University of Leicester in England. She has contributed to Film Noir Reader 4, Film and History, Literature/Film Quarterly, Popular Culture Review, Quarterly Review of Film and Video, The Historian, Television and Television History and edited The Velvet Light Trap.