GOOD READS • Film Noir and Los Angeles Urban History and the Dark Imaginary ➤ A/Prof. Sean Maher

Maher, S. (2021). Film noir and Los Angeles : urban history and the dark imaginary. Routledge.

This book combines film studies with urban theory in a spatial exploration of twentieth century Los Angeles. Configured through the dark lens of noir, the author examines an alternate urban history of Los Angeles forged by the fictional modes of detective fiction, film noir and neo noir.

Dark portrayals of the city are analyzed in Raymond Chandler’s crime fiction through to key films like Double Indemnity (1944) and The End of Violence (1997). By employing these fictional elements as the basis for historicising the city’s unrivalled urban form, the analysis demonstrates an innovative approach to urban historiography.

Revealing some of the earliest tendencies of postmodern expression in Hollywood cinema, this book will be of great relevance to students and researchers working in the fields of film, literature, cultural and urban studies. It will also be of interest to scholars researching histories of Los Angeles and the American noir imagination.


Dr Sean Maher is Senior Lecturer in the Creative Industries Faculty at the Queensland University of Technology (QUT) in Brisbane, Australia. He has been a been Visiting Scholar at UCLA Film and Television Archives. He is an Australian representative on the Steering Committee for the Filmmakers Research Network (FRN), a British Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) grant investigating filmmaking-based research. As a writer and director, he has produced essay films on Los Angeles and film noir as part of investigating creative practice-based research (Maher, S. and Kerrigan S, (2016) Noirscapes: Using the screen to write Los Angeles noir as urban historiography in the Journal of Writing in Creative Practice).


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