My name is Max Alvarez and I am an author, film historian, and public speaker, on world cinema. This site is dedicated to one of my favorite genres, the classic crime film, otherwise known as the film noir, film policier, mystery, or merely “thriller.” The focus will be on the extraordinary cinematic achievements of the 1940s and 1950s, when atmospheric and (mostly) monochromatic crime melodramas were at their peak of popularity, and equally extraordinary directorial talents were guiding them. The names speak for themselves: Hitchcock, Preminger, Fuller, Siodmak, Karlson, Lupino, Fleischer, Ulmer, Hathaway, (Nick) Ray, Joseph H. Lewis, and Anthony Mann. The latter director is of particular importance to me as I am the author of The Crime Films of Anthony Mann from University Press of Mississippi, which focuses on the 16-plus crime dramas Mann directed throughout his remarkable career. So as not to give short shrift to brilliant screenwriters, my essay on Thornton Wilder’s Shadow of a Doubt screenplay for Hitchcock appears in Thornton Wilder/New Perspectives from Northwestern University Press.
In addition to having worked as an entertainment journalist, film and theater critic, motion picture preservationist, archival researcher, teacher, and museum film programmer, I also lectured on film history for The Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. during 1998-2009. So it is therefore my objective to provide you, dear reader, with information and insights that you will find useful and to avoid whenever possible submerging you with 9,000-word stream-of-consciousness rants!
So follow me into that amazing netherworld of shadows, dark streets, and smoky bars, where immaculately dressed gumshoes, gunsels, femme fatales, hoodlums, and other denizens of the crime film genre, tensely co-habitate.
Above photo: Steve Brodie in Anthony Mann’s Desperate (1947), courtesy of Photofest.