Columbia Pictures, today a part of Sony Pictures Entertainment, released literally tons of movies. Of those, Gene Blottner lists a selection of altogether 169 pictures, and they are all associated with film noir in one way or another, while they are from the genres of Westerns, science-fiction, drama, detective, comedy or horror movie.
Columbia Pictures was rather busy in releasing noir films, particularly in the late 1940s and then again from 1954 to 1958; then alone 60 films in noir style hit the cinemas.
As there still is no final and exact definition of the noir genre or style, Blottner explains that any title “… included in any noir festival was an automatic entry [into the filmography], whether it was called a noir or a hybrid-noir.”
And since this is a filmography, the emphasis here is on the movies and not on the company’s movie politics. Apart from a three page introduction all text is devoted to the films and informs about alternate title, working title, all production data, songs used, filming location, story, reviews, synopses, notes and commentaries, and ends with Blottner’s overall appraisal of the production.
The book features 56 photos, movies stills and posters to illustrate his selection. Naturally, the most prominent pictures such as Gilda, The Lady from Shanghai, Johnny O’Clock, Our Man in Havana, 3:10 to Yuma, The Tall T, All the King’s Men, In A Lonely Place, Dead Reckoning, and the “Whistler” movies are all included.
However, this is all one can ever expect of a filmography that covers Columbia’s noir movies from October 1940 to June 1962, and I am glad to have it on the shelf, although today there are many online sources that provide similar information, if not in so much detail.
Review by Dr. A. Ebert © 2016
Gene Blottner. Columbia Noir: A Complete Filmography 1940-1962. McFarland, 2015, 283 p.