A Guide to American Crime Films of the Thirties

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Recent crime films such as Scarface, the Dirty Harry series, and The Godfather have captured the American imagination, but they owe a large debt to the early crime talkies such as The Public Enemy, Paul Muni's Scarface, and Little Caesar. More than 1,000 entries are featured in this volume, complete with the names of directors, screen writers, and major players offering a wealth of data supported by plot evaluations. For the serious student of crime films, this work provides a comprehensive treatment of the genre. It is the only one-volume work that includes all crime sub-genres (detective, mystery, cops and robbers, and courtroom dramas) in addition to gangster films.

The period between the end of the silent film (1927) and the general acceptance of the sound film (1929) is often referred to as a transition period. The majority of theaters were not wired for sound, so many films were released in both silent and sound versions. Some added only sound effects or music to the sound track, while others offered only brief segments of sound. The early 1930s marked the end of this transition period and firmly established the sound era. This volume pays homage to these early, often crude melodramas. The authors aim to preserve the memories of these films for their own generation and to introduce these works to a new generation thirsty for entertainment and knowledge.

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About the author (1995)

LARRY LANGMAN, a free-lance writer, has taught the art and history of film for many years./e He has written film articles for video magazines and has authored several books dealing with films and film history, including Writers on the American Screen (1986), An Encyclopedia of American Film Comedy (1987), A Guide to Silent Westerns (Greenwood, 1992), and A Guide to American Silent Crime Films (with Daniel Finn, Greenwood, 1994).

DANIEL FINN, a free-lance writer, taught English in New York state for more than 25 years./e He specializes in creative writing and article publishing and was an instructor of composition at Syracuse University. He coauthored with Larry Langman A Guide to American Silent Crime Films. Currently he is working on an analysis of American short story writers.

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