From its earliest days, the American film industry has attracted European artists. With the rise of Hitler, filmmakers of conscience in Germany and other countries, particularly those of Jewish origin, found it difficult to survive and fledùfor their work and their livesùto the United States. Some had trouble adapting to Hollywood, but many were celebrated for their cinematic contributions, especially to the dark shadows of film noir.
Driven to Darkness explores the influence of Jewish TmigrT directors and the development of this genre. While filmmakers such as Fritz Lang, Billy Wilder, Otto Preminger, and Edward G. Ulmer have been acknowledged as crucial to the noir canon, the impact of their Jewishness on their work has remained largely unexamined until now. Through lively and original analyses of key films, Vincent Brook penetrates the darkness, shedding new light on this popular film form and the artists who helped create it.
Vincent Brook teaches media studies at the University of California, Los Angeles, and theUniversity of Southern California. He is the author of Something Ain’t Kosher Here: The Rise of the “Jewish” Sitcom and the editor of “You Should See Yourself “: Jewish Identity in Postmodern American Culture (both Rutgers University Press).
"The strength of his book lies in the careful analyses of the narratives and visual styles of their film noir works and in placing these within the biographical contexts of their creators. Their shared experience of exile explains the sinister vision of the world they captured on screen."