The Big Shadow


From the very first flickerings of the movies, shadows fell hard and dark: crime haunted our popular entertainment like a guilty conscience, and it has clung to our amusements ever since. This site — an ongoing critical encyclopedic reference — is devoted to all things pop culturally crime-related: film noir, gangster movies, cop procedurals, police TV shows, gumshoe chronicles, anything in which people do bad things so that we may be entertained. But is that it? The premise — or maybe, for the author, the excuse — is the nagging suspicion that the worst we imagine of ourselves and for ourselves is best reflection of who we are, and there’s something to be said for something that is as persistently and insistently contradictory of happily-ever-after as the popular entertainment crime spree that never ends. This is the frontier — usually urban, often nocturnal, always fatal — where fears prevail, where anxiety thrives and where the cracks appear. It’s the place where the foundations of what we’ve built for ourselves crumbles, and that no amount of light can cut through the rubble. Or not for long, anyway. Like darkness the nightmares it delivers, the shadow always falls.