Hard-Boiled: Great Lines From Classic Noir Films by Peggy Thompson and Seako Usukawa is a handsome 1996 trade pb from Chronicle Books showcasing memorable dialog from countless classic (and not so familiar) films noir and crime melodramas, coupled with gorgeous publicity shots, film stills and posters. The nicely laid out spreads include four to eight quotes side by side with pictures, some of the quotes only short one-liners, some extended exchanges, and all credited for the film sources, character names, release dates and directors. The back cover teases “Now you too can sound like you just stepped off the set of a film noir classic with lines like…”
Well, not so sure about that. In fact, trying out some of these lines in the wrong situation could get a gal in trouble, a guy slapped, and almost anyone tossed in the back of a squad car. It’s enjoyable reading for film noir fans, needless to ay, but they’re also great idea generators for writers, particularly those working in noir-ish and hard-boiled mysteries of their own. Not that I’d ever condone stealing, but cooking up your own juicy dialog feels just a little bit easier after browsing even only a few pages of this terrific book.