Author Spotlight

Imogen Sara Smith

Imogen Sara Smith is the author of In Lonely Places: Film Noir Beyond the City and Buster Keaton: The Persistence of Comedy. Her writing has appeared in Sight & Sound, Cineaste, Film Quarterly, Reverse Shot, and other publications.

17 Results

Lost and Found Cinema for testing
Lost and Found Cinema for testing

On a trip to the Library of Congress’s Mostly Lost workshop—affectionately known as “film-geek heaven”—Imogen Sara Smith joined early-cinema aficionados in uncovering treasures from the vaults.

Mistress of Ceremonies
Mistress of Ceremonies

The stakes are high. An unknown entertainer newly arrived in a foreign country prepares for her first performance, under pressure to make a hit with a restless, rowdy audience. It is a hot night; the crowd exudes a collective humidity, faces glisteni…

By Imogen Sara Smith

On Film / Features
Apr 22, 2018
The Sun on Their Faces: One Scene from People on Sunday

One Scene

The Sun on Their Faces: One Scene from People on Sunday

One of the most memorable sequences in the silent classic People on Sunday explores the experience of being photographed and the tension between still and moving images.

By Imogen Sara Smith

On Film / Features
Jan 24, 2018
The Beautiful Crimes of Henri Decaë

Dark Passages

The Beautiful Crimes of Henri Decaë

In her latest column, critic Imogen Sara Smith explains how cinematographer Henri Decaë brought a risk-taking spirit and seductive allure to some of the most iconic French crime films.

By Imogen Sara Smith

On Film / Features
Dec 20, 2017
Fatal Women and the Fate of Women

Dark Passages

Fatal Women and the Fate of Women

What is the defining characteristic of the femme fatale? Critic Imogen Sara Smith explores the range of this film noir archetype through a handful of classic performances.

By Imogen Sara Smith

On Film / Features
Jul 31, 2017
Beauty and the Beast: Ralph Meeker in Something Wild

Performances

Beauty and the Beast: Ralph Meeker in Something Wild

Known for playing sexy noir toughs, Ralph Meeker underwent a startling transformation as the anguished, slovenly male lead in Jack Garfein’s psychological drama.

Lost and Found Cinema broken
Lost and Found Cinema broken

On a trip to the Library of Congress’s Mostly Lost workshop—affectionately known as “film-geek heaven”—Imogen Sara Smith joined early-cinema aficionados in uncovering treasures from the vaults.

Lost and Found Cinema
Lost and Found Cinema

On a trip to the Library of Congress’s Mostly Lost workshop—affectionately known as “film-geek heaven”—Imogen Sara Smith joined early-cinema aficionados in uncovering treasures from the vaults.

Tough and Not-So-Tough Guys

Dark Passages

Tough and Not-So-Tough Guys

What defines noir acting? In her latest Dark Passages column, Imogen Sara Smith examines the stylistic variety in some of the genre’s most iconic male performances, including Burt Lancaster in The Killers and Ralph Meeker in Kiss Me Deadly.

Mildred Pierce: A Woman’s Work
Mildred Pierce: A Woman’s Work

Joan Crawford delivers one of her greatest performances in Michael Curtiz’s unsparing look at class, ambition, and the all-consuming intensity of maternal love.

By Imogen Sara Smith

On Film / Essays
Feb 20, 2017
The Devil in the Details

Dark Passages

The Devil in the Details

To make the performance of a tedious, exacting, time-consuming task riveting to watch, it is only necessary for the activity to be illegal.

By Imogen Sara Smith

On Film / Features
Jan 15, 2017
Exile at Home

Dark Passages

Exile at Home

Imogen Sara Smith examines the tensions between tradition and modernity reflected in two silent crime films by Yasujiro Ozu and Tomu Uchida.

By Imogen Sara Smith

On Film / Features
Dec 18, 2016
Noir on the Range

Dark Passages

Noir on the Range

In her latest column, critic Imogen Sara Smith explores landmark moments in the intersection of noir and the western, including Marlon Brando’s One-Eyed Jacks.

By Imogen Sara Smith

On Film / Features
Oct 31, 2016
What’s in a Name

Dark Passages

What’s in a Name

If you consider noir as a global phenomenon, then films like Julien Duvivier’s Pépé le moko (1937), Jean Renoir’s La bête humaine (1938), and Carné’s Port of Shadows (1938) may be the first full harvest of this bitter crop.

By Imogen Sara Smith

On Film / Features
Sep 19, 2016
Is The Red Shoes a Film Noir?

Dark Passages

Is The Red Shoes a Film Noir?

While considered to lie outside the highly policed boundaries of film noir, films like Douglas Sirk’s Written on the Wind and Powell and Pressburger’s The Red Shoes nevertheless share many of noir’s stylistic and thematic tropes.

By Imogen Sara Smith

On Film / Features
Aug 14, 2016
In a Lonely Place: An Epitaph for Love
In a Lonely Place: An Epitaph for Love

Nicholas Ray’s In a Lonely Place imbues the conventions of film noir with a subtle, tense vulnerability that lends a naturalistic weight to the film’s powerful emotional impact.


By Imogen Sara Smith

On Film / Essays
May 10, 2016
Odd Man Out: Death and the City
Odd Man Out: Death and the City

Before he turned Vienna into a labyrinth of shadows with The Third Man, Carol Reed brought film noir to Belfast for this stylishly fatalistic tale of a man caught up in political violence.

By Imogen Sara Smith

On Film / Essays
Apr 14, 2015