News Center

Electricity and Modern Space in Post-war American Noir

Patrick Keating

CONWAY, Ark. (February 7, 2013) - The Hendrix College Film Studies Program will host Trinity University professor Dr. Patrick Keating for a lecture titled "Electricity and Modern Space in Post-war American Noir" on Friday, Feb. 15 at 4:15 p.m., in the Murphy Seminar Room at Hendrix.

The event is free and open to the public. For more information, contact Hendrix film studies professor Dr. Kristi McKim at 501-450-1242 or

Keating's publications include Hollywood Lighting From the Silent Era to Film Noir (Columbia UP), which won the Best First Book Award from the Society for Cinema and Media Studies. Hollywood Lighting was also a finalist for the Richard Wall Memorial Award presented by the Theatre Library Association. Keating also was named an Academy Film Scholar by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, an honor that helps him to pursue his current book project entitled A Dynamic Frame: Camera Movement in Classical Hollywood Film.

Although film noir is famous for its shadows, the style offers a remarkably wide range of lighting effects. In some noirs, the flatly lit office building is just as important as the dimly lit alley, and the warm glow of the living room can be just as fateful as the darkened hallway. Keating proposes that an important context for noir lighting is the increasing industrialization of electric light during the middle decades of the twentieth century. Just as the electricity industry was developing a narrative of progress to both explain and promote the expansion of light over these years, the film noir was using a combination of lights and shadows to describe and criticize that expansion.

Dr. Keating's appearance at Hendrix is made possible by a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Founded in 1876, Hendrix College is a national leader in engaged liberal arts and sciences education. For the fifth consecutive year, Hendrix was named one of the country's "Up and Coming" liberal arts colleges by U.S. News and World Report. Hendrix is featured in the 2012 edition of the Princeton Review as one of the country's best 377 colleges, the latest edition of Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think about Colleges, Forbes magazine's annual list of America's Top 650 Colleges, and the 2013 edition of the Fiske Guide to Colleges. Hendrix has been affiliated with the United Methodist Church since 1884. For more information, visit