This book surveys the entire range of crime ﬁlms, including im-portantsubgenressuchasthegangsterﬁlm,theprivate-eyeﬁlm,film noir, as well as the victim ﬁlm, the erotic thriller, and thecrime comedy. Focusing on ten ﬁlms that span the range of thetwentieth century, from
(1996), ThomasLeitch traces the transformation of the three leading ﬁgures thatare common to all crime ﬁlms: the criminal, the victim, and theavenger. Analyzing how each of the subgenres establishes oppo-sitions among its ritual antagonists, he shows how the distinc-tions among them become blurred throughout the course of thecentury. This blurring, Leitch maintains, reﬂects and fosters adeep social ambivalence toward crime and criminals, while thecriminal, victim, and avenger characters effectively map theshifting relations between subgenres, such as the erotic thrillerand the police ﬁlm, within the larger genre of crime ﬁlm that in-forms them all.Thomas Leitch is Professor of English and Director of Film Stud-ies at the University of Delaware. A contributing editor of
Liter- ature/Film Quarterly,
he is the author of
What Stories Are: Nar- rative Theory and Interpretation
The Encyclopedia of Alfred Hitchcock.