With Staff Picks, we would like to offer recommendations from our staff to you. These picks will be from a variety of reading, listening or viewing tastes. You might find stuff you've checked out before, or you might be intrigued enough to find a new favorite. Most of our staff picks have been reading material, but this week we bring out a DVD recommendation.

Best of Film Noir [DVD set]

Film Noir (dark film in French) is a genre of movies that was produced in America in the late 1940's and early 1950's. They are all black and white movies (adds to the darkness motif) that tend to center around some element of law enforcement. They were a statement about the 'darker' side of humanity and American life (including murder, alcohol, horror and sleaze in general). The genre developed something of a cult following and actors like Edward G. Robinson, Raymond Burr, Lizabeth Scott and Barbara Stanwyck all got their start within this genre. The black and white setting intentionally required more of the actors to carry the story and all carry that load well.

We have 2 DVD's of the Best of Film Noir. Volumes 1 and 2 both have some of the classics of Film Noir (The Red House, The Strange Love of Martha Ivers) are included in these volumes. Kirk Douglas made his encore debut in one of these films. A young Frank Sinatra plays a very interesting major role in another.

You can request either or both of these volumes from your friendly library clerk. We'll be back next Wednesday with a different Staff Pick.