By Nathaniel Rich
Little Bookroom. $17.95.
Fog and film is a great combination, especially in a city like San Francisco, which is justly famous for the mist that blankets everything from the Golden Gate Bridge to the Transamerica Pyramid. In this unusual guide, author Rich examines a particular type of movie, called film noir. Made during and after World War II, film noir is all about sharp angles and moody shadows. If a word can sum it up, it would be dread. Why, he asks, were so many film noirs shot in San Francisco? He looks at classics such as "The Maltese Falcon" and "Vertigo" and the real-life places where they were shot. He also includes post-noir films: the chase scene in "Bullitt" or the stadium scene in "Dirty Harry" where detective Harry Callahan first confronts a serial killer. Rich also includes information on the annual Noir City film festival, the Mystery Bookstore, and the Danger and Despair Knitting Circle, a nonprofit organization that he calls a cross between a film society and a speakeasy. -- JUNE SAWYERS, CHICAGO TRIBUNE