RE: RARA-AVIS: The Litle Sister and Hollywood

Jerry Buck (
Mon, 12 Apr 1999 22:17:27 -0700 > _The Little Sister_ is described as a novel about
> Hollywood: "the heart of the novel" [the three central chapters]; "power
> brokers and image makers"; "the most accurate of Hollywood novels";
> Marlowe penetrates to the heart of its mysteries: the agent's office,
> the starlet's dressing room, the mogul's garden. Is this right?

It's been a long time since I read THE LITTLE SISTER, but I never thought
of it as a "Hollywood novel," any more than I thought those of Ross
Macdonald that ventured down the coast were "Hollywood." Not in the sense
that THE DAY OF THE LOCUST or WHAT MAKES SAMMY RUN are Hollywood novels. If
my memory serves me, it was the only time Marlowe really ventured into

I don't think "Hollywood novels" really work today, except perhaps for
Jackie Collins. Not when people can see it on Entertainment Tonight or the
E! Channel every day and read about it in People and other magazines.

Nevertheless, a good story, great characters, and a mystery, with Hollywood
as a background works. As long as the story, characters, and mystery come
first, and there's a twist or a new angle on the crooked producer, predatory
agent, struggling has-been, scheming starlet, and the like. It all boils
down to power--who has it, who wants it, who's struggling to hold onto it,
and what price will they pay.

Chandler did well as a screenwriter. His adaptation of James M. Cain's
is a landmark film. Too bad he didn't live long enough to plug Robert Altman
and Elliott Gould for butchering THE LONG GOODBYE.

Jerry Buck

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