Re: RARA-AVIS: Kerr and Cody

Jim Beaver (
Mon, 4 Oct 1999 09:57:03 -0700

>Berlin Noir worth it? Are you kidding? Only one of the best, toughest
>noir trilogies of recent times. Please read it.

I've only read the first of the trilogy so far, but did anyone else feel that Kerr was trying to capture a kind of Marlowesque way with words yet not quite doing so? I felt that the Atlantic Ocean kept getting between Kerr and the way he was trying to sound. It reminded me of a meeting I had a few years back with the British director John Guillermin, who was directing a Western. I had a line in the script, as a bad guy talking to the good guy who had asked me and my gang to do something: "C'mon, make us, hayseed." Guillermin insisted that the line be read "Make us hayseed," without the central comma. I looked puzzled I suppose, so he explained that this outlaw was daring the good guy to "make us into hayseed." Well, as a fairly good ol' boy from Texas, I tried to explain to His Britness that hayseed was a term of derogation and not a descriptive noun such as he believed. But there was no convincing him. I felt, similarly, reading Kerr, that he didn't quite have a handle on the slang or rather, the Chandlerian syntax he seemed to seek.

Long story to possibly no great end.

Jim Beaver

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