RARA-AVIS: Gunsel (Re:Hammett & Chandler & Burroughs/Black Mask Hard Boiled)

From: Anders Engwall ( Anders.Engwall@uab.ericsson.se)
Date: 14 Apr 2000

Keith Deutsch:

> "Gunsel," for instance, used by Hammett in the "Maltese Falcon" serialization in
> the 1929 issues of Black Mask, didn't mean a gunman. It was slang for a
> homosexual, and Hammett used it to refer to Wilbur, Gutman's "boy" bodyguard.

Anyone knows when this homosexual connotation disappeared?
"Gunsel" is used in Huston's movie version, and I find it hard to believe that anyone could be that explicit in the movies in 1941.

When I saw the movie some time ago the Swedish subtitles translated "gunsel" by the homosexual meaning, and I figured then the translator had made an error (the translation was otherwise pretty bad, so it was reasonable assumption). It was a *very* odd experience to see Bogie use a word meaning appr. "faggot" or "queer"...

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