RARA-AVIS: RE: Gunsel and Hardboiled Music

From: Dick Lochte ( dlock@ix.netcom.com)
Date: 14 Apr 2000

>Anders Engwall asked:
>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.

My guess is that it never had common usage before Hammett put it into print. After that, everyone, like Hammett's editor and publisher, assumed it meant someone who toted a gun. Certainly moviegoers made that assumption. I think it was probably Ellery Queen, in his/their magazine, who identified the original meaning in an entertaining essay about the games Hammett played with obscure underworld argot (gooseberry lay, etc.). On the subject of hardboiled music, there have been several CDs worth noting. Rhino has released "Classic Film Noir Themes and Scenes," soundtrack stuff from "The Maltese Falcon," "Postman," "The Big Sleep,"
"Murder My Sweet," and two volumes of "Crime Jazz" covering a lot of TV shows ("Richard Diamond," "Peter Gunn," "Mike Hammer," "M Squad"). Varese Sarabande has "Sax and Violence" with music from "Taxi Driver," "The Grifters," "Chinatown" and "Point Blank." I did the line notes for
"Violence." Dick Lochte

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