Re: RARA-AVIS: Marlowe as racist?

From: Juri Nummelin (
Date: 05 Sep 2000

On Tue, 5 Sep 2000, Anders Engwall wrote:

> > In the fifties Finnish translations of "The Long Goodbye" they left out
> > the scene where Marlowe resents some Finnish client for being ugly and
> > misbehaving.
> Was it really in "The Long Goodbye"? I remember the scene,
> but somehow my memory says it was in "The High Window" or
> "The Little Sister".

I should say it was "The Long Goodbye", but I'm not so sure now. I'll check when I get home.

> Anyway, Chandler must have had some sort of special
> relation to Finland, since there is also a Finnish
> hotel detective in "Playback". That makes it two out
> of seven novels that have Finnish characters, albeit
> minor ones. What were the odds, considering the
> (presumably very low) number of finns living in L.A.
> in the fifties?

Don't forget Albert Salmi (since we discussed Sam Peckinpah - Salmi plays one of the bandits in "The Wild Bunch"). But to get more serious, Chandler writes in one of his charming letters that he received ten copies of the Finnish translations of "Lady in the Lake", the first Chandler to be translated, and makes some notions about the Finnish language. Maybe it was so funny to him that he wanted to include Finnish characters into his books. But isn't there in "Red Harvest" a thug called Pete Finn or something like that? I'll write an essay: "An Influence of Finnish Language and Finnish Folk Nature as Imposed on Hard Boiled Literature, seen from the Viewpoint of Postfeminist Poststructuralism".

> ObOffTopic: it's not clear who was the first to record
> "I'm Not Your Stepping Stone". There's even a third
> contender; The W.C. Fields Memorial Electric String
> Band. Well, at least they get bonus points for their
> name.

They certainly do. Smack, a Finnish Stooges-wannabe band who tried to make it big in the US back in the eighties, also recorded it.


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