Re: RARA-AVIS: the voice of hardboiled

From: Mark Sullivan (
Date: 13 Aug 2001

Jim wrote:

"Chandler never actually said that Grant would be the best Marlowe. He said that Grant was the actor who looked most like Chandler's visual image of the character, which isn't quite the same thing."

I can definitely see your reading of Chandler's statement, but I take
"If I ever had an opportunity of selecting the movie actor who could best represent him to my mind, I think it would have been Cary Grant" to mean more than just looks. Although it does appear in the middle of a paragraph about Marlowe's physical description, it directly follows a remark about Marlowe's toughness (in Raymond Chandler Speakng, p. 228).

"However much he may have preferred Powell, however, he was also very pleased with Bogart's performance, saying that he seemed genuinely tough, not merely an actor pretending to be tough."

I love the way he put it: "Bogart can be tough without a gun" (pp. 216-217).

"Personally, much as I love both *The Big Sleep* and Bogart's performance in it, I also prefer Powell and *Murder, My Sweet*."

I've got to agree with you here. And for the same reasons, Murder My Sweet is a Chandler film (the best in my book), Big Sleep is a Bogart film. Both are very good things, but different.


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