RE: RARA-AVIS: Fissures in hardboiledness

From: Anthony Dauer (
Date: 27 Apr 2002

I think you may have hit the nail on the head with that ... being anything all the time isn't very realistic. That would be too black and white, and reality is rarely that. Too often when a character does they turn into a two-dimensional representation of themselves. As far as LA Confidential goes, I can't recall anyone being out of character. The period of time (in the movie at least) doesn't require it for believability. The book is a patchwork of scenes so it wouldn't necessarily require it either. A more through exploration of character would require it possibly as in Marlowe or Lew Archer, etc.

I'm not sure if the "humble beginnings" should be a requirement either
... how do you know that Marlowe or the Continental Op for example aren't the disillusioned sons of wealth? Their experiences growing up leading to their cynical and hardboiled attitudes at maturity? Wasn't Marlowe an Intel officer in WWII? Or am I thinking of someone else? Officer tends to equal college degree outside of a field commission as does being part of the Intel MOS. Then his work in the DA's office supports that as well. A more likely position for a child of wealth than as a flatfoot. Exley comes back to become a cop, but that's where his roots are to begin with.

Lots of possibilities there.

Anthony Dauer
Alexandria, Virginia

2nd Annual Country Noir Issue ...
... submit by 4 May 2002
-----Original Message----- From: Mario Taboada Sent: Saturday, April 27, 2002 1:19 PM
The point is, I think, that no character can be totally hardboiled all the time. A point that has already been made by other posters but which, in the case or Parker (an acknowledged ultrahardboiled icon), seems particularly apposite.
Now the quiz: Can anybody think of a good action, or at least an out of character action, by Dudley Smith? I know that he's more in the psychopath category, but the question is still relevant.

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