Re: RARA-AVIS: Hardboiled Character Traits

From: M Blumenthal (
Date: 28 Apr 2002

Anthony Dauer:

> What moral quality? Loyalty? Robert Mitchum's Coyle fails the toughness
> test then cause he rolls over on the guys he works with. I didn't say he
> couldn't be hardboiled cause he's a criminal. He isn't hardboiled
> because he isn't true and loyal to his criminality. Neither is he tough.
> Mel Gibson's Parker is hardboiled. He's tough and demands loyalty from
> his peers. He doesn't go to the cops and rat them out like that
> chicken-shit Coyle. He goes and takes them out one-by-one until he gets
> what's coming to him and nothing more. There ain't nothing more
> hardboiled than that.
Toughness test? Coyle is a very minor criminal. If he were tougher and smarter he would not be in a fix because he would have not had to take the job in New Hampshire. He tries to avoid being sent to jail by informing on those not in his organization, but he doesn't tell on the the Boston mob. That's why I wrote there will always be a problem on how you define 'tough'. To those below him he is tough, but to those above he is a sometime useful but never vital cog that can be easily replaced.

Higgins' portrait of these minor hoods is a lot more realistic than Stark's portrayal of the 'organization', If you want comparisons why don't you try comparing Gibson's Porter to Marvin's Walker and both of them to the original Parker created by Stark. Mark

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