Re: RARA-AVIS: Movie Adaptations & "THE LONG GOODBYE (1973)

From: Nigel Algar (
Date: 21 Aug 2003

On 21/8/03 7:22 pm, "William Denton" <> wrote:

> Does anyone know if Chandler mentions Brackett in his letters, or if she
> talks about meeting him, or how well they knew each other back in the '40s
> and '50s? They must have met when Chandler was in Hollywood.

In a letter dated October 12 1944 addressed to Charles Morton of the Atlantic Monthly, Chandler refers to the script of THE BIG SLEEP: 'Bill Faulkner and a girl named Leigh Brackett wrote the script. 'Twill do. Hawks shoots from the cuff more or less, he tells me, merely using a rough script to try out his scenes and then rewriting them on the set.'

There's no other reference to Leigh Brackett in SELECTED LETTERS OF RAYMOND CHANDLER, ed. Frank MacShane. In MacShane's biography of Chandler he mentions that Chandler attended a meeting with Faulkner, Brackett, Hawks and Bogart during which he said that he liked the script, particularly the ending devised by Brackett - ironically enough later replaced by another written by Jules Furthman.

In THE BIG BOOK OF NOIR Leigh Brackett herself wrote an entertaining account of her work on THE BIG SLEEP and THE LONG GOODBYE. She confirms Hawks' impromptu working methods and reports that Faulkner simply told her that they would adapt alternate chapters, without further reference to each other, submitting material direct to Hawks.

Brackett's defence of her adaptation of THE LONG GOODBYE is too long to quote here, but the final paragraph runs:

'In its first release, the film was greeted, by some critics, with the tone of outrage generally reserved for those who tamper with the Bible. This seems just a bit silly to me. I'm an old Chandler fan from way back, probably further back than a lot of the critics. He was a powerful influence on my own work in those years. But I don't feel that any sacrilege was being committed. And I doubt that Chandler himself would have regarded every aspect of his work as Holy Writ.

I think he might even have liked Altman's version of THE LONG GOODBYE.'



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