RARA-AVIS: beat up

From: Mark Sullivan ( DJ-Anonyme@webtv.net)
Date: 27 Aug 2003

I just got back from seeing A Fistfull of Dollars again (on a full size screen!). Near the end, the Man with No Name is badly beaten. He wears the results through the end of the film.

This got me thinking about the tough guys in the hardboiled genre. We are all aware of, even joke about the cliche of the PI who is knocked out, but gets right back up to screw the closest buxom blonde. When did this change? When did hardboiled tough guys start showing the effects of violence on them? Were there precedents in the pulps?

Actually, has it changed that much? Sure, writers have gotten very good at showing the effects of violence on the victims, clients, etc,, but I still can't think of that many tough guy (or gal) heroes who really show the physical impact of violence on them (for more than a moment) and even fewer who address the mental impact. A rare, and very effective, exception is when Lansdale's Hap and Leonard take that terrible beating in that small town. It was still echoing several books later.


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