Re: RARA-AVIS: Re: Tough losers

From: Michael Robison (
Date: 23 Aug 2004

Mario wrote:

Miker, for me toughness has nothing to do with a propensity to violence. For example, Mario Balzic is very hardboiled, but he doesn't like to hit or shoot people. His temperament is hardboiled. When he wants something, he goes and gets it (or gets it done).
  The guy in Dark Ride is simply out of control. He's dangerous but he's not tough in the sense above. I cannot imagine him getting away from Amos Walker, for example, to mention a truly hardboiled private eye. Or from Parker, should the latter have a score to settle or should the guy get in his way.

******************* I agree that a merely violent nature doesn't make one tough. I would modify only slightly your definition: When he wants something, he goes after it and tries very hard to get it done. Hardboiled characters do occasionally fail.

In my way of thinking, the examples I mentioned demonstrate his toughness through his concentrated effort to get something done, even to the extent of putting himself in harm's way.

Incidentally, something that you have touched on above brings up another Paul Duncan distinction between a hardboiled protagonist and a noir one. Duncan declares that ultimately the hardboiled character is in control, while the poor noir fellow loses control. Even if I'm not totally in agreement with this, either, I still think it has a lot of merit.

respectfully, miker

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This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : 23 Aug 2004 EDT