Re: RARA-AVIS: Sam Spade's morals

From: Michael Robison (
Date: 03 Sep 2005

Clendon wrote:

Another question, which is perhaps neither noir nor hard boiled, isn't love a moral quality? And if so what are to make of Sam's love for Brigid?
  Of course, if he hadn't loved her, he wouldn't have been screwed, hence noir. And if he hadn't thrown her over to the police, he would not have been tough, hence hard boiled.

************ I would be willing to say that Mother Theresa's love had a moral quality. For more than a few, though, love emanates primarily from below the waist. I don't picture Sam wearing a habit.

I don't see Hammett's novel THE MALTESE FALCON as noir. If Sam had succumbed to Brigid's charms and not turned her in, the book might have taken a turn down a dark noir alley.


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