Re: RARA-AVIS: Re: The Chill by Ross Macdonald

From: Brian Thornton (
Date: 21 Jan 2006

DAmoynihan wrote:

> As soon as I got to the end of the book I had a strong feeling
> that the younger-man/older-woman scenario was a comment on Raymond
> Chandler's marriage. If it is, that is probably common knowledge that
> I am too out of fashion to have picked up. I think I remember reading
> (too long ago to pin down) that Mrs. Chandler was sometimes mistaken
> for Raymond's mother. On the other hand, none of my fast searches
> turned up a relationship between The Chill. So, any thoughts?

I always thought MacDonald was far too preoccupied with mining his own childhood and his and his wife's troubles with their own daughter to pull something like this: hence his rehashing the same situation and same basic plotline for nearly 30 years. Don't get me wrong, I don't consider them unoriginal, per se. To me, their variations, rhapsodies on a theme, if you will.

> Cissy Chandler was 18 years his senior, and they married when he was
> late 30s, IIRC. Haven't read The Chill, but if it's a obvious
> commentary, you could do a good paper on hard-boiled authors taking
> shots at each other.

You could, but this one you're pitching sounds like a stretch, to me.

> Chandler offs an obvious Hammett in The Long Goodbye, after first
> enmasculating him.

I don't see that, either. Hemingway was my best guess as to the inspiration for that literary trainwreck of a character (no pun intended, it's a fascinating trainwreck).

> //Aside: Elliot Gould as Marlowe?

You bet. I thought he did a credible job, too. Mitchum was too old when he finally got around to it, George Montgomery too wooden, Robert Montgomery too gimmicky, Bogart too much like an apologetic Sam Spade, but come to think of it, Garner was just about right in "Marlowe."


Brian Thornton

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This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : 21 Jan 2006 EST