Re: RARA-AVIS: Re: NY Times article on Altman's Long Goodbye

From: Tim Wohlforth (
Date: 16 Apr 2007

To me the provocative point made by the review dealt more with the PI genre and the changing times. Rafferty's point seems to be that the Marlowe kind of PI character was, as the article's title puts it, "A Gumshoe Adrift, Lost in the '70s." If the gumshoe did not fit into the 70s what about the 2000 plus time period? Of course the easy answer is to point to the success of some PI writers today. One example would be Bob Crais whose "The Watchman" has been on the best seller list for several weeks now. The closest thing to a popular TV PI show is Raines who is a quirky cop. And there seems to be a tendency for the best contemporary noir writers to set their stories back into more classic noir times, e.g. Megan Abbott. It's like the Western in a way. Even at its height Westerns tended to be set back in time. And today they have largely disappeared. Is the hardboiled PI an endangered species? If so I would suggest that both noir writing and the hardboiled kind of character will survive but perhaps as maverick cops (Bosch, Rebus) or in shapes yet to be invented, because the existentialist outlook of such characters continue to touch readers and writers. I say this as someone who loves hardboiled, noir, and who writes novels and short stories featuring the traditional PI as well as other kinds of characters who take a similar stance re: the world.


On Apr 15, 2007, at 4:48 PM, Dave Zeltserman wrote:

> That's not the point at all. The article makes what I consider a
> coherent and valid argument that movie was made very much in the
> spirit of the book, and this was both an argument and background
> information about what Chandler was going through when he wrote The
> Long Goodbye that was not discussed previously. My suggestion,
> regardless of your thoughts on the movie, read the article. I have no
> intention of repeating all the rhetoric from before, but I personally
> found the article interesting, and definitely provided a different
> spin on things.
> --Dave Z.

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