RARA-AVIS: Ace Doubles, the Falcon

From: Bill Crider ( macavityabc@gmail.com)
Date: 14 Oct 2007

Most of those Ace Doubles sold a lot of copies, as eBay has proven. They turn up all the time. One reason that they could sell for 35 cents is that the writers weren't paid much. Even if you convert the dollars into today's values, they won't come up to anywhere near Robert B. Parker's advances.

Last night, driving home from a "literary festival," I was listening to XM Radio and happened to hear the Screen Guild's 30-minute version of THE MALTESE FALCON with Bogart, Astor, Greenstreet, and Lorre repeating their original roles. I've avoided taking part in the discussion of whether the novel itself is noir, but the radio show made me think about Spade's being in love with Brigid. Bogart's reading of the line makes is sound as if he was, or at least as much in love as Spade could be. But that's just a line reading. I've always thought of the ending of the novel as pretty downbeat. Effie's going to send in Mrs. Archer. Spade's not in prison or a wheelchair, but he's got Mrs. Archer to look forward to.

Bill Crider

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