Re: RARA-AVIS: Re: Chandler's The Lady in the Lake

From: Nathan Cain (
Date: 07 Nov 2007

That's some interesting information about Chandler's work on the script. I still don't think its any good, largely because the gimmick detracts from the film and well, the changes aren't any good. I hope it wasn't Chandler who had Marlowe get engaged at the end. Also, I've never seen Altman's The Long Goodbye,and I really didn't want to dredge all that up again. There have been three separate outbreaks of Long Goodbye Mania since I joined the list, and I don't want to be responsible for another.

On Nov 7, 2007 12:43 PM, JIM DOHERTY <> wrote:
> Nathan,
> Re your comment below:
> "Whatever you do, don't watch the movie adaptation.
> It's the worst Chandler adaptation ever, and it's shot
> entirely in the first person-the only time
> you see the detective is when he looks in the mirror,
> and he's not a detective he's a writer and there's a
> love story, and it's set at Christmas. In short,
> Hollywood did everything possible to ruin one of
> Chandler's best works."
> It's far from the best Chandler adaptation, but it's
> nowhere near the worst. That distinction is now, and
> ever shall be, the exclusive property of Robert
> In the film version of TLITL, Marlowe IS a private
> eye. He's TRYING to be a writer (not unlike Dashiell
> Hammett) and has fictionalized one of his cases and
> sent it off to a pulp publisher. One of the editors
> of the magazine company becomes his client.
> The original version of the script, with its many
> changes from the original novel, was actually by
> Chandler. The studio, of all things, objected to the
> many changes Chandler made, and hired another, lesser,
> mystery novelist, Steve Fisher, to do a rewrite.
> Chandler was so displeased with the rewrite that he
> removed his name from the credits, other than as the
> writer of the source material.
> Fisher claimed that he did little other than complete
> the script and make some fairly minor revisions to the
> part Chandler had already completed. It was,
> presumably, Chandler who changed the business setting
> from, IIRC, a perfume company to a pulp magazine
> publisher (a business both he and Fisher would have
> been familiar with). And, IIRC, in the short story
> version of TLITL, the business was something else
> altogether. This lends some credence to the
> conclusion that it was Chandler who made the change
> when he adapted the novel into a screenplay, since he
> had already made a a similar change when he adapted
> the the short story into a novel (incorporating
> elements of another short story, "Bay City Blues,"
> when he did he expansion).
> As for the finished film directed by Robert
> Montgomery, who also played Marlowe, a lot of it
> doesn't work. The whole subjective camera gimmick is
> just that, a gimmick. And Montgomery's Marlowe comes
> across less as tough and clever than mean-spirited and
> bloody-minded.
> On the other hand, there are fine performances by
> Lloyd Nolan as the brutal Bay City cop, DeGarmo,
> Joyce Meadows as a temptress, and Tom Tully as a
> basically decent police captain. And a lot of the
> dialog is sharp and distinctly Chandler-like.
> Worth seeing if only because it's the only Marlowe
> film on which Chandler actually contributed to the
> script.
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This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : 07 Nov 2007 EST