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

From: JIM DOHERTY ( jimdohertyjr@yahoo.com)
Date: 08 Nov 2007


Re your question below:

"Jim, who are these nameless people who supposedly knew Spillane so well that you can speak for him through their words?"

I admit I'm getting this second-hand, and perhaps I shoudn't have used "people" in the plural sense.

The person who said this, and said it publicly, was Max Allan Collins, to whom Mickey gave responsibility for his unfinished manuscripts. Al said this at a Bouchercon panel devoted to Spillane in Madison, Wisconsin, on which both Richard Moore and I were participants.

IIRC, Al said that Mickey admitted this at some kind of public forum, though maybe Richard recalls better than I.

It's possible that Al, known as both a Spillane devotee and a devotee of Aldrich's film, may be recalling an admission from Spillane that really didn't get made in quite so unequivocal a manner as Collins describes.

When I talked about Spillane's admission I did use the term "even" because his long-time disdain for Aldrich's film is well-known.

As for my speaking for Chandler, I speak only for myself when I give my opinion of Altman's THE LONG GOODBYE. However, Altman speaks for himself when he describes Marlowe as a loser, while Chandler speaks for himself whe he describes him as "the best man in his world and a good enough man for any world" and and later as "the hero . . . everything."

These are incompatible visions of the character, and the vision that Altman put on the screen was his vision, not Chandler's.

He transformed Marlowe into an ineffectual nebbish, and this was certainly his intention. So he was successful at what he was trying to do.

I don't happen to think that what he was trying to do was worth doing. I suspect Chandler wouldn't have either, but I freely admit that this is speculation.

Since I don't think that what Altman was trying to do was worth doing, I thoroughly dislike the film precisely because he was so successful at realizing his vision.


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