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

From: Terrill Lankford (
Date: 08 Nov 2007

-----Original Message-----
>Sent: Nov 8, 2007 3:36 PM
>Subject: Re: RARA-AVIS: Re: Chandler's The Lady in the Lake
>Jim again:
>"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."
>Chandler also wrote of Marlowe (in Raymond Chandler speaking):
>"If being in revolt against a corrupt society consitutes being immature,
>then Philip Marlowe is extremely immature. If seeing dirt where there is
>dirt constitutes an inadequate social adjustment, then Philip Marlowe
>has inadequate social adjustment. Of course Marlowe is a failure and he
>knows it. He's a failure because he hasn't any money. A man who without
>any physical handicaps cannot make a decent living is always a failure
>and usually a moral failure. But a lot of very good men have been
>failures because their particular talents did not suit their time and
>Loser, failure, hardly seem incompatible to me. In fact, my thesaurus
>lists them both as synonyms for "unsuccesful person."

Mark, don't start bringing facts into the discussion. You'll mess up all of Jim's theories.

In a very good article about the development of the movie, written by the screenwriter Leigh Brackett, she states that Altman wasn't that interested in doing the movie until he began reading Chandler's letters and essays pertaining to Marlowe. She said that that was the starting point for the character in the film: Chandler's own perception of Marlowe as a man out of touch with society, a valiant loser.

(I'm paraphrasing out of memory. I'll try to find the article if I need to back these words up with actual quotes.)

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