RARA-AVIS: Re: Chandler vs. Altman

From: jacquesdebierue ( jacquesdebierue@yahoo.com)
Date: 09 Nov 2007

--- In rara-avis-l@yahoogroups.com, "Channing" <filmtroll@...> wrote:
<<If Altman wants to invert the detective genre why does he have to base it on the greatest of hard-boiled detectives? That is my objection. He inverted teen comedy, Agatha Christie mysteries, Popeye comics and War movies, but none of those bother me nearly as much as inverting Chandler.>>

Here's a spinning ball: perhaps when Chandler created Marlowe the hardboiled detective was already mature enough as an archetype that he could be treate humorously, ironically? Marlowe gets hit on the head repeatedly, with heavy and damaging objects, but gets up and inevitably finds the next opportunity to get hit again... I would say that Marlowe takes himself far less seriously than some of his fans take him. My point is that with a sly and overtly humorous writer like Chandler, you can't be a literalist. Maybe he meant Marlowe to be taken seriously, maybe not. The probability that he meant him at least as a partial parody is not zero. Look at what Norbert Davis (a Black Mask writer admired by Chandler) was doing; I suspect that the idea that the heroic PI was something of a caricature was in the air. As a serious character, the PI was already getting old. Think of the hundreds and hundreds of PI stories published in the pulps -- even leaving aside the novels... Chandler was referencing all of that in his machinations behind Marlowe.



This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : 09 Nov 2007 EST