The meandering ending you refer to was in fact foisted upon Chandler by the studio who thought the American audience might take unkindly to a returning serviceman, even a shell-shocked and amnesiac one, being the murderer, so Chandler had to come up with a less probable alternative, and quickly, through a lot of fancy but ultimately less than satisfactory backtracking.
The overall haste of the project was due to the studio needing some product to keep its star, Alan Ladd's, name in the public consciousness while he was away on active wartime service himself.
The screenplay was completely original from Chandler's own story and needed to be written to an almost impossible deadline. On some nights Chandler was still writing the scenes needed for the following day's shooting, and in the end his critical faculties would not allow him to write so quickly at all unless they had been sufficiently numbed by alcohol, so it was arranged that he be holed up in an hotel room with a steady supply of hooch and a doctor to administer vitamin injections to offset his lack of conventional nourishment.
That Chandler managed to fulfill his writing duties on time at all given these conditions seems to me miraculous, regardless of the quality of the finished product.
From: "firstname.lastname@example.org" <email@example.com>
Sent: Sun, 23 May, 2010 21:48:26
Subject: RARA-AVIS: Inherent Vice, Give Us a Kiss, Night Passage, and more
I finished Inherent Vice last night, the first Pynchon I've read. I enjoyed it, but don't see how it changes the genre, it was just an unusual setting. It was a nice hard boiled and noir story (both). I did have to look up some of his references (like Tom Ince and Amee Semple McPherson).
Prior to that I read Parker's Night Passage, the first Jesse Stone novel. I really enjoyed it, I plan to read the rest of the series.
The week before, I read Give Us a Kiss: A Country Noir by Daniel Woodrell. A nice, modern noir. This was the first of his books that I have read.
I also saw the Blue Dahlia last Saturday - screenplay by Chandler. It was good except for the meandering ending.
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