Saturday, July 23, 2011

Happy Birthday, Raymond Chandler! (1888 - 1959)

Today is the birth date of one of the originators of noir detective fiction. Raymond Chandler was, by all accounts, a fairly grumpy individual with an inordinate taste for alcohol, but in the grand scheme of things - who cares? What matters is the work he left behind for us to read and reread, film and re-film.

Of all the quotable words Chandler left behind, my favorites continue to be: "Down these mean streets a man must go who is not himself mean, who is neither tarnished nor afraid."  The Simple Art of Murder (1950). This, eloquently and with feeling, describes what I always look for in a solver of mysteries, in the hero of the plots I enjoy reading most.

More Chandler quotes may be found here, one of many pages online devoted to Chandler-isms.

There is also a delightful little book full of quotes, PHILIP MARLOWE'S GUIDE TO LIFE by Raymond Chandler (Edited by Martin Asher) - which a good friend sent me a while back and which I quoted from on a post a few months ago.

And to read about Raymond Chandler's colorful life, please use this link.

There is also this Raymond Chandler comprehensive web site.

Various and sundry film posters of some of the more famous film adaptations of Chandler's books:


Adapted from THE HIGH WINDOW.

Book adaptation of the film, THE BRASHER DOUBLOON which was, in itself an adaptation of THE HIGH WINDOW.

Confession: I am probably the only person in the world that loves the movie version of THE HIGH WINDOW, titled: THE BRASHER DOUBLOON (which, by the way, I understand was the original name of the book before it was changed to the more boring, The High Window). But then, I am probably the only remaining fan of George Montgomery in the role of Philip Marlowe.

Most everyone else favors Humphrey Bogart and Dick Powell, not to mention Robert Montgomery.  I like those too - Raymond Chandler himself liked Dick Powell's interpretation.

But Georgie is my guy.



  1. Good to put this up. I haven't read Chandler's books, but have seen several movie versions.

    I have liked all actors playing Phillip Marlowe, except not crazy about Elliot Gould, if that's who he played.

    I have tried to find The Brasher Doubloon movie but haven't been able to. I would love to see it. The library doesn't have it.

  2. Kathy: It can't be found. I've tried and tried. I would love to see THE BRASHER DOUBLOON again sometime.

    I didn't like Elliot Gould as Marlowe either.

    Didn't mind Robert Mitchum in the part although sometimes in his more noir-ish roles, Mitchum looked like he needed a good bath. :)

  3. When it comes to Chandler I love almost everything so am happy to say that I am a huge fan of the Altman/Bracket/Elliot Gould version of THE LONG GOODBYE because it's a great movie even if not necessarily a great adaptation - equally, I think the John Brahm-directed adaptation of THE HIGH WINDOW is a great little B-movie. I recorded a DVD from a TV broadcast 15 years ago and it's still the one I have to return to! Apparently there are problems relating to Fox's rights to the Chandler novel which need to be sorted out before it can be released on DVD, either in its BRASHER DOUBLOON version (for which Eddie Muller actually recorded an audio commentary several years ago) and TIME TO KILL, the film adaptation which used the plot and turned into into one of the films in which Lloyd Nolan played Brett Hallidays' Mike Shayne (when Halliday was otherwise not using ghosts to write those stories).

  4. Sergio: I'm glad to have found another fan of THE BRASHER DOUBLOON film with George Montgomery. :)

    If there are squabbles over 'rights' still going on, then I doubt I'll ever see this movie again. Too bad. It's been forever since it was last on tv. The thing is, I remember it being on all the time. If only I'd recorded it!

    I do remember watching Lloyd Nolan (an actor I like very much) playing Mike Shayne. Growing up in NYC, these films were on all the time.

    I liked Nolan as the bad cop in the Robert Montgomery version of THE LADY IN THE LAKE.

  5. Among all his books, The Long Goodbye is my favourite.

  6. neer: Yes, I'm fond of that one too. And LADY IN THE LAKE. :)


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