Raymond Chandler and Dashiell Hammett


(John Welles) #1

Two of the greatest “pulp” writers of the last century were Raymond Chandler and Dashiell Hammett. Chandler created the famouse private detective Philip Marlowe and Hammett created Sam Spade among others. Chandler’s best novels were “The Big Sleep” (1939) and “The Long Goodbye” (1953) and Hammett’s was “The Maltese Falcon” and “Red Harvest”.


(John Welles) #2

Actually, “Red Harvest” inspired “Yojimbo” that inturned inspired Sergio Leone’s “A Fistful of Dollars”.


(John Welles) #3

Along with James M. Cain, they helped creat Film Noir, as a lot of their books were made into Film Noirs, “The Maltese Falcon” being a good example.


(Starblack) #4

Both great writers.

I’d probably second your Chandler choices, adding Farewell my Lovely as well, which was adapted for one great Forties film noir and a decent Seventies version.

As for Hammett, I particularly enjoyed The Glass Key, and his Continental Op short stories are also excellent.


(Stanton) #5

Yes, if we talk about their greatest novels, Farewell My Lovely and The Glass Key should be added. The Lady in the Lake was also very good.


(John Welles) #6

It was alright, but for me, “The Lady in the Lake” is my least favourite Chandler novel. Philip Marlowe spends too much time in the mountains, I think.


(John Welles) #7

I’m currently reading “Playback” at the moment (Chandler’s last novel), which is quite underrated.


(John Welles) #8

Which writer do you like best, Raymond Chandler or Dashiell Hammett? I like Chandler best, because he created the private eye Philip Marlowe.


(John Welles) #9

The forties version of “Farewell My Lovely”, staring Dick Powell (the best reprsentaion of Philip Marlowe in my opinion) is also so one of my favourite Film Noirs.


(Starblack) #10

Regarding your points above JW, I’d also give Chandler the edge - his clever metaphors and razor-sharp dialogue nudge him ahead of Hammett, though I don’t want to slight that excellent author either.

I’ve seen most of the major Chandler adaptations, but I’ve never seen the controversial Lady in the Lake, which was shot entirely from the viewpoint of Marlowe (played on that occasion by Robert Montgomery, who also directed it).

Have you seen that one? Most critics seem to dismiss it as too gimmicky and Montgomery as too lightweight.


(John Welles) #11

[quote=“Starblack, post:10, topic:1813”]I’ve seen most of the major Chandler adaptations, but I’ve never seen the controversial Lady in the Lake, which was shot entirely from the viewpoint of Marlowe (played on that occasion by Robert Montgomery, who also directed it).

Have you seen that one? Most critics seem to dismiss it as too gimmicky and Montgomery as too lightweight.[/quote]
No, I haven’t seen it unfortunetly. I’ld like to.


(Spaghetti Monkey) #12

Not too crazy about LADY IN THE LAKE myself.


(Stanton) #13

The Lady in the Lake, that’s one of these films which use an idea that one day has to be tried, if only to prove that it was an idiotic idea.
Like Hitchcock’s “one Take” Rope (which in fact has 3 visible cuts) it only limits the potential of the film, a film which done without these limitations would have been better.


(John Welles) #14

Are you talking about the book or the film?


(Spaghetti Monkey) #15

The film.


(John Welles) #16

I’m reading “The Big Knockover and other stories” by Dashiell Hammett at the moment. The first story, “The Gutting of Couffignal”, is quite poor, with only a few customary Hammett marks. The second one is a vast improvement on the first. “Fly Paper”, along with its hard-bioled edge, has a twist ending which you won’t see comeing a mile off. The third story, “The Scorched Face”, is so good I won’t say anything about it, except its the scariest short story I have read in a long time. The fourth one, “This King Business”, I have only just finished reading, is quite odd, as it is about a private detective getting mixed up with a revolution in central Europe. Its still excellent. The rest of the short stories I have yet to read are:
“Crooked Souls”
“Corkscrew”
“Dead Yellow Women”
“The Big Knockover”
"$106,000 Blood Money"
and “Tulip” which is all that emainds of Hammett’s last, incompleted at the time of his death, novel.


(Rififii) #17

John do you prefer the book of the Maltese Falcon or the film version…Because I found the movie dull and dated and the book a real doozy…


(Spaghetti Monkey) #18

Not that i find the Huston version dull myself, but perhaps you should try the '31 version with Ricardo Cortez and Bebe Daniels, as it is pre-code and a bit spicier because of that fact.


(John Welles) #19

The Huston version is one of my all time favourite films. Ah well, tastes differ. I also really enjoyed the book.