Friday, June 27, 2014

Noir Star of Tinseltown

This recognition seems due--in fact, long overdue:
One of Los Angeles’ greatest noir writers will be getting a permanent place in the sun: on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Raymond Chandler is one of 30 people who will get such stars in 2015. ...

Chandler was a novelist and then a screenwriter, the man who created the private detective Philip Marlowe. Chandler began writing for the pulps after losing his executive job at an oil company--something to do with drinking and an affair with a girl on staff (a very noir dismissal). ...

The material--about a semi-successful private eye who had a way with women and a stronger moral code than the wealthy and corrupt denizens of Los Angeles--was too delicious for Hollywood to resist. “The Big Sleep” was made into an iconic film not once but twice--first with Humphrey Bogart as Marlowe and then Elliott Gould, directed by Robert Altman.

In the many film adaptations of his work, several actors played Marlowe, including Dick Powell, Robert Montgomery, James Garner and Robert Mitchum.

But Chandler didn’t have much to do with his books being made into films--he was a screenwriter on other projects. The greatest of those were adaptations of other novelists’ work: “Strangers on a Train” by Patricia Highsmith, directed by Alfred Hitchcock, and “Double Indemnity,” written by James M. Cain.

Chandler, who died in 1959, made just one film appearance--an uncredited, non-speaking role that had remained unnoticed for decades. It was discovered by two different film experts around the same time in 2007--he’s the man sitting outside Keyes’ office in this clip from “Double Indemnity.”

The announcement about the new Walk of Famers doesn’t include where their stars will be. But I have a suggestion: in front of Philip Marlowe’s office in the Cahuenga Building on Hollywood Boulevard near Ivar.
You’ll find the full Los Angeles Times piece here.

READ MORE:Raymond Chandler’s Got One … Which Other Writers Should Have Hollywood Stars?” by Alison Flood (The Guardian).

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