Skip to comments.Raymond Chandler: Master crime writer (born 125 years ago today)
Posted on 07/23/2013 7:45:26 AM PDT by Perdogg
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First of all Bogie played that scene that way because it fit the story. There was a dramatic reason why it made sense for Marlowe to walk into that store in that way - it was totally plot driven.
You can’t make that same sort of argument for the passage I cited.
Second of all I’m not saying that Chandler *was* gay. I’m just saying that the writing was - I don’t know - a certain way. At times In places. That’s all. Just a textual analysis is all. Your mileage may vary.
Looming in the shadows of our discussion is an enduring issue in art and literary criticism as to how the personal life of an author, artist, or performer relates to his work. If there is any wisdom to be distilled on the subject, it is that large claims ought not to be founded on thin evidence.
As to Chandler, his work was usually written quickly, often when he was under the influence, and thinly edited before publication. We both recognize a few lavender scented bits in Chandler's work. To me, those bits are too thin to offer reliable insights as to Chandler and are best categorized as sloppy writing.
That was not how Chandler wrote the scene, but it was how the screenwriter crafted it, and Bogie hilariously played it that way. And one must ask how that does not count, but any similar instances are held against Chandler as to his personal life?
I do agree with your last two paragraphs - and I think we’re rapidly converging on consensus.
I guess I’d make one additional point and one that is probably pretty worth making. If nothing else I think Chandler, being the acute and astute observer that he was particularly of the LA scene in the 30’s and 40’s - is probably telling us to what degree homosexuality was, in its own way, as pervasive then as it is now. It’s more out in the open now - as is pornography (Geiger’s real business). But in reading Chandler I think we are given a window as to how such a topic was handled, thought about, how it fit into society as a larger whole. For example Geiger’s roommate (who later turns up dead as do so many others in aptly named novel) and indeed, Geiger himself.
BTW - one of the screenwriters for the movie was none other than William Faulkner (but you probably knew that).
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