12 thoughts on “SAM SPADE REDUX

  1. Yep, Spade does like his tobacco. I read the ‘prequel’ to “The Maltese Falcon”, written by Joe Gores. It’s called “Spade and Archer” and our detective spends a lot of time rolling up cigarettes.

    • Hey, I’ve heard of that book, but I’ve never read it. Is it any good? I’m always hesitant of someone trying to write in another author’s style.

      I picked up a copy of Poodle Springs for 50 cents at a local library, but I still haven’t cracked it open — partly because I haven’t the time, and partly because I’m wondering whether Robert Parker will do Chandler justice. I’ve been told that Parker is a very good writer, so I’ll eventually get around to reading it.

      • The book was okay, actually. Well written, but Gores had a tendency to use the phrase “Spade hooked a hip on the edge of the desk” a little too often. It did come across as ‘Hammettesque’ in terms of plot. Worth reading.

        I paid a lot more than fifty cents for my hardback copy of “Poodle Springs” way back when. Chandler wrote the first four chapters and Parker wrote the rest. I haven’t read it either, except for the first four chapters, but I got a real buzz out of the last line of that chapter because a character is mentioned and his name is the same as mine! Which is an incredible coincidence. I’d like to think that it’s the last line Chandler ever wrote. Six degrees of separation indeed.
        Robert B. Parker was a very well-respected crime writer. I haven’t read any of his stuff, but his Spenser novels are supposedly pretty good.
        If you get the chance, grab a copy of “Raymond Chandler’s Philip Marlowe”. It’s a collection of short Marlowe stories written by some of the best crime writers working in the ’70s and ’80s. If such a thing exists!
        But some of the stories were fantastic. The beauty of this book was that each author set their story in a particular year, so the fisrt one takes place in 1938 and the last one in 1959.

      • Yeah, I’ve heard the same thing about the Spenser novels. I’d like to give them a peek some time.

        I’ve never heard of the Philip Marlowe collection, so I’ll have to find that as well.

        So, which actor would you say is your favorite Marlowe?

    • It’s funny you should say that, because after reading Chandler books and watching old films, it almost seems as if everyone lived off a diet of cigarettes and alcohol. A lot like the world during my childhood.

      • Yeah, and people seemed happier then.
        “Darling, shall we have another Martini before driving to the theatre with no seatbelts on?”
        Interesting times.

        Oh yeah, favourite Marlowe actor? Mitchum in “Farewell, My Lovely” in ’74, probably because that’s the first one I read and there was a great drawing of him on the cover.
        Bogart was my favourite of the old-Hollywood Marlowe’s, and I’ve got a soft spot for Powers Boothe’s portrayal in the short-lived Marlowe tv series from the eighties, too. He seemed to fit Chandler’s description of the character the most. The less said about Elliot Gould, the better. I mean, I love the guy as an actor, but not as Marlowe.

      • Lol! Yeah, I always tell my kids how lucky I was to be able to jump around the car, unrestrained by anything but my father’s belt – and I don’t mean his seatbelt.

        Ya know, I’ve never seen the Mitchum film. I’ll have to find that one. And Gould? Oh, man, what a stinker. I could barely bring myself to watch that. I bought the DVD, all excited to find a Marlowe film, and I threw it away before the credits even finished rolling. What a terrible film.

        I bought the series with Powers Boothe, and it’s pretty good. I liked that they stuck to making Chandler stories and not try to come up with any “new” stories. The only thing is, they’re not what I picture when reading the books, because when I read the stories, I visualize them in black and white. I guess that’s because I’m thinking of old noir films when I read the stories.

        But my favorite is Bogey. Probably because he’s my favorite actor as far as old films are concerned. I even liked Dick Powell, mostly because I enjoyed his portrayal of Richard Diamond in the radio series (it’s too bad the television version of Richard Diamond wasn’t even half as good). But he’s better on radio, in my opinion.

        Man, I could ramble on about this stuff all day… Fun stuff.

  2. Check out a series called “Fallen Angels”. Tom Hanks directed a version of Chandler’s short story “I’ll Be Waiting”. Great stuff. Regarding Bogart, he and Cary Grant were Hollywood’s finest, in my book. But while Bogey captured Marlowe’s wise-guy attitude perfectly, his slim build didn’t match the way I’d always imagined Marlowe to be in the books.
    And i know what you mean about visualising in black and white, but i got my own spin on that whenever i read the Bond books. I always picture Sean Connery as 007.
    I think there’s something wrong with you and I, pal.

    • Oh, you’re a kindred spirit indeed. I can’t picture anyone other than Connery as 007. Although, the book character seems so…different in manner than what I’m used to on film, I had a difficult time picturing Connery doing or saying some of the things done by the book character. The films were definitely a departure from the books. But I still TRIED to picture Connery when reading the books.

      I agree about Bogart’s build. He wasn’t at all imposing, neither did he appear threatening when he’d stick his thumbs in his pants. But he just had this presence and self-assurance that seemed to make up for anything he lacked in looks. I think Connery has that presence as well. The difference of course is that Connery actually looked tough.

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