HOMAGE TO RAYMOND CHANDLER

58 years since March 26, 1959, the day Raymond Chandler passed away in La Jolla, California

File Photo– Jan. 13, 1987– Raymond Chandler. LA Library

PHILIP MARLOWE

“Oh-are you honest?” she asked and opened her bag. (…)

“Painfully”.[1]

“How can such a hard man be so gentle?” she asked wonderingly.

“If I wasn’t hard, I wouldn’t be alive. If I couldn’t ever be gentle, I wouldn’t deserve to be alive.”[2]

 

“Trouble is my business”, I said. “Twenty-five a day and guarantee of two-fifty, if I pull the job.” (…) My life wasn’t worth much, but it was worth that much.[3]

 

“Guys like you get in a lot of trouble,” Finlayson said sourly. (…)

“Trouble is my business,” I said. How else would I make a nickel?”[4]

 

“You in show business?”

“Just the opposite of show business. I’m in the hide-and-seek business. My name is Philip Marlowe.”[5]

“I was fired. For insubordination. I test very high on insubordination, General.”[6]

 

“You like it the hard way, don’t you, Marlowe?”

It’s not that I like it the hard way. It’s that I get it that way.”[7]

 

“I was neat, clean, shaved and sober, and I didn’t care who knew it. I was everything the well-dressed private detective ought to be. I was calling on four million dollars.”[8]

 

“How far would you go for five grand, Marlowe?” (…)

“Assuming a normal rate of expenses, that would buy me full time for several months. That is, if I happened to be for sale.”

 

“Would you shake hands with me?”

“No. You hired a gun. That puts you out of the class of people I shake hands with.”[9]

 

“Listen, Marlowe. You’ve being a damn fool. I want to tell you-“

“Tell yourself, Javonen. You have a captive audience.”[10]

 

“Oh, yes. Let me see, your name is-“ He paused and frowned in the effort of memory. The effect was as phony as the pedigree of a used car. I let him work at it for a minute, then I said:

“Philip Marlowe. The same as it was this afternoon.”[11]

 

“She likes you.”

“She’s a nice girl. Not my type.”

“You don’t like them nice?” (…)

“I like smooth shiny girls, hardboiled and loaded with sin.”

“They take you to the cleaners,” Randall said indifferently.

“Sure. Where else have I ever been?”[12]

“You don’t know what I have to go through or over or under to do your job for you. I do it my way. I do my best to protect you and I might break a few rules, but I break them in your favor. The client comes first, unless he’s crooked. Even then all I do is hand the job back to him and keep my mouth shut.”[13]

“You’re a very good-looking man to be in your sort of racket.”

“It’s a smelly business,” I said.

“I didn’t quite mean that. Is there any money in it – or is that impertinent?”

“There’s not much money in it. There’s a lot of grief. But there is a lot of fun too. And there’s always a chance of a big case.”[14]

“Young man, do you want this job or don’t you?”

“I want it if I’m told the facts and allowed to handle the case as I see fit. I don’t want it if you’re going to make a lot of rules and regulations for me to trip over.”[15]

“I sat down on the couch and stared at the wall. Wherever I went, whatever I did, this was what I would come back to. A blank wall in a meaningless room in a meaningless house.

I put the drink down on a side table without touching it. Alcohol was no cure for this. Nothing was any cure but the hard inner heart that asked for nothing from anyone.”[16]

“I was sitting on the side of my bed in my pajamas, thinking about getting up, but not yet committed. I didn’t feel very well, but I didn’t feel as sick as I ought to, not as sick as I would feel if I had a salaried job.”[17]

 

CHANDLER’S WOMEN

“She was wearing a pair of long jade earrings.”[18]

“A redheaded number with bedroom eyes.”[19]

“She looked as it would take a couple of weeks to get her dressed.”[20]

 

“Tall, aren’t you?” she said.

“I didn’t mean to be.”[21]

 

“I sat down on the edge of a deep soft chair and looked at Mrs. Regan. She was worth a stare. She was trouble. She was stretched out on a modernistic chaise-longue with her slippers off, so I stared at her legs in the sheerest silk stockings. They seem to be arranged to stare at. (…) The calves were beautiful, the ankles long and slim and with enough melodic line for a tone poem.”[22]

 

“She had fine white shoulders, was something less than beautiful and more than pretty.”[23]

“She gave me one of those smiles the lips have forgotten before they reach the eyes.”[24]

“The men wore white tuxedos and the girls wore bright eyes, ruby lips, and tennis or gulf muscles.”[25]

“It was a blonde. A blonde to make a bishop kick a hole in a stained glass window. (…) Whatever you needed it, wherever you happened to be – she had it.”[26]

“She had a full set of curves which nobody had been able to improve on.”[27]

“She has eyes like strange sins.”[28]

“She shrugged her pale blue shoulders. I tried to keep my eyes where they belonged.”[29]

“A cigarette girl came down the gangway. She wore an egret plume in her hair, enough clothes to hide behind a toothpick, one of her long beautiful naked legs was silver, and one was gold. She had the utterly disdainful expression of a dame who makes her dates by long distance.”[30]

“Women have so few defenses, but they certainly perform wonders with those they have.”[31]

“She had long thighs and she walked with a certain something I hadn’t often seen in bookstores. (…) Her smile was tentative, but could be persuaded to be nice.”[32]

“A dangerous-looking redhead sat languidly at an Adam desk talking into a pure-white telephone. I went over and she put a couple of cold blue bullets into me with her eyes” (…)[33]

Then she leaned back and gave me the look. “I’ve got friends who could cut you down so small you’d need a stepladder to put your shoes on.”[34]

“Beat it, lug,” she said in a voice that could have been used for paint remover.[35]

“Ah,” the voice got as cold as a cafeteria dinner. “You are from the police, no?”[36]

“A hard-boiled redhead sang a hard-boiled song in a voice that could have been used to split firewood.”[37]

“Damn it”, I said, “when I was young you could undress a girl slowly. Nowadays she’s in the bed while you’re struggling with your collar button.”[38]

“I wouldn’t say the face was lovely and unspoiled, I’m not that good at faces. But it was pretty. People had been nice to that face, or nice enough for their circle. Yet it was a very ordinary face and its prettiness was strictly assembly line.”[39]

“From thirty feet away she looked like a lot of class. From ten feet away she looked like something made up to be seen from thirty feet away.”[40]

“If I had any sense, I would pick up my suitcase and go back home and forget all about her. By the time she made up her mind which part she was playing in which act of which play, it would be probably be too late for me to do anything about it” (…).[41]

“Inside the double doors there is a combination PBX and information desk at which seats one of those ageless women you see around municipal offices everywhere in the world. They were never young and will never be old. They have no beauty, no charm, no style. They don’t have to please anybody. They are safe. They are civil without ever quite being polite and intelligent and knowledgeable without interest in anything. They are what human beings turn into when they trade life for existence and ambition for security.”[42]

 

CHANDLER’S MEN

“Dead men are heavier than broken hearts”[43]

“He has beautiful teeth, but they hadn’t grown in his mouth.”[44]

“He looked as it would cost a thousand dollars to shake hands with him.”[45]

“Both women had cigarettes in long holders. The men with them looked grey and tired, probably from signing checks.”[46]

“He was about as excited as a hole in the wall.”[47]

 

“Would Mitchell blackmail a woman?”

He chuckled. “He would blackmail an infant in a cradle.”[48]

 

“we got a bunch of people in this town now that will cut you down to the bone and add a service charge. They’ll take your last dollar from you between your teeth and look at you like you stole it from them.”[49]

“His voice was the elaborately casual voice of the tough guy in pictures. Pictures have made them all like that.

“Tsk, tsk,” I said, not moving at all. “Such a lot of guns around and so few brains.”[50]

“He looked poor enough to be honest (…)”[51]

“He was a good sixty, or rather a bad sixty.”[52]

“He had a battered face that looked as if it has been hit by everything but the bucket of a dragline. It was scarred, flattened, thickened, checkered, and welted. It was a face that had nothing to fear.”[53]

“He looked like a man who could be trusted with a secret – if it was his own secret.”[54]

“On the wide cool front porches, reaching their cracked shoes into the sun, and staring at nothing, sit the old men with faces like old battles.”[55]

“The whole face was a trained face, a face that would know how to keep a secret, a face that held the effortless composure of a corpse in the morgue.”[56]

“He was a fair-sized man, about six foot tall, but too full of the memories of beer.”[57]

 

ACTION

“The next hour was three hours long.”[58]

“You can’t run away from yourself.”[59]

“Don’t scare me with guns. I’ve lived with them all my life.” (…) “Guns never settle anything.”[60]

“Who’s wearing the bullet?” I asked her.[61]

“I parked, aired out the convertible, had a drink from my bottle, and sat. I didn’t know what I waiting for, but something told me to wait. Another army of sluggish minutes dragged by.”[62]

“Brody took a gun out of the cigar box and pointed it at my nose. I looked at the gun. It was a black Police .38. I had no argument against it at the moment.”[63]

“The big fear of today,” he said, “always overrides the fear of tomorrow. It’s a basic fact of the dramatic emotions that the part is greater than the whole.”[64]

“a (…) Cadillac convertible with (…) a cigarette lighter into which you dropped your cigarette and it smoked it for you”[65] (…)

 

BUILDINGS, ROOMS

“The main hallway of the Sternwood place was two stories high. Over the entrance doors, which could have let in a troop of Indian elephants, there was a broad stained-glass panel showing a knight in dark armor rescuing a lady who was tied to a tree and didn’t have any clothes on but some very long and convenient hair. The knight had pushed the visor of his helmet back to be sociable, and he was fiddling with the knots on the ropes that tied the lady to the tree and not getting anywhere. I stood there and thought that if I lived in the house, I would sooner or later have to climb up there and help hi. He didn’t seem to be really trying.”[66]

“The room was empty. It was full of silence and the memory of a nice perfume. One of those perfumes you don’t notice until they are almost gone, like the last leaf on a tree.”[67]

“We went to the rest of my suite, which contained a rust-red carpet, not very young, five green filing cases, three of them full of California climate (…).”[68]

“There was a lot of oriental junk in the windows. I didn’t know whether it was any good, not being a collector of antiques, except unpaid bills.”[69]

 “Painless dentists, shyster detective agencies, small sick businesses that had crawled there to die (…). A nasty buiding. A building in which the smell of stale cigars would be the cleanest odor.”[70]

“It was a nice room, if you didn’t get rough. (…) It was a room where anything could happen except work.”[71]

 

COPS, POLICE

“I got alone with cops – except when they act as if the law is only for citizens.”[72]

 

“He had a police record.”

She shrugged. She said negligently: “He didn’t know the right people. That’s all a police record means in this rotten-ridden country.”

“I wouldn’t go that far.”[73]

 

“I’m on a case. I’m selling what I have to sell to make a living. What little guts and intelligence the Lord gave me and a willingness to get pushed around in order to protect a client. It’s against my principles to tell as much as I’ve told tonight, without consulting the General. As for the cover-up, I’ve been in police business myself, as you know. They come a dime a dozen in any big city. Cops get very large and emphatic when an outsider tries to hide anything, but they the same thing themselves every other day, to oblige friends or anybody with a little pull.”[74]

“I’m a copper,” he said. “Just a plain ordinary copper. Reasonable honest. As honest as you can expect a man to be in a world where it’s out of style. That’s mainly why I asked you to come in this morning. I’d like you to believe that. Being a copper I like to see the law win. I’d like to see the flashy well-dressed mugs like Eddie Mars spoiling their manicures in the rock quarry at Folsom, along the poor little slum-bred hard guys that got knocked over on their first caper and never had a break since. That’s what I’d like. You and me both lived too long in any town half this size, in any part of this wide, green and beautiful U. S. A. We just don’t run our country that way.”[75]

“Cops don’t go crooked for money. Not always, not even often. They get caught in the system.”[76]

 

“You know what’s the matter with this country, baby?”

“Too much frozen capital, I heart.”

“A guy can’t stay honest if he wants to,” Hemingway said. “That’s what’s the matter with this country. He gets chiseled out of his pants if he does. You got to play the game dirty or you don’t eat. A lot of bastards think all we need is ninety thousand FBI men in clean collars and brief cases. Nuts. The percentage would get them just the way it does the rest of us. You know what I think? I think we gotta make this little world all over again.”[77]

 

GOD

 

“My God!” he whispered. “Mt God!:

“You don’t have one – except money.”[78]

 

“What strange deity made such a complicated world when presumably he could have made a simple one? Is he omnipotent? How could that be? There’s so much suffering and almost always by the innocent. (…) Do you believe in God, young man?” (…)

“If you mean an omniscient and omnipotent God who intended everything exactly the way it is, no.”

“But you should, Mr. Marlow. It is a great comfort.”[79]

 

MARLOWE’S WORLD

 

“The silence fell like a bag of feathers.”[80]

“A wedge of sunlight slipped over the edge of the desk and fell noiselessly to the carpet.”[81]

“I turned west on Sunset and swallowed myself up in three lanes of race-track drivers who were pushing their mounts hard to get nowhere and do nothing.”[82]

“The big foreign car drove itself, but I held the wheel for the sake of appearances.”[83]

“I was halfway to the elevator before the thought hit me. It hit me without any reason or sense, like a dropped brick.”[84]

“From the door came the small sounds a man makes when he isn’t doing anything at all.”[85]

“I went in. The room beyond was large and square and sunken and cool and had the restful atmosphere of a funeral chapel and something of the same smell. (…) An old musty, fusty, narrow-minded, clean and bitter room. (…) A lot of money, and all wasted.”[86]

“Inside was a small windowless anteroom on the furnishings of which a great deal of expense had been spared.”[87]

“We looked at each other with the clear innocent eyes of a couple of used car salesmen.”[88]

“It was a nice late April morning, if you care for that sort of thing.”[89]

“Bunker Hill is old town, lost town, shabby town, crook town.”[90]

“The lobby looked like a high-budget musical.”[91]

“A few locks of dry white hair clung to his scalp, like wild flowers fighting for life on a bare rock.”[92]

 

“Do you like orchids?”

“Not particularly”, I said.

The General half-closed his eyes. “They are nasty things. Their flesh is too much like the flesh of men. And their perfume has the rotten sweetness of a prostitute.”[93]

 

“He wetted his pencil without bothering the cigarette that lived in his face.”[94]

“The call houses that specialize in sixteen-year-old virgins are doing a land-office business. And in Beverly Hills the jacaranda trees are beginning to bloom.”[95]

“California, the department-store state. The most of everything and the best of nothing.”[96]

“I stood there, listening to the sunshine burn the grass.”[97]

“on the canyon side they were great silent estates, with twelve foot walls and wrought-iron gates and ornamental hedges; and inside, if you could get inside, a special brand of sunshine, very quiet, put up in noise-proof containers just for the upper classes.”[98]

 

THE POETICS OF THE MISTERY NOVEL

“There are no vital and significant forms of art; there is only art, and precious little of that. The growth of populations has in no way increased the amount; it has merely increased the adeptness with which substitutes can be produced and packaged.”[99]

“Everything written with vitality expresses that vitality: there are no dull subjects, only dull minds.”[100]

“I hold no particular brief for the detective story as an ideal escape. I merely say that all reading for pleasure is escape, whether it be Greek, mathematics, astronomy, Benedetto Croce, or The Diary of the Forgotten Man. To say otherwise is to be an intellectual snob, and a juvenile at the art of living.”[101]

“But all this (and Hammett too) is for me not quite enough. The realist in murder writes of a world in which gangsters can rule nations and almost rule cities, in which hotels and apartment houses and celebrated restaurants are owned by rich men who made their money out of brothels, in which a screen star can be the finger man for a mob, and the nice man down the hall is a boss of the numbers racket; a world where a judge with a cellar full of bootleg liquor can send a man to jail for having a pint in his pocket, where the mayor of your town may have condoned murder as an instrument of money making, where no man can walk down a dark street in safety because law and order are things we talk about but refrain from practising; a world where you may witness a hold-up in broad daylight and see who did it, but you will fade quickly back into the crowd rather than tell anyone, because the hold-up men may have friends with long guns, or the police may not like your testimony, and in any case the shyster for the

defence will be allowed to abuse and vilify you in open court, before a jury of selected morons, without any but the most perfunctory interference from a political judge.

 

It is not a very fragrant world, but it is the world you live in, and certain writers with tough minds and a cool spirit of detachment can make very interesting and even amusing patterns out of it. It is not funny that a man should be killed, but it is sometimes funny that he should be killed for so little, and that his death should be the coin of what we call civilization. All this still is not quite enough.

 

In everything that can be called art there is a quality of redemption. It may be pure tragedy, if it is high tragedy, and it may be pity and irony, and it may be the raucous laughter of the strong man. But down these mean streets a man must go who is not himself mean, who is neither tarnished nor afraid.

The detective in this kind of story must be such a man. He is the hero; he is everything. He must be a complete man and a common man and yet an unusual man. He must be, to use a rather weathered phrase, a man of honor — by instinct, by inevitability, without thought of it, and certainly without saying it. He must be the best man in his world and a good enough man for any world. I do not care much about his private life; he is neither a eunuch nor a satyr; I think he might seduce a duchess and I am quite sure he would not spoil a virgin; if he is a man of honor in one thing, he is that in all things.

He is a relatively poor man, or he would not be a detective at all. He is a common man or he could not go among common people. He has a sense of character, or he would not know his job. He will take no man’s money dishonestly and no man’s insolence without due and dispassionate revenge. He is a lonely man and his pride is that you will treat him as a proud man or be very sorry you ever saw him. He talks as the man of his age talks — that is, with rude wit, a lively sense of the grotesque, a disgust for sham, and a contempt for pettiness.

The story is the man’s adventure in search of a hidden truth, and it would be no adventure if it did not happen to a man fit for adventure. He has a range of awareness that startles you, but it belongs to him by right, because it belongs to the world he lives in. If there were enough like him, the world would be a very safe place to live in, without becoming too dull to be worth living in.”[102]

 

[1] The big sleep

[2] Playback

[3] Trouble is my business

[4] Trouble is my business

[5] Playback

[6] The big sleep

[7] Farewell, my lovely

[8] The big sleep

[9] Playback

[10] Playback

[11] Farewell, my lovely

[12] Farewell, my lovely

[13] The big sleep

[14] Farewell, my lovely

[15] The high window

[16] Playback

[17] Farewell, my lovely

[18] The big sleep

[19] Trouble is my business

[20] The little sister

[21] The big sleep

[22] The big sleep

[23] Trouble is my business

[24] The big sleep

[25] Playback

[26] Farewell, my lovely

[27] Farewell, my lovely

[28] The high window

[29] Farewell, my lovely

[30] The high window

[31] Playback

[32] The big sleep

[33] The little sister

[34] Playback

[35] The little sister

[36] Farewell, my lovely

[37] Guns at Cyrano’s

[38] Playback

[39] Farewell, my lovely

[40] The high window

[41] Playback

[42] The little sister

[43] The big sleep – inscription on his gravestone

[44] Trouble is my business

[45] The little sister

[46] Playback

[47] The high window

[48] Playback

[49] Playback

[50] The big sleep

[51] Farewell, my lovely

[52] Farewell, my lovely

[53] Farewell, my lovely

[54] The high window

[55] The high window

[56] The high window

[57] Pearls are a nuisance

[58] Playback

[59] Playback

[60] Playback

[61] Playback

[62] The big sleep

[63] The big sleep

[64] The little sister

[65] Playback

[66] The big sleep

[67] Trouble is my business

[68] The big sleep

[69] The big sleep

[70] The big sleep

[71] Farewell, my lovely

[72] Trouble is my business

[73] The big sleep

[74] The big sleep

[75] The big sleep

[76] Farewell, my lovely

[77] Farewell, my lovely

[78] Trouble is my business

[79] Playback

[80] Playback

[81] Farewell, my lovely

[82] The little sister

[83] Farewell, my lovely

[84] Farewell, my lovely

[85] The high window

[86] The high window

[87] The high window

[88] The High window

[89] Pearls are a nuisance

[90] The high window

[91] The high window

[92] The big sleep

[93] The big sleep

[94] The Little sister

[95] The little sister

[96] The little sister

[97] The high window

[98] Farewell, my lovely

[99] The simple act of murder

[100] The simple are of murder

[101] The simple art of murder

[102] The simple art of murder

 

 

Author: Dan Calinescu

Manager Motto: no isms https://www.linkedin.com/in/dan-calinescu-9152587?trk=nav_responsive_tab_profile http://www.experimentulpitesti.org/public/video-clipuri/ http://www.eyelook.biz/

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