The Random Comic Strip

The Random Comic Strip

Words to live by...

"How beautiful it is to do nothing, and to rest afterward."

[Spanish Proverb]

Ius luxuriae publice datum est

(The right to looseness has been officially given)

"Everyone carries a part of society on his shoulders," wrote Ludwig von Mises, "no one is relieved of his share of responsibility by others. And no one can find a safe way for himself if society is sweeping towards destruction. Therefore everyone, in his own interest, must thrust himself vigorously into the intellectual battle."

Apparently, the crossword puzzle that disappeared from the blog, came back.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

"You're not much of a gusher, are you, Mr. Marlowe?"

Reading a Raymond Chandler  Philip Marlowe novel is fun. But it leaves you speaking in short, clipped, phrases and complex sentences. You begin to speak out of the side of your mouth, mostly in a sort of tight monotone, without much emotion. Your similes are dark and oddly out of place. Like a gnarled oak in an orange grove.

They take place in Los Angeles, a coastal desert city. But it seems to rain. A lot. Much more than I recall when I lived there. But that was a different time. And I was a different person. I lived near a seedy section of Long Beach. It suited me. The rent was cheap and the landlady never bothered me. But rain was rare. And it was often colder than the Chamber of Commerce admitted.

Still, Chandler's Los Angeles is intriguing. If not honest. Maybe he got the fog right. There was a lot of fog, as I recall.

I like the style that Chandler used. Maybe that's why I like those old movies, especially in the film noire style, about detectives like Marlowe and Spade. Though I liked Powell and Loy in The Thin Man series, they were too light-hearted for a real detective story. The humor was not dark enough, the tough guys almost Runyonesque.

 If you really want to see fun in detective stories on screen, rent a copy of The Cheap Detective with Peter Falk.  Or, to get your fill, Murder by Death.

If want to experience (or re-experience, if you are old enough) Marlowe on the radio, try this link...

(I'd have embedded one but they run almost 30 minutes and include period commercials.)

But that's not the point of this writing. The point is about what happens to me when I watch movies or read books. I absorb the character. I become the character.

I am more subtle (and its mostly internalized) about it now but, as a child, I would visibly swagger after watching Errol Flynn swashbuckle his way through Captain Blood or forcibly stride out of the theater after witnessing John Wayne is some western. Nothing is more silly looking than a skinny little kid doing a poor imitation of the Duke, believe me.

About the only movies that didn't affect me that way were science fiction ones. I suppose love stories wouldn't have affected me either but I didn't go to those.

I suppose it's to be expected. Take the psyche of a person, subject it to larger than life characters in fascinating circumstances and stories for a couple of hours and you are bound to have some impact.

On a side note, I ran across the following story today...,0,669328.story

It's amazing what you can find on the Internet.



Cheri said...

Like a gnarled oak in an orange grove.

Very nice image!

You must be a devotee of Turner Classic Movies, eh?

Other than the Golf Chanel and college football, the old movie channel is it for us.

By the way, if you are ever in the San Francisco Bay Area again, the Stanford Theatre on University Avenue only shows old movies. They have an organ player who comes out of the floor playing at the intermission. It is still only 6 dollars to get in and the popcorn is cheap. Amazing here in one of the most expensive places to live.

Thanks for this delightful post.

Douglas said...

Cheri, I love TCM (won't get cable because it is not available locally). Golf Channel, History channels, and the Military Channel are my other regulars.

lakeviewer said...

I'm dropping in from The Butler..., curious, finding myself in my old diggs, with arid smog/fog, rain when you don't expect it, and more troubled than it needs to be. Yes, we do inhabit the places/times/characters we live around.

♥ Braja said...

I was laughing at your description of Philip Marlowe syndrome :) My husband's reading some now actually; we read a pile of them a few years ago and were enamored by the style....he found one the other day and it reminded him of how much we liked them...

Douglas said...

Lakeviewer, we often inhabit them long after we've left too.

Braja, I know. and my reading list keeps getting longer because everything I read begets more.