Thanks for your remarks.
The divergence in opinion that you note between Dmytryk and Chandler himself is representative of the process that takes place when literary characters are adapted for film, isn't it? It may not be a necessity, but it's certainly typical that some reinvention occurs. And nearly every screen incarnation of Marlowe has been a reinvention of some sort, and indeed, Mitchum's the only actor of the group to play him more than once.
But as I haven't read Farewell, My Lovely, I'm glad for your pointing out the direct use of Chandler's dialogue in Murder My Sweet. There can be no doubt he had a gift for it, and the punch he brought to that of Double Indemnity's screen adaptation adds vitality that James M. Cain's pages don't approach.
When it comes to The Long Goodbye, I have to admit I run hot or cold where Altman's singular style is concerned. It took some getting used to with M*A*S*H, which I think was the first of his films I'd seen when it was released, but on subsequent viewings it works for me, as it did in some others (Images, Nashville and 3 Women, for instance), but not in still others (McCabe & Mrs. Miller or California Split). But I think I've seen TLG only twice 40 years apart, and I'm sure I'll be giving it a future viewing or two. Maybe I'll warm to it, and if so, I'm sure your take (Gould is playing "Rip Van Marlowe") will help.
Poe! You are...avenged!
Glad that I could provide a little help with one of my favorite neo-noirs, "TLG".
Man, once you get past the classic age of film noir beginning with "The Maltese Falcon" and ending with "Touch of Evil", the 70's standout as the last great decade of American film. With Segal and Gould and Altman calling the shots, "California Split" certainly works for me. Perhaps that has something to do with the subject matter which is near and dear to my heart. No release date yet for Blu-ray.
You would get no argument from me that Raymond Chandler is the best and most well known author of thriller/mystery novels. His work has never gone OOP. In my mind, Philip Marlowe is the archetypal private eye. Many have tried, but nobody has succeeded in supplanting Chandler's character.
I have a bad memory regarding "M*A*S*H" since it was released in 1970, the same year as "Catch 22" which I had a very very minor bit part in. "M*A*S*H" overshadowed what is now considered by some to be a Nichols' masterpiece.
I apologize for somehow missing your reply when it posted in November. Care to share your Catch-22 story? And did you happen to catch the American Masters on Nichols on PBS a week or so back? Fascinating profile.
One has to allow for the way interview segments are edited - what they leave out and so forth - but Nichols' own latter-day remarks about Catch-22 (those that were left in) seemed to reflect a still-uncertain feeling about it: "I liked what we were doing, but while we were making it, I kept thinking, 'Something's wrong...this is not my kind of picture...something's wrong.'"
If you missed it, it's available for viewing on the PBS website until the end of the month. It really should have been a two- rather than one-hour piece to cover the breadth of his work, but it's well worth a watch, and his segments are tremendously engaging.
Poe! You are...avenged!