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Old 01-04-2010, 07:38 PM   #1
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Chandler, Raymond: The High Window. V1. 4 Jan 2010

Chicago born novelist / screenwriter Raymond Chandler (July 23, 1888 – March 26, 1959) wrote only seven novels, all of them concerning private detective Philip Marlowe. The High Window, published in Aug 1942, was his third, following on two literary successes. By the time of writing this, Chandler was becoming disillusioned with the royalty process which gave back much of his paperback earnings to his publisher Knopf which sold only a few thousand of his books in hard cover. Shortly after it arrived in print, The High Window was adapted as the film "Time To Kill" featuring detective Mickey Shayne, a vehicle for light-weight actor Lloyd Nolan. Hollywood had called also and he was almost immediately in the thick of preparation for his first screenplay collaboration -- "Double Indemnity" with Billy Wilder.

It's no wonder, then, that Chandler later regarded The High Window as his weakest novel. Some have noted the plot is his most logical, with everything tied up with a nice bow at the end (vs The Big Sleep where one murder remains unsolved and more-or-less forgotten). The style is more refined, even more self-conscious: it lacks the sheer, raw effervescence of his first two books. There's even a passage in chapter 15 where Chandler gets up on a soap box and moralises about police and social corruption -- this is not the laissez-faire Chandler (or Marlowe) we know. It's also the first time we learn Marlowe studies chess manuals to relax. Nonetheless, it's an entertaining, breezy read and, if you like Chandler, you'll enjoy this outing featuring a more smart-ass Marlowe than usual.

In 1947, The High Window -- in a somewhat mangled form -- was turned into a 20th Century FOX picture titled "The Brasher Doubloon" starring George Montgomery and Florence Bates, directed by the under-rated John Brahm.

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Old 01-04-2010, 07:42 PM   #2
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Old 01-04-2010, 07:43 PM   #3
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Old 01-04-2010, 11:22 PM   #4
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