”I’m a sucker for long legs. I wanted to shinny up one of hers like a native boy looking for coconuts.”

Great profile of SNL genius Phil Hartman on Grantland this morning.  It includes a mention of his hardboiled spoof character Chick Hazard.  Hazard only appeared a couple times on SNL, I think.

UPDATE: Check out Chick Hazard making an appearance in Hartman’s SNL audition.

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I recently lamented the lack of recent Marlowes.  Well, The dearth was not so dire as I thought.  Since then, I stumbled upon this Japanese adaptation of The Long Goodbye from earlier this year.  
The five-hour miniseries is quite good, and very faithful to Chandler’s novel.  The addition of a milquetoasty reporter as a sidekick and third-person narrator is a bit clunky at times.  Why not just use first-person narration?  But Tadanobu Asano is excellent as Marlowe, here renamed Banji Masuzawa.  Asana strikes all the right notes as a detached, stubborn private detective.  The miniseries is set in postwar Tokyo (which bore a passing resemblance to Blade Runner, evidently), and the postwar Japanese context is woven through Chandler’s plot in an intriguing fashion.  Don’t expect a film noir aesthetic à la Dick Powell or Humphrey Bogart, but this Long Goodbye is a sumptuous period piece that doesn’t lack for good production values.  More importantly, noir fatalism (sorry, Penzler, Raymond Chandler is noir) was explicit and implicit throughout the series.
I don’t speak Japanese, so I’m not sure how closely the dialogue matches Chandler’s tough-guy prose.  The subtitles were not Chandler-level material—but what is?  I’m not sure if Chandler’s telegraphic prose would make sense in Japanese anyhow.  
All in all, a worthy Marlowe adaptation.  

I recently lamented the lack of recent Marlowes.  Well, The dearth was not so dire as I thought.  Since then, I stumbled upon this Japanese adaptation of The Long Goodbye from earlier this year.  

The five-hour miniseries is quite good, and very faithful to Chandler’s novel.  The addition of a milquetoasty reporter as a sidekick and third-person narrator is a bit clunky at times.  Why not just use first-person narration?  But Tadanobu Asano is excellent as Marlowe, here renamed Banji Masuzawa.  Asana strikes all the right notes as a detached, stubborn private detective.  The miniseries is set in postwar Tokyo (which bore a passing resemblance to Blade Runner, evidently), and the postwar Japanese context is woven through Chandler’s plot in an intriguing fashion.  Don’t expect a film noir aesthetic à la Dick Powell or Humphrey Bogart, but this Long Goodbye is a sumptuous period piece that doesn’t lack for good production values.  More importantly, noir fatalism (sorry, Penzler, Raymond Chandler is noir) was explicit and implicit throughout the series.

I don’t speak Japanese, so I’m not sure how closely the dialogue matches Chandler’s tough-guy prose.  The subtitles were not Chandler-level material—but what is?  I’m not sure if Chandler’s telegraphic prose would make sense in Japanese anyhow.  

All in all, a worthy Marlowe adaptation.  

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I’m punctuating my gallop through Chandler with a reevaluation of Ross Macdonald.  I’ll say one thing: Macdonald was a natty fella.

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visions0f replied to your photo“New book, new pipe tobacco.  Doesn’t always work like that.  But I was…”
Is Poodle Springs worth it? Sadly, I’ve been through the rest of Chandler and keep thinking on it, but I don’t want to spoil such a good run.
Poodle Springs isn’t bad.  It isn’t the greatest Marlowe novel, though neither is Playback (If we’re being honest).  There are a few moments when Parker seems to be creeping in, but he mostly maintains Chandler’s atmosphere.  The plot is thoroughly Chandleresque.  Keep in mind that Parker was as good a PI scribe as anyone has seen since the death of Ross Macdonald, at least before he fell into the money pit and started writing a half dozen books a year in 3 or 4 different series.  But in the late 80s when he finished Poodle Springs, Parker was at the height of his hardboiled brilliance.

I wish I could say the same of Perchance to Dream (Parker’s sequel to The Big Sleep),  Parker wasn’t quite in his formulaic “I wore this, I ate this, I said this” dotage, so I suppose it could be worse.  But Perchance to Dream is Parker playing with Chandler’s characters and not (to me, at least) a plausible Chandler novel in its own right.  It wasn’t horrible.  It’s basically a pretty good Spenser novel.  But a Spenser novel with Chandler’s characters acting in ways I’m not sure Chandler would have them act.  But hey, I could be wrong.

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New book, new pipe tobacco.  Doesn’t always work like that.  But I was craving some Virginia flake.  I’ve been on a Chandler-and-pipe-tobacco bender lately.  Best bender I’ve ever been on.

New book, new pipe tobacco.  Doesn’t always work like that.  But I was craving some Virginia flake.  I’ve been on a Chandler-and-pipe-tobacco bender lately.  Best bender I’ve ever been on.

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If you give your word, that’s it. There’s no renegotiating in Brooklyn. 

Never complain, never explain. 

Privacy is dead. Get over it.

There’s an NYPD detective I knew when I first started out. You’re supposed to carry your firearm with you at all times—on duty, off duty. He didn’t; he only carried when he felt like it, and he always dressed like an undertaker. We encountered some ferocious guys on this one case, and he handled it without a gun. How you present yourself is critical. You can never let that slip. 

You’re always on your own. If you rely on people to do the right thing, you’re screwed.

Don’t be a well-rounded person. Be a jaddegy-edged, pointy, acute-angled person.

Unless you’re going undercover, always overdress.

When Winston Churchill was on safari in the jungle, he would put on a tuxedo after six. Because, in his eyes, you were supposed to be wearing evening clothes after six. He was in the jungle—he could’ve been naked for dinner! You have to live by your own rules, by your own sense of propriety, your own sense of right and wrong.

I may have to tune in to this guy’s show.  Sounds like he’s got the hardboiled code down pat.

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Enough tobacciana for now.  There will be more, I promise.  Unless I’m hit by a truck today.  But let’s not indulge those morbid thoughts too much.  Let’s think about happy things.  Raindrops with roses.  Whiskers on kittens.  Warm woolen mittens that melt into spring.  And all that jazz.

While we’re on the subject of my favorite things, let’s talk about horology.  Watches.  This beautiful vintage number was on the wrist of P.I. Stuart Bailey in 77 Sunset Strip.  Sterile, uncluttered dial.  No need to brag about the watch’s manufacturer.  If you made it, go ahead and brag.  If you’re just wearing it, you don’t get much credit.  

But ol’ Efrem Zimbalist, Jr., gets credit for good taste.  Look at the watch hands.  Quarter after eight.  In the evening, natch.  The perfect amount of shirt cuff showing.  The elegant, masculine watch.  He isn’t affected.  He isn’t trendy or fashionable or stylish.  He isn’t trying to be.  He might be timeless.  But he isn’t trying to be that, either.

Bailey is functional.  Ready to sit down for a cocktail.  Ready to charm a lady.  Ready to punch a shyster out.  He’s a man.  He’s dressed like a man.  He’s ready to do everything a man needs to do.  That’s why he gets credit for the watch.

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It’s a quiet Friday night.  I’m still perchancing to dream, and I’m still puffing.  Slowly, at a leisurely pace.  I’m in no hurry.  Parker’s prose will keep me going at a reasonable clip.  And my pipe tobacco follows.  The pipe isn’t half empty.  It’s not half full.  It’s just following Marlowe.  With me.

It’s a quiet Friday night.  I’m still perchancing to dream, and I’m still puffing.  Slowly, at a leisurely pace.  I’m in no hurry.  Parker’s prose will keep me going at a reasonable clip.  And my pipe tobacco follows.  The pipe isn’t half empty.  It’s not half full.  It’s just following Marlowe.  With me.

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Chandler and a pipe make for good company.  I finished The Big Sleep, but not all my pipe tobacco.  So today it’s on to a new book and back to my favorite pipe.  Dunhill London Mixture is a smoky complement to my favorite PI.  The tin was a birthday gift from the moll.  The lighter, too.  A keeper, she is.  
Let’s see how well Robert B. Parker does with Philip Marlowe.  The old paperback is creased and worn.  Just the way it ought to be.  I’ll fire up the pipe and let Bob fire up Marlowe.  Let’s see how it turns out.

Chandler and a pipe make for good company.  I finished The Big Sleep, but not all my pipe tobacco.  So today it’s on to a new book and back to my favorite pipe.  Dunhill London Mixture is a smoky complement to my favorite PI.  The tin was a birthday gift from the moll.  The lighter, too.  A keeper, she is.  

Let’s see how well Robert B. Parker does with Philip Marlowe.  The old paperback is creased and worn.  Just the way it ought to be.  I’ll fire up the pipe and let Bob fire up Marlowe.  Let’s see how it turns out.

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I want a hardboiled afternoon.  Not a hard afternoon.  Those arrive on their own without any encouragement from me.  No, I want an easy afternoon, an afternoon to observe others’ hardship.  Two hard men are keeping me company this afternoon.  (And a third, Simon Templar, is whispering “said the actress to the bishop” in my ear as I write that.)  

Philip Marlowe was not a mean man, but he was a hard man.  Every now and again I like to revisit the birth of the greatest fictional detective (Sorry, Sherlock).  I’m also partial to the Robert Mitchum tie-in cover, even if I’m not partial to the movie.

Pipe smoking is an anachronistic practice—I wouldn’t do it otherwise.  But it’s especially delicious when you find equally anachronistic pipe tobacco.  Edward G. Robinson was a film noir stalwart and veteran of countless gangster movies that were almost film noir.  His pipe tobacco has been around for decades.  It’s the perfect complement for Chandler’s prose.

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