Chandler is important for two reasons, his innovative evolution of detective fiction pioneered in the late twenties and early thirties by the king of hardboiled detective fiction Dashiell Hammett and his legendary screenwriting that defined the film noir genre of the 1940’s
Born in Chicago in 1888 Chandler moved to London England in 1900 when he and his Irish mother were abandoned by his alcoholic father. His first published crime story Blackmailers Don’t Shoot appeared in the legendary Black Mask magazine in 1933. His first novel, The Big Sleep was published in 1939. The novel was a complex tale of double-cross, extortion and murder featuring the legendary Private Investigator Philip Marlowe. A tale that was immortalized by Humphery Bogart in the 1946 film.
Chandler moved to Los Angeles in 1918 and his literary success saw him in demand as a Hollywood screen writer. He co-wrote the screenplay for Double Indemnity (1944), with Billy Wilder, a film based on the novel by pulp legend James M. Cain. Chandler also collaborated on the screenplay of Alfred Hitchcock’s Strangers on a Train (1951) based on Patricia Highsmith’s novel. His only original screenplay was for the Blue Dahlia (1946) a high-amped tale of jealousy, blackmail and murder featuring the queen of the femme fatales VeronicaLake.
Chandler is the man who immortalized the city of Los Angeles as the epicenter of the hardboiled world. Although he gave the city a pseudonymous makeover transposing the names of Bay City for Santa Monica, Grey Lake for Silver Lake and Idle Valley for the San Fernando Valley.
Living until 1959 Chandler moved in fast company and was firm friends with many notable authors, including James Bond creator Ian Fleming. Fleming described Chandler as providing, “Some of the finest dialogue written in any prose today.” Although Chandler moved to La Jolla, near San Diego towards the end of his life, where booze and clinical depression finally caught up with him; It is for defining the image of noir era Los Angeles and writing seminal crime stories like the Long Goodbye that he will ultimately be remembered.
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