Cover image for Creatures of darkness : Raymond Chandler, detective fiction, and film noir
Creatures of darkness : Raymond Chandler, detective fiction, and film noir
Phillips, Gene D.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Lexington : University Press of Kentucky, [2000]

Physical Description:
xxiv, 311 pages, 16 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations ; 24 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PS3505.H3224 Z836 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

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More than any other writer, Raymond Chandler (1888-1959) is responsible for raising detective stories from the level of pulp fiction to literature. Chandler's cynical, hard-boiled private eye Philip Marlowe set the standard for rough, brooding heroes with a strong sense of moral conviction living in a cruel and indifferent world.

Author Notes

Gene D. Phillips is a professor of English and film at Loyola University. He lives in Chicago, IL.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

Despite Chandler's acknowledged preeminence as the hard-boiled writer of American literature par excellence, the enduring popularity of his fiction, and his enticing hold on the Hollywood cinematic imagination, provocative criticism of Chandler's work is surprisingly sparse. Most monographs are life histories--tracing Chandler's struggles with the bottle, the motion picture establishment, and his problematic sexuality--and they tend to repeat each other's stories. Aside from some discerning articles in journals and anthologies, the best study of Chandler remains Frank MacShane's incisive critical biography, The Life of Raymond Chandler (1978, revised in 1979). Phillips (Loyola Univ., Chicago) attempts to refresh interest in Chandler's career in film noir, shifting focus to the Hollywood phase of his career. He provides abundant information about Chandler's script-writing ventures and collaborations with directors, along with analyses of the various film versions of Chandler's novels. However, the book lacks an overall argument, and the narrative is stalled by a surfeit of introductory set pieces, plot summary, and reminiscences from Chandler's contemporaries. Still, large libraries will want to own this volume as an opulent repository of material on the premier American noirist. L. Armstrong Central Washington University

Table of Contents

Prefacep. xi
Acknowledgmentsp. xv
Chronologyp. xvii
Prologue: Trouble in Paradisep. xix
1 Introduction: Dead of Nightp. 1
Part 1 Knight and the City: The Films of Chandler's Fiction
2 Paint It Black: Chandler as Fiction Writerp. 13
3 The Lady Is a Tramp: The Falcon Takes Over; Murder, My Sweet; and Farewell, My Lovelyp. 20
4 Knight Moves: Two Films of The Big Sleepp. 48
5 Down among the Rotting Palms: Time to Kill and The Brasher Doubloonp. 73
6 Dead in the Water: Lady in the Lakep. 94
7 Decline and Fall: Marlowep. 117
8 Modern Times: The Long Goodbyep. 137
Part 2 Exiled in Babylon: Chandler's Screenplays
9 Lured: Double Indemnityp. 165
10 No Way to Treat a Lady: The Blue Dahlia and Other Screenplaysp. 183
11 Dance with the Devil: Strangers on a Train and Playbackp. 202
12 The Stag at Eve: Poodle Springs and Other Telefilmsp. 223
Epilogue: Endless Nightp. 242
Notesp. 251
Selected Bibliographyp. 275
Filmographyp. 283
Indexp. 297