Noir Poets: Philip Marlowe

Who am I cutting my throat for this time? A blonde with sexy eyes and too many door keys? A girl from Manhattan, Kansas? I don’t know. All I know is that something isn’t what it seems and the old tired but always reliable hunch tells me that if the hand is played the way it is dealt the wrong person is going to lose the pot. Is that any of my business? Well, what is my business? Do I know? Did I ever know? Let’s not go into that. You’re not human tonight, Marlowe. Maybe I never was or ever will be. Maybe I’m an ectoplasm with a private license. Maybe we all get like this in the cold half-lit world where always the wrong thing happens and never the right.

Raymond Chandler, The Little Sister (NY 1941)

4 thoughts on “Noir Poets: Philip Marlowe”

  1. Well, when we talk of poetry in noir the first character and author that comes to mind are the ones you feature here. These are the essence of the form, and showcasing them from time to time is both a glowing indeptedness and a celebration of why the form has remained beloved by so many cineastes for decades. I could be redundant here, but I salute you for digging deep beneath the surface to find the profound artistry across the spectrum.


  2. Thanks for this excerpt. I’ve been making comments over at Wonders in the Dark,/i>–by the way, hello there, Sam Juliano!–where we’ve been discussing various film Marlowes. I’m not a fan of Elliot Gould’s take, but I’m willing to concede that the noir code hero is as conflicted as the world he lives in. I was thinking of the “You’re not human tonight, Marlowe” mantra, but didn’t want to hand-copy anything–so thanks for the copy n paste opportunity! Swell, site, by the way.


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