4 items from 2014
In The Big Sleep, published 75 years ago this week, the reading public met a very different kind of detective for the first time
Seventy-five years ago this week a revolution in crime-writing began when Knopf published The Big Sleep, Raymond Chandler's first novel. Reviews in 1939 were wary and unenthusiastic, however, and only gradually was it recognised that Chandler had pulled off a bold fusion of highbrow and lowbrow – much-applauded by authors such as Wh Auden, Graham Greene and Evelyn Waugh, but also much-imitated by fellow chroniclers of murder.
What was so new? Almost everything in the first chapter, which introduces Philip Marlowe as he visits the Sternwood family mansion. Marlowe speaks to us. Whereas Holmes, Poirot, Maigret, Sam Spade are observed externally, Marlowe is the detective as autobiographer, starting three consecutive sentences in the first paragraph with "I" (ending with "I was calling on four million dollars").
He is a private detective, »
- John Dugdale
From Ealing to Poirot by way of The Wicker Man, the Studiocanal back catalogue is filled to the brim with classic films that serve our home entertainment adventures of discovery and rediscovery. Now with the release of The Poirot Collection that brings together the three feature films of Murder on the Orient Express, Death on the Nile and Evil Under the Sun, a glorious Blu-Ray warmth is offered to the crime aficionado during these winter months.
One of the icons of detective literature and television, Hercule Poirot first emerged from the imagination of the English writer Agatha Christie, before Albert Finney, Peter Ustinov and David Suchet introduced her creation to the screen. Between them they have imbued Poirot with a Shakespearean presence; each interpretation an individual joy to watch, »
- Gary Collinson
Director Robert Altman had his fair share of ups and downs. The oscillation between works widely lauded and those typically forgotten is prevalent throughout his exceptionally diverse career. This was — and still is — certainly the case with his 1970s output. This decade of remarkable work saw the release of now established classics like M*A*S*H, Nashville, and McCabe & Mrs. Miller, as well as a picture like 3 Women, which would gradually gain a cult following of sorts and subsequently be regarded as a quality movie despite its initial dismissal. But couched between and around these features are more electric and generally more unorthodox films. There are multiple titles from this, arguably Altman’s most creative of decades, that remain generally unheralded to all but his most ardent of admirers.
For Altman, the 1970s began with this disparity. The first year of the decade saw the release of M*A*S*H, »
- Jeremy Carr
In a world of cop shows and crime procedurals, is there anything more refreshing than a great private detective story? Seemingly out of fashion since their 1940s hay-day, every once in a while, a story comes along to remind us just how exciting a good mystery can be. Sometimes these stories are nostalgic odes to the original genre; other times they’re a witty deconstruction of the tropes that have been rearranged into something new.
This list is a collection of a few of the characters that make their stories work, whether they be classical in form or innovative re-imaginings. While some that made this list might not be Private Eyes in the strictest of senses, they all embody – or play off of – the classic archetypes of the genre.
Of course, if you have any favorite private investigators that I happened to have left off of this list, »
- Andrew Sheldon
4 items from 2014
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