Thursday, June 11, 2009
Raymond Chandler's movie appearance
Chandler's double identity
Adrian Wootton on a writer's secret cameo
Bit part ... Raymond Chandler (sitting) in cameo in Double Indemnity
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the death of legendary American crime scribe Raymond Chandler, whose seven completed novels, including The Big Sleep, Farewell My Lovely and The Long Goodbye profoundly changed crime fiction and crime movies. The success of his novels - The Big Sleep was first to be published in 1939 - led Chandler to try his hand at screenwriting, notably with his debut screenplay, adapting James M Cain's sultry pulp thriller Double Indemnity with Billy Wilder, who also directed. Their collaboration was fertile and productive but also fractious. Chandler learned a lot from Wilder and Wilder managed to draw the very best out of Chandler. But they never worked together again and neither ever spoke fondly of the experience.
Now, however, more than 60 years after its release, a French cinema historian and two US crime-writers almost simultaneously happened on the same bizarre discovery - that Raymond Chandler, uncredited and previously unnoticed, has a tiny cameo in Double Indemnity. On 14 January, the American mystery writer Mark Coggins, tipped off by another writer, John Billheimer, posted the news on his website, Riordan's desk (tinyurl.com/raymondchandler), while the French journalist Olivier Eyquem, wrote about on his blog (tinyurl.com/chandlerfrench) on March 30.
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