Raymond Chandler Quotes

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If my books had been any worse, I should not have been invited to Hollywood, and if they had been any better, I should not have come.
[Books] [Raymond Chandler]

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Its idea of ''production value'' is spending a million dollars dressing up a story that any good writer would throw away. Its vision of the rewarding movie is a vehicle for some glamour-puss with two expressions and eighteen changes of costume, or for some male idol of the muddled millions with a permanent hangover, six worn-out acting tricks, the build of a lifeguard, and the mentality of a chicken-strangler.
[Movies] [Raymond Chandler]

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The law isn't justice. It's a very imperfect mechanism. If you press exactly the right buttons and are also lucky, justice may show up in the answer. A mechanism is all the law was ever intended to be.
[Law And Lawyers] [Raymond Chandler]

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To say goodbye is to die a little.
[Life] [Change] [Raymond Chandler] [Romantics]

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However toplofty and idealistic a man may be, he can always rationalize his right to earn money.
[Money] [Raymond Chandler]

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From 30 feet away she looked like a lot of class. From 10 feet away she looked like something made up to be seen from 30 feet away.
[Raymond Chandler] [Hard Boiled]

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The girl gave him a look which ought to have stuck at least four inches out of his back.
[Raymond Chandler] [Mysteries]

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There was a desert wind blowing that night. It was one of those hot dry Santa Anas that come down through the mountain passes and curl your hair and make your nerves jump and your skin itch. On nights like that every booze party ends in a fight. Meek little wives feel the edge of the carving knife and study their husbands' necks. Anything can happen. You can even get a full glass of beer at a cocktail lounge.
[Raymond Chandler] [Hard Boiled] [Santa Anas]

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I was neat, clean, shaved and sober and I didn't care who knew it.
[Raymond Chandler]

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It seemed like a nice neighborhood to have bad habits in.
[Raymond Chandler]

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As honest as you can expect a man to be in a world where its going out of style.
[Raymond Chandler]

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In everything that can be called art there is a quality of redemption. It may be pure tragedy, if it is high tragedy, and it may be pity and irony, and it may be the raucous laughter of the strong man. But down these mean streets a man must go who is not himself mean, who is neither tarnished nor afraid. The detective in this kind of story must be such a man. He is the hero; he is everything. He must be a complete man and a common man and yet an unusual man. He must be, to use a rather weathered phrase, a man of honor -- by instinct, by inevitability, without thought of it, and certainly without saying it. He must be the best man in his world and a good enough man for any world. I do not care much about his private life; he is neither a eunuch nor a satyr; I think he might seduce a duchess and I am quite sure he would not spoil a virgin; if he is a man of honor in one thing, he is that in all things. He is a relatively poor man, or he would not be a detective at all. He is a common man or he could not go among common people. He has a sense of character, or he would not know his job. He will take no man's money dishonestly and no man's insolence without due and dispassionate revenge. He is a lonely man and his pride is that you will treat him as a proud man or be very sorry you ever saw him. He talks as the man of his age talks -- that is, with rude wit, a lively sense of the grotesque, a disgust for sham, and a contempt for pettiness. The story is the man's adventure in search of a hidden truth, and it would be no adventure if it did not happen to a man fit for adventure. He has a range of awareness that startles you, but it belongs to him by right, because it belongs to the world he lives in. If there were enough like him, the world would be a very safe place to live in, without becoming too dull to be worth living in.
[Murder] [Raymond Chandler] [Hard Boiled]

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I merely say that all reading for pleasure is escape, whether it be Greek, mathematics, astronomy, Benedetto Croce, or The Diary of the Forgotten Man. To say otherwise is to be an intellectual snob, and a juvenile at the art of living.
[Raymond Chandler]

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A writer who is afraid to overreach himself is as useless as a general who is afraid to be wrong.
[Imagination] [Raymond Chandler] [Hyperbole]

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Everything a writer learns about the art or craft of fiction takes just a little away from his need or desire to write at all. In the end he knows all of the tricks and has nothing to say.
[Writing] [Raymond Chandler]

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A good story cannot be devised; it has to be distilled.
[Writing] [Raymond Chandler]

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It was about eleven o'clock in the morning, mid October, with the sun not shining and a look of hard wet rain in the clearness of the foothills. I was wearing my powder-blue suit, with dark blue shirt, tie and display handkerchief, black brogues, black wool socks with dark little clocks on them. I was neat, clean, shaved and sober, and I didn't care who knew it. I was everything the well-dressed private detective ought to be. I was calling on four million dollars.
[Raymond Chandler]

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Technique alone is never enough. You have to have passion. Technique alone is just an embroidered potholder.
[Raymond Chandler]

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The French have a phrase for it. The bastards have a phrase for everything and they are always right. To say goodbye is to die a little.
[Raymond Chandler]

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The faster I write the better my output. If I'm going slow, I'm in trouble. It means I'm pushing the words instead of being pulled by them.
[Raymond Chandler]