I was doing one of my periodic rereads of Raymond Chandler, and inevitably new things leap out at you every time. (Of course the sexual weirdness just seems weirder and weirder.)
This is the only picture I've ever seen of Chandler with a drink in his hand:
I’m well familiar with the martinis, the gimlets, the (surprising) Yorkshire pudding, but this time I was struck by the sandwiches.
In the High Window Marlowe says to some poor counter hand, ‘’Give me a cup of coffee, weak, and a very thin ham sandwich on stale bread. No, I better not eat yet either. Good-by.’
Earlier the book he goes to the Tigertail Lounge, orders ‘a martini and a sandwich’ and sits in ‘a shallow booth.’ What kind of sandwich goes best with a martini?
And then, The Long Goodbye he goes into overdrive
‘I went to the drugstore and ate a chicken salad sandwich and drank some coffee. The coffee was over-strained and the sandwich was as full of rich flavor as a piece torn off an old shirt. Americans will eat anything if it is toasted and held together with a couple of toothpicks and has lettuce sticking out at the sides, preferably a little wilted.’
This seems extremely harsh on Americans and the American sandwich, and also (if you ask me) inaccurate.
Many of us have done a lot of pondering about which actor would be the perfect Marlowe. Bogart’s OK by me, but I still think Mitchum is the MAN.
I can’t imagine Bogart’s Marlowe sitting down to a sandwich, much less making one.
But here’s Mitchum in the Michael Winner version of The Big Sleep, doing some sandwich construction. Hard to tell if tooth picks are involved, but he is in England. I'm guessing not.