When it comes to the private detective archetype, the most archetypical of them all is Philip Marlowe. Sure, there’s Sam Spade, but he’s really only famous for one book, The Maltese Falcon, with Dashiel Hammett’s other famous works involving other, less famous detectives. Also, Hammett incorporated boring shit like “personal experience” and “actual brass tacks of detective work” into his stories, while Chandler, not being from those streets, went for a flashier style, and prioritized things like “action” and “sexiness”. It’s little wonder then that while Hammett’s work is the more accurate of the two, Chandler’s is the one with the more lasting impact. I mean, does Hammett have a trope named after him? I think not. But Chandler has two! (Okay, okay, Hammett has an award named after his Glass Key novel, but the protagonist in that isn’t a private detective, even if he undertakes a murder investigation)

My point is, given how important and influential Philip Marlowe is to the genre of hardboiled or noir or whatever you want to call that specific brand of mystery stories, you’d expect his legacy to be secure well after his death. However, only fifteen years after Chandler’s last Marlowe novel was published, people were starting to reassess Marlowe’s place in the cultural zeitgeist.

The Long Goodbye (1973)

This is the film that was supposed to kill the noir genre. With the help of Leigh Brackett, who had also adapted The Big Sleep for Bogie and Bacall, Robert Altman set about with this movie to systematically deconstruct and destroy Philip Marlowe, and leave the festering corpse of his archetype in the gutter.