Requiesat in pace: I used to see the queen of film noir, Miss Lizabeth Scott at the library…

Lizbeth ScottMiss Scott is now ninety-one. At the library she first caught my attention because she was talking quietly, distinctively, with the librarian. I didn’t recognize her the first time I saw her, it was only later that I made the connection between this gorgeously poised, very erudite, older woman and “Dead Reckoning.”

I have noir fiction on my mind right now because someone (actually, three wonderful gentlemen who read my novel) got me hooked on Raymond Chandler. Can you believe I’d never read any classic noir fiction? In a way I’m glad I waited because Chandler, Hammett, and Cain write so precisely, so evocatively, with such wry sardonic twists it’s been like Christmas around here, book-wise. I’m loving every luscious passage, especially ones like this:

“…There is the pale, pale blonde with anemia of some non-fatal but incurable type. She is very languid and very shadowy and she speaks softly out of nowhere and you can’t lay a finger on her because in the first place you don’t want to and in the second place she is reading The Waste Land or Dante in the original, or Kafka or Kierkegaard or studying Provençal. She adores music and when the New York Philharmonic is playing Hindemith she can tell you which one of the six bass viols came in a quarter of a beat too late. I hear Toscanini can also. That makes two of them.”

The Long Goodbye, by Raymond Chandler

This picture was taken the year I was born and is a view of the Beverly Hills City Hall where the library is housed. Construction was completed in 1932 and the architects were William J. Gage and Harry G. Koerner. In 1982 the Civic Center underwent a major renovation, and I have to say, for lack of a better word, the library is amazing.

1960 view of city hall fr officeThis is what City Hall looked like shortly after it was built:

1937 city hall

Film noir actress Lizabeth Scott dies at 92

24 comments

  1. In the ’80s, I was able to dine with her thanks to my friend who was also her friend.
    When we walked into the restaurant, Chaya Brasserie, the room went quiet because she looked exactly like – Lisabeth Scott.
    She is as bright as Raymond Chandler’s description of The Blonde.
    She thinks of herself as “Alice”.
    In Wonderland.

    • Chaya behind Cedars? Delicious! And even more delicious company! What a treat…
      Hey Mister, may I send you an email to the address associated with your comments? I’d like to send you a signed copy of the novel.
      Cheers, V

  2. You hit on some of my faves with this one, lady. Film noir is in my blood, and I adore Raymond Chandler. Without him, we wouldn’t have any of that great iconic, sardonic, laconic stuff that Bogey did so well in “The Big Sleep”. I always thought Lizabeth Scott was great… sort of like a wrong-side-of-the-tracks Lauren Bacall.

  3. Poul Kwik

    I’m beguiled by your blog, Vickie Lester. You’ve succeeded in making me nostalgic for a time I was not born into and somehow still remember when…

    • …you visit here? I’m so glad! I wasn’t born in the era of most of the people I blog about but, I though it would be wiser of me not to divulge too much about folks who might get peeved. Welcome, Poul, and come back often!

    • What’s even more fantastic is that she was a regular. Some of my favorite people on earth are dames who visit the library every few weeks. Just saw my first “little free library” stuck in someone’s front garden. Love the concept, “take a book, leave a book.”

      I am reading The Long Goodbye and The Mister is reading Double Indemnity by James M. Cain. Two thumbs up 😉 !

  4. Pingback: Happy Birthday Raymond Chandler | waldina

  5. Pingback: Happy Birthday Esther Williams | waldina

  6. I’ve been a fan of Lizabeth Scott practically since I discovered noir. She was such a talent. And as a student of library science, it delights me to hear that she was a regular visitor of her local library! All the more reason to love her.

  7. Thought this would interest you…I just discovered this 8 part interview from the ’90s with Lizabeth Scott. Terrific anecdotes of her career.
    youtube.com/watch?v=jjLLnXobNUc …

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