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Budd Schulberg, on the other hand, examined the exploitative relation­ ship between writer and mogul from the top down. A studio brat (son of Paramount’s production chief) turned Communist writer, he portrayed Hollywood capitalism with almost documentary realism in What Makes Sammy Run? (1940). Sammy Glick, the rising young mogul, battens off the creativity of the friends and employees whom he, in turn, betrays and crushes. As one of Schulberg’s characters observes, ‘he is the id of our society’.43 Schulberg’s psychoanalytic perspective, however, was exceptional. One of the distinguishing traits of first-generation ‘Los Angeles fiction’ was its emphasis on economic self-interest rather than depth psychology. Thus something like the labor theory of value supplied a consistent moralizing edge in the novels of Chandler and Cain. There is a constant tension between the ‘productive’ middle class (Marlowe, Mildred Pierce, Nick Papdakis, and so on), and the ‘unproductive’ declassés or idle rich (the Sternwoods, Bert Pierce, Monty Beragon, and so on). Unable to accumulate any longer through speculation or gambling, or having lost their inheritance (or merely desiring to speed it up), the noirs declassés invariably choose murder over toil. Invariably, too, the fictional opposition between these different middle strata suggests the contrast between the ‘lazy’, speculative Southern California economy (real-estate promotions and Hollywood) and America’s hard-working heartlands. These motifs of the 1930s ‘Los Angeles Novel’ - the moral phen­ omenology of the depraved or ruined middle classes; the insinuation of the crisis of the semi-proletarianized writer; and the parasitical nature of Southern California - underwent interesting permutations in the film noir of the 1940s. Sometimes film noir is described in shorthand as the result of the encounter between the American hardboiled novel and exiled German expressionist cinema - a simplistic definition that leaves out other seminal influences, including psychoanalysis and Orson Welles. For our purposes, however, what was significant was the way in which the image of Los Angeles was reworked from novel to screenplay (sometimes incestuously as in Chandler rewriting Cain or Faulkner rewriting Chandler), then translated to the screen by such leftish auteurs noirs (some of them emigrés) as Edward Dmytryk, Ring Lardner Jr., Ben Maddow, Carl Foreman, John Berry, Jules Dassin, Abraham Polonsky, Albert Maltz, Dalton Trumbo and Joseph Losey.

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