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Nun More Deadly

Nun More Deadly, a film noir detective movie set in Waterford City was the result of an international script competition held in 2005 by the Imagine Waterford Arts Festival when they discovered that the famous 'hard-boiled' crime-writer Raymond Chandler had a close connection with the city.


The Waterford writer, Bill Long, made Chandler's acquaintance in London in 1958 when they lived two doors apart in Chelsea. Being neighbours, they knew each other by sight although they had never spoken. One rainy day, while Long was waiting for a bus, Chandler's limousine pulled up and Chandler's driver asked Long if he needed a lift. When Chandler heard Long speak he became agitated and, saying that he had an ear for dialects, he guessed that Long came from Waterford. Long wrote that Chandler was quite visibly moved on hearing that he was correct. Chandler spoke of his mother and her family and said that he remembered how snobbish and bigoted his mother's people, the Thorntons, were, especially about class and Catholicism. Everyone who worked for them had to be Protestant. Chandler admitted that he had inherited those faults also, and that he was very class-conscious. He recalled his Uncle Ernest as being a regular tyrant. He concluded by saying that he always had a good time in Waterford.


Chandler had parties in his house every week where the 'beautiful' people would gather. He was seventy at that time, a widower and in poor health, but he was a kind, gracious and generous host. Crowds tired him and, often, he and Long would leave the party-goers and retire to Chandler's study where, invariably, Chandler wanted to talk about Waterford. He would ask Long to tell him about the Waterford of Long's youth, forty years after Chandler had known it. Long said that Chandler would often take pencil and paper, and make lists of streets and squares and laneways of the old city, just as James Joyce did in recalling Dublin. Chandler loved to talk about the Port and of the ships that traded in and out of it. He spoke often about the 'big houses' in Waterford that he had visited with his mother and Uncle Ernest, whose law firm handled the legal business for the owners, all of them overwhelmingly Protestant of course.

Chandler often spoke about Power's second-hand bookshop that he frequented in Waterford. This was the famous "Sticky Back" Power's shop, known to several generations of Waterford people. Once, while talking about the bookshop, Chandler became quite emotional and told Long how much the old city meant to him. He said that of all the places he had lived in (and he stressed the word all) Waterford was the place that drew him back, in his mind, all the time. Chandler startled Long, on one occasion when he was talking about "Sticky Back's," by saying that he had been thinking about the old bookshop and had come up with an idea for a new Philip Marlowe novel. He thought it would be a wonderful idea to use the shop, and the maze of streets and lanes surrounding it, as a setting for the novel. He outlined the plot.


Marlowe is visiting Ireland and he stops in Waterford for a few days. He visits a bar on the quays in Waterford and there he witnesses a fight between sailors from different ships. The next day he hears that one of the sailors from the fight has been murdered and the body was found slumped in Sticky Back's doorway. That evening Marlowe is recognised by the captain of the murdered sailor's boat and is asked to investigate.


And so begins the new Philip Marlowe mystery.


NUN MORE DEADLY' was made by members of the WYD-Eye Film Unit with the support Bonnie Dempsey and David O'Sullivan of Dyehouse Films. Filmed around the city's docklands and medieval quarter. Dublin based jazz composer Dylan Rynhart of the Fuzzy Logic Ensemble, composed and scored original music for the short film which director David O'Sullivan describes as 'a sassy and melodic jazz score, tailor made for this movie'. Winner of the audience award for best Irish short at the Cork international film festival, the award for best fiction at the Sligo short film festival. and the Tiernan MacBride award for best Irish short at the Galway Film Fleadh

This film was created through a partnership between Imagine Arts Festival, Dyehouse Films and WYA. The film was shot with professional actors and crew with young people being mentored through the project. The film script won a competition through Imagine Festival and was based on scenario related publicly by author Bill Long on conversations he had with writer Raymond Chandler in London in the 1960's. Chandler who spent a a lot of his childhood in Waterford had been researching the idea of writing one final Philip Marlowe detective story set in Waterford before he died. The outline was that Marlowe was on a holiday in Waterford when a murder of a sailor takes place and the ships captain asks him to get involved in the case. Unfortunately Chandler died before writing the story and so Imagine used the scenario as a starting point to encourage scripts. The winner was scriptwriter Rodney Lee.


Dyehouse films is run by Bonnie Dempsey and Dave O'Sullivan (in picture) and both have an association with WYA when they were younger.  

Check out the latest Fuzzy Logic Ensemble tunes -

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