CHUD.com Community › Forums › SPECIFIC FILMS › The Franchises › The Best of Philip Marlowe, Private Eye
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

The Best of Philip Marlowe, Private Eye

post #1 of 43
Thread Starter 
Here's a thread to discuss the world's most famous Private Dick.

My take:

Best Film: Hard to argue against The Big Sleep (Original Cut); though I think Murder, My Sweet is the best directed and most excitingly stylish (kind of the On Her Majesty's Secret Service of the "franchise"-would have been perfect with Bogart).

Favorite Film: Farewell, My Lovely

Best Book: Been a while, but I'll go with "Lady In The Lake"

Favorite Interpretation of Marlowe/ Least Favorite: Mitchum all the way. Bogie a close second. Dick Powell would be the one i have trouble getting behind. Not enough edge. Honorable Mention: Elliott Gould

Favorite Dame/Femme Fatale: Lauren Bacall (no contest)

Fave Marlowe Line: "She gave me a smile I could feel in my hip pocket"-Farewell, My Lovely

Marlowe Misfire: Lady In The Lake-cute gimmick, that's not quite pulled off

Most Unusual Marlowe Casting: Danny Glover

Favorite non-Marlowe Marlowe: Burt Reynolds as Shamus McCoy


Pour yourself a slug, light a cigerrette, and throw in your 2 cents.
post #2 of 43
I just got my complete Raymond Chandler books back. It's been a real long time since I read any Marlowe stories; this thread is a good enough reason to get back into them.

Whatever happened to the adaptation that had Clive Davis attached to it? I think that was inspired casting.
post #3 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by Devildoubt View Post
Whatever happened to the adaptation that had Clive Davis attached to it?
Owen? Haven't heard anything lately.

Bogie's admittedly not a favorite of mine and really, he wasn't doing anything he hadn't already done as Sam Spade: the same old Bogie routine. Powell didn't have as much of a movie star persona to impose on the material and so was arguably a better fit with the everyman qualities of the character. He was also funnier at smartass remarks (warming up for Blake Edwards' hilarious radio program Richard Diamond, Private Detective - check it out, Powell's terrific).

Mitchum's older, worn-out interpretation was refreshing but a little too sleepy for my taste. That leaves Robert Montgomery, who I'm hesitant to even count because most of the performance is voice-only, James Garner's TV bland acting, and the ironic hipster New Hollywood baggage of Elliott Gould. No contest for yours truly: Powell.
post #4 of 43
Thread Starter 
Evidently Dick Powell's performance really divides the hard core. He was funny, but Mitchum was funnier. Mitchum's take had a world weary humanity, but wasn't soft. Also not a lot of the skid row-dwelling everyman with Powell.

I'm blind buying Marlowe. Intrigued to see Garner's take. If nothing else, there's Bruce Lee. Looking for the radio series starring Van Heflin. Wikipedia linked to a site that raved over it.

Have you seen The Brasher Doubloon?

Agree Bogart in The Big Sleep is equal parts, if not more, Sam Spade. But I love his mix of hard-boiled and easy cool. No other interpretation got the winking cynicism quite right.
post #5 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by Malmordo View Post
Owen? Haven't heard anything lately.
Um, yeah. Clive Owen. Though I would like to see the CEO of J Records' interpretation of the classic character.

I have never seen a Marlowe movie. Which one should I see?
post #6 of 43
Thread Starter 
The big 4 are Murder, My Sweet, The Big Sleep, The Long Goodbye, and Farewell, My Lovely. I say start with Bogie. It's the most iconic of the cinematic interpretations, and you get Bacall, and Hawks at the top of his game.

Beware of The Big Sleep remake. It's a stinker that does everything wrong Farewell did right.
post #7 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fat Elvis View Post
I'm blind buying Marlowe. Intrigued to see Garner's take. If nothing else, there's Bruce Lee.
Lee is very entertaining, and has an amazing moment where he leaps up and kicks out a ceiling lamp (recreated in THE WAY OF THE DRAGON).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fat Elvis View Post
Looking for the radio series starring Van Heflin. Wikipedia linked to a site that raved over it.
I should check this out. I love old time radio.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fat Elvis View Post
Have you seen The Brasher Doubloon?
Nope. But I should. Nor have I seen the 60s and 80s television shows. I've heard good things about the 80s program, and I think all of the episodes are out on DVD. The holy grail for me is the live production of The Long Goodbye that was done for Climax! starring Dick Powell but it's more than likely that will be lost forever.
post #8 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by Devildoubt View Post
Whatever happened to the adaptation that had Clive Owen attached to it? I think that was inspired casting.
Fixed, and as amazing as the casting would have been, the flipside was that Frank Miller was signed to direct. Yeech. The novel to be adapted was Trouble Is My Business (awesome fucking title).

I like the Murder, My Sweet/OHMSS comparison. That's the Marlowe film I love and the only one I own.
post #9 of 43
FWIW, Chandler thought Powell was the best of the screen Marlowes.
post #10 of 43
For all of the talk of The Long Goodbye's unfaithfullness, I actually think Elliot Gould comes closest to what Chandler summed up Marlowe as being - a depply moral man in a profoundly immoral world. Dude is always getting beat up and taken for a sucker.
post #11 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by DanielRoffle View Post
For all of the talk of The Long Goodbye's unfaithfullness, I actually think Elliot Gould comes closest to what Chandler summed up Marlowe as being - a depply moral man in a profoundly immoral world. Dude is always getting beat up and taken for a sucker.
While I like Long Goodbye (though not to Pauline Kael levels), Chandler's Marlowe also generally tends to exhibit a base level of competence that didn't particularly seem to interest Altman.

As I say, I like the movie, I get what he's doing, but these days we'd call it "deconstruction" of the character, and that makes it rather apples and oranges next to the other films.
post #12 of 43
I would go with "Murder,My Sweet" as the best Marlowe film.
The 1978 Remake of "The Big Sleep" is the worst. Updating the film to the 1970's....BAD.
Moving the location from LA to London....Even Worse.
post #13 of 43
I actually watched Farewell, My Lovely last night it was ok, Charlotte Rampling looked stunning, Mitchum played a better PI in Out of the Past, the film wasn't really all that memorable, it felt like a made for TV movie to me.

I honestly think that Bruce Willis in his prime would've made a terrific Philip Marlowe, Joe Hallenbeck the closest we'll ever get to that.
post #14 of 43
Thread Starter 
Respect ya, Dragon, but I don't get a 'TV movie' feel. It's not CHINATOWN, of course, but it definitely has a charming, understated style of its own.

I love OUT OF THE PAST as much as the next guy, but I prefer Mitchum's super dry performance here. Agree he's the funniest Marlowe at least?
post #15 of 43
It's well made but it really seemed kind of perfunctory to me. It also had Stallone in a small role right before he started work on Rocky.

I guess I'm just partial to Bogart, he delivered Chandler's wisecrack's like a champ.
post #16 of 43
I love Gould's Marlowe, and you should try to get your hands on the audiobook versions of The Long Goodbye, Farewell My Lovely and The Big Sleep that he did. Fantastic stuff! He really captures the cynical and sardonic nature of the books in those.
post #17 of 43
Love the books, haven't seen any of the actual adaptations.....

.....so my favorite would have to be Shane Black's Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang at the moment.
post #18 of 43
I finally got to see Marlowe, the 1969 adaptation of The Little Sister over the Christmas holiday, and boy, was it a big disappointment. The movie bungles the book's plot to the point of making no sense whatsoever, and Marlowe himself doesn't seem to know what's going on even late in the movie. Not even the always likable James Garner could save it. Nor could Rita Moreno in pasties (she looks great BTW in a surprisingly risque scene, and her chemistry with Garner sizzles. Too bad there's not many scenes with them together). However, the film is worth seeing for the Bruce Lee/Marlowe showdown. I'm thinking of doing a write-up about it on my blog, complete with screen captures, simply because it's the only meeting between two of my idols -- one real, one fictional!

Anyway, I'd love to see it widescreen (the version I saw was pan-and-scan), although I'm not sure it would make a difference quality-wise.

Oh, and for those who want to check it out, Farewell, My Lovely (with Mitchum) is downloadable on iTunes. I actually watched it on Netflix a few months back. Not sure if it's still available though.
post #19 of 43
Thread Starter 
I was wrong about LADY IN THE LAKE. The subjective viewpoint gimmick works.

Unfortunately, instead of coming off wryly cynical in a funny way, Montgomery's Marlowe is a complete dick. Seriously, at times it was like he was channeling Widmark.

Also not a fan of Audrey Totter's performance. Bordered on camp.

Tonal missteps of the main characters aside, definitely well worth a look for Marlowe-noir-philes.

I did laugh at this classic Marlowe quip:
[Adrienne pitches Marlowe's story to publisher Derace Kingsby] "...And he's a very well-known private detective. That's what makes the stuff so authentic. So full of life and vigor and heart. So full of... what would you say it was full of, Mr. Marlowe?"
"Short sentences."
post #20 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fat Elvis View Post
I was wrong about LADY IN THE LAKE. The subjective viewpoint gimmick works.

Unfortunately, instead of coming off wryly cynical in a funny way, Montgomery's Marlowe is a complete dick. Seriously, at times it was like he was channeling Widmark.

Also not a fan of Audrey Totter's performance. Bordered on camp.

Tonal missteps of the main characters aside, definitely well worth a look for Marlowe-noir-philes.

I did laugh at this classic Marlowe quip:
[Adrienne pitches Marlowe's story to publisher Derace Kingsby] "...And he's a very well-known private detective. That's what makes the stuff so authentic. So full of life and vigor and heart. So full of... what would you say it was full of, Mr. Marlowe?"
"Short sentences."
The commentary I have describes it as an anti-christmas movie; there's certainly parts that mine this territory well (the police chief on the phone, for instance.)
post #21 of 43
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by DanielRoffle View Post
The commentary I have describes it as an anti-christmas movie; there's certainly parts that mine this territory well (the police chief on the phone, for instance.)
I like that take. Brilliant.

Being a big James Garner fan undoubtedly helps, but I actually liked Marlowe. The update to a modern 60's scene was handled well, and deserved some of the credit for audacity usually bestowed upon The Long Goodbye.

All the Bruce Lee scenes were great, but the rooftop confrontation was an especially cool little sequence. Thanks to Marlowe's cunning he went out like Fett!
post #22 of 43
Saw The Long Goodbye over the weekend. I'm not schooled on the Marlowe novels, but I've seen a good chunk of the movies mentioned in this thread, my favorite being Murder, My Sweet. Got to say I kind of loved Altman's take, and Gould's performance. Gould's dishevelled, chain smoking smartass took me by surprise- I don't know what I expected from the movie, but like a good book, I couldn't put it down. And the ending was, uh, killer.

Great work from everybody, really, from Sterling Hayden all the way down to an uncredited Arnold Schwarzenegger, as one of Marty Augustine's (a delightfully evil Mark Rydell) muscle.

Of course this is a detective movie from Robert Altman, so it doesn't follow the normal beats, but the round-a-bout mystery is engrossing nonetheless. Could've watched a whole movie about Henry Gibson's quack Dr. Verringer.
_______________________________________________

I used to love that Powers Boothe Marlowe series that was on, what was it, HBO? But that might have been because I've been a fan of Boothe ever since catching Southern Comfort at an early age, so I wonder if the show is worth a revisit.
post #23 of 43
I'm reading and watching The Big Sleep for a class right now, and I'm using it as an excuse to get a little obsessed with Chandler. Where do I go next with Marlowe, film-wise?

And Elvis, when you refer to the original cut of the Big Sleep, do you mean the version that was originally released, or the version before reshoots?
post #24 of 43
Thread Starter 
Love the pre-re shoots version best.

The Big Sleep, Murder, My Sweet, & Lady In The Lake work as a pretty cool unofficial trilogy.
post #25 of 43
Thanks. Being something of a Mitchum fan I really want to track down Farewell, My Lovely, but that seems like it's out of print. I see it's on iTunes, but I'm not familiar with the quality of iTunes movies, or whether or not it's burnable (all things being equal I prefer not to watch my movies on my laptop).

Anybody know if the series with Powers Boothe is any good?
post #26 of 43
The Boothe series is good, but it's a retro period piece, with all that entails: there's an inevitable museum quality you don't get with contemporary stuff like Bogart.

Back in college, I took a class in American Popular Literature, and the prof turned out to be a friend and former editor of Chandler's. Made me wish it had been an entire semester of Chandler, instead of just The Big Sleep.

Let us know when you're ready for Dashiell Hammett. The Maltese Falcon is the obvious starting point, but you'll be amazed at how much of Red Harvest you already know, from movies and books that "borrowed" from it.
post #27 of 43
Oh I've seen and am reading The Maltese Falcon. Red Harvest I know the gist of thanks to Yojimbo, Fistful of Dollars, etc. Hammet's prose is great, he really had that terse to the point style down better than just about anyone.
post #28 of 43
Thread Starter 
While I love his interpretations of both iconic & archetypal detectives, I think Humphrey Bogart was a better Philip Marlowe than Sam Spade.

(I know Malmordo will disagree)
post #29 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by DarthLowbudget@ View Post
Thanks. Being something of a Mitchum fan I really want to track down Farewell, My Lovely, but that seems like it's out of print. I see it's on iTunes, but I'm not familiar with the quality of iTunes movies, or whether or not it's burnable (all things being equal I prefer not to watch my movies on my laptop).
Big Mitchum fan here, but Farewell, My Lovely is mostly forgettable. Stick to The Yakuza and The Friends Of Eddie Coyle for late period Mitch, imo.
post #30 of 43
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by DanielRoffle View Post
Big Mitchum fan here, but Farewell, My Lovely is mostly forgettable. Stick to The Yakuza and The Friends Of Eddie Coyle for late period Mitch, imo.
Outrageous!

It's an underrated film with a classic Mitchum performance. An affectionate, old school take on Marlowe; a almost direct response to Altman's radical and cynical update. As I said before Mitchum gets right the world weariness, dry wit (funnier than even Bogart), and especially--unlike Gould--the legendary detective instinct and smarts.

Whether you end up liking it as much as me or not, if you're either a Marlowe or Mitchum fan, it's definutely at least worth a look. Since I'm both, I'll keep beating the drum!

"I think you're a very stupid person. You look stupid, you're in a stupid business, and you're on a stupid case."
"I get it. I'm stupid."
post #31 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fat Elvis View Post
Outrageous!

It's an underrated film with a classic Mitchum performance. An affectionate, old school take on Marlowe; a almost direct response to Altman's radical and cynical update. As I said before Mitchum gets right the world weariness, dry wit (funnier than even Bogart), and especially--unlike Gould--the legendary detective instinct and smarts.

Whether you end up liking it as much as me or not, if you're either a Marlowe or Mitchum fan, it's definutely at least worth a look. Since I'm both, I'll keep beating the drum!

"I think you're a very stupid person. You look stupid, you're in a stupid business, and you're on a stupid case."
"I get it. I'm stupid."
Haha, sometimeds it feels like you like every old movie ever.

I dunno, it's not a bad movie or anything, but the museum quality Jeb points to in the Boothe version already creeps in, I think, and I remember Mitchum being a bit too sleepy-eyed even for his standards. Might give it another whirl, though.
post #32 of 43
Well, I think we could all agree (at least) that Mitchum's BIG SLEEP is lacking.
post #33 of 43
Yeah, it's a neither-fish-nor-fowl deal, really: no budget to go the retro route again, but a story that flounders in its contemporary setting.

Great supporting cast, though.
post #34 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fat Elvis View Post
Love the pre-re shoots version best.

The Big Sleep, Murder, My Sweet, & Lady In The Lake work as a pretty cool unofficial trilogy.
I actually prefer the 1946 version of "The Big Sleep". I did watch it first however. When watching the 1945 version, I immediately liked it better, but as the story and film progressed I grew tired of it. The emotional drama seemed to be diffused in replacement of exposition. The scene I'm specifically referring to is the scene with the Marlowe, the Cop and the D.A.

Ultimately, I just found the scenes with Bogart and Bacall more enticing.

My blog on the subject - Old Movies: "The Big Sleep"
post #35 of 43
So I've got the Big Sleep and Long Goodbye on DVD from the library and I'm going to do a little Marlow marathon this weekend. I think I'm going to do my second paper for this class on the film version of the Big Sleep.
post #36 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by Billy Youngblood View Post
I think I'm going to do my second paper for this class on the film version of the Big Sleep.
Great idea! You'll have lots to write about.
post #37 of 43
So I watched the Long Goodbye today, still processing it. It's interesting in that it seems to presenting the idea that the detective is an irrelevant and spent force in the world, and I wonder if it was meant as a criticism of the neo-noir resurgance that was going on at the time.

I also think I've accidentally started assuming elements of Gould's performance in my speech posture. It's kind of weird.
post #38 of 43
Jason O'Mara filmed a pilot for ABC playing Marlowe before Life on Mars - never made the cut. A clip from the pilot used to be online, but my original link is dead.
post #39 of 43
Thread Starter 

A head's up: TCM is showing James Garner's take on the character, MARLOWE tonite at midnight.

post #40 of 43
Thread Starter 

A nice write up courtesy of my favorite blog "Rupert Pupkin Speaks":

 

1. Murder, My Sweet (1944, screenplay by John Paxton, directed by Edward Dmytryk)
OK, so, noir again. RKO again. Claire Trevor again. Even Mike Mazurki again. So, what puts this over the top as, far and away, my favorite film discovery of 2012? Dick Powell.

I’ll explain.

Like I suspect a lot of people, I was introduced to film noir by John Huston’s THE MALTESE FALCON and Howard Hawks’ THE BIG SLEEP. Both obviously star Humphrey Bogart, who I’d already seen, and fallen in love with, in CASABLANCA. Both are hardboiled detective stories with Bogart playing hardboiled detectives. That works for Falcon, as Sam Spade may be the definitive hardboiled detective. But Raymond Chandler’s Philip Marlowe really kind of isn’t, and, as much as I love Bogart and Hawks’ movie, the Philip Marlowe of THE BIG SLEEP has always seemed like Sam Spade, except a bit less so, to me.

 

Enter former Warner Bros. song and dance man Dick Powell, who desperately wanted to play Marlowe in MURDER, MY SWEET when it was still called Farewell, My Lovely, which is the name of Chandler’s novel. When RKO gave in and cast Powell in the role, they changed the title so they could put the word murder in it, thereby assuring the audience this wasn’t another happy Dick Powell musical.

The plot is pure noir. A complex, spiraling web spins out of the simplest of cases, and Marlowe finds himself caught between forces financial, brutal and sexual. Claire’s the hot loser again. Mazurki is in probably his signature role as Moose Malloy, who sets the wheels in motion with his ham fists. We’ve also got cinema’s most urbane schemer in Otto Kruger, and RKO contract hag Esther Howard in one of her patented sassy, sauced cameos (she’s great in BORN TO KILL, too). Director Dmytryk keeps everything moving, keeps everything clear (something THE BIG SLEEP revels in its failure to do) and adds some nice visual storytelling, particularly during an extended hallucination sequence.

And then there’s Powell, whose voiceover is probably the best such narration I’ve ever heard, and whose every action and reaction is perfect for the situation he’s in. See, Bogart is always Bogart. Tough, two steps ahead of the plot, and always in control. Dick Powell’s Philip Marlowe is scared sometimes; he begs off when Moose strong-arms him, and he’s always as quick with a sarcastic remark as he is with his gun, and you always feel like he’s just hanging on enough to keep survival in sight, if not victory. In short, I don’t think I could ever be Bogart, but Dick Powell allows me to feel maybe, just maybe, I’d make it pretty good noir detective if I got a good lead and most of the breaks.

 

post #41 of 43
Thread Starter 

Exciting news:

 

Liam Neeson, ‘Departed’ Scribe William Monahan Team Up for Philip Marlowe Movie

 

http://variety.com/2017/film/news/liam-neeson-philip-marlowe-william-monahan-1202018969/

 

"Based on the book “The Black-Eyed Blonde” by Benjamin Black, the story follows the tough as nails private detective the early 1950s where Marlowe is as restless and lonely as ever, and business is a little slow. That is until a beautiful blonde client comes in and asks Marlowe to find her ex-lover. He soon comes to find out that the ex-lover’s disappearance is just a part of bigger mystery and soon has Marlowe wrapped up with one of the more powerful families in Bay Cities who are willing to go to any length’s to protect their fortune.

 

“The book by Benjamin Black was a pleasure to adapt, and with Marlowe there’s no chance of even being asked to do it left-handed,” Monahan said. “You have to do Chandler justice, carry a very particular flame, or stay home.”"

 

"“It’s hard to tell who has the more of a lion’s heart and soul, Philip Marlowe or Liam Neeson. I hope I’ve done the both of them and a picture I could not anticipate more some service,” Monahan said."

post #42 of 43

Is the book any good? I'm not overly fond of Chandler pastiches.

 

I'm surprised no one has produced a film version of Playback.

post #43 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by Malmordo View Post

Is the book any good?
Apparently it's the Marlowe version of FORWAKENS.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: The Franchises
CHUD.com Community › Forums › SPECIFIC FILMS › The Franchises › The Best of Philip Marlowe, Private Eye