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The Best Marlowe

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The Best Phillip Marlowe on Screen

Dick Powell
11
39%
Bogie
15
54%
Either Montgomery,or someone else
2
7%
 
Total votes: 28

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sugarpuss
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Postby sugarpuss » September 27th, 2007, 1:42 am

Thanks, Miss G!

The funny thing is that when I first saw "The Long Goodbye", I had no idea who Robert Altman was. I was very, very new to classics. I only watched it because it was a Chandler/Marlowe movie. However, now that I've seen a few more, I have to agree that I'm not too hot on his movies either. He and Preminger top my list of "Most Underwhelming Directors".

The first Marlowe movie I saw was "The Lady in the Lake". The first person narrative is a fun idea, but after awhile it just starts losing steam. And Robert Montgomery is just all kinds of wrong as Marlowe. The only way I can put it is that he's not streetwise enough for the character.
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Postby MissGoddess » September 27th, 2007, 11:34 am

I like Bobby M fine as Marlowe but I can see how others just don't see him as a good fit. He is a very urbane man and that is not really Marlowian. Bogie is still my favorite, but maybe the least like Chandler's Marlowe!

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Richard--W
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Re: The Best Marlowe

Postby Richard--W » April 19th, 2011, 2:21 pm

Let's not overlook James Caan's performance as an older Marlowe in Poodle Springs (1998), the made-for-HBO film directed by Bob Rafelson and written by playwright Tom Stoppard. It's quite memorable, a real labor of love that is unfairly overlooked. Caan mines the dimensions of the character effortlessly. The region 2 DVD is out of print, if you can't find that, look for the vhs.

I find Altman's The Long Goodbye endlessly fascinating. I went back to see it a dozen times when it was new, on the big screen, and I watch the DVD occasionally. Visually it never ceases to astonish me. But Altman's point of view on Marlowe is bullshvt, and I reject the film absolutely as a legitimate Marlowe adaptation no matter who wrote the script.

There's another film waiting to be made out of Raymond Chandler's novel. I love the book. I'd dearly love to film The Long Goodbye someday.

Richard
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Rita Hayworth
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Re: The Best Marlowe

Postby Rita Hayworth » April 19th, 2011, 2:53 pm

Dear All,

I guess I became the 1st to vote EITHER - because I like them both equally well. I know that I seen "Big Sleep" and I also seen re-runs of Dick Powell's Phillip Marlowe back in the late 70's or early 80's on one of my local television stations and he was quite good as Marlowe. I'm not trying to convince anyone - but, I do like BOTH them a lot and I glad I was able to cast my vote for EITHER because I (honestly) can't make up my mind who is better at it. I have not seen Montgomery's work as Marlowe - so I can't put him into any considerations at all.

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Re: The Best Marlowe

Postby RedRiver » August 6th, 2011, 5:02 pm

I like Bogart in the role, but I'll take MURDER, MY SWEET for the film. The slick, cynical naration adds so much to the effect. What is Raymond Chandler without it, for Heaven's sake? The story is fascinating; my favorite of the books. And Powell is just fine. He's not Bogart. But he plays the character admirably. The rest of the cast comes through as well.

I like THE BIG SLEEP. I'm a Hawks fan. But he could never make up his mind if he wanted to be silly or straight. He has Marlowe picking up women like Dobie Gillis! Swapping one liners with Mrs. Bogart that would make Rowan and Martin envious. Where "Murder" adheres to a moody, poetic tone, "Sleep" goes a little more for show.

Robert Montgomery's concept doesn't fly. But he earned his noir stripes with the thoughtful RIDE THE PINK HORSE. A sensational drama that deserves more attention. I'd love to see THE BRASHER DOUBLOON. I like that book too (THE HIGH WINDOW).

Hope you don't mind me hitting on this old thread. It's a good one!

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Re: The Best Marlowe

Postby MissGoddess » August 6th, 2011, 5:11 pm

You make me want to read my Chandler over again. It's been ages, but he was one of the most pleasurable reads ever. Sometimes he made me laugh to the point of tears with the self-deprecating humor of "Marlowe" and the hilarious descriptions. This, as you point out, is what gives Murder My Sweet quite an edge. We get to hear Marlowe's "voice", that is, Chandler's.
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Re: The Best Marlowe

Postby RedRiver » August 6th, 2011, 5:23 pm

My youthful pleasure was Ross Macdonald. I devoured his books like popcorn!

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Re: The Best Marlowe

Postby Steven Bingen » July 31st, 2012, 2:44 pm

Well, not that anyone, asked, but for me, the only Marlowe was Robert Mitchum.

"Farewell My Lovely" is one of my favorite filsms. It amazes me that this film has been brought up only in passing here. Obviously it was made years after most of the films in the genre had run their course. But the fact that it is able to look backwards and crystallize everything that mae the genre so compelling is part of its greatness. Most other “post-noir” films (with the exception of "Chinatown," I suppose) which tried to recapture the feeling of the original noirs ended up coming across, sometimes intentionally, as parodies.

But most of these films didn’t have Robert Mitchum.

I really can’t describe with any sort effectiveness how perfect Mitchum is in this movie. It’s, just maybe, my favorite performance of any actor in any film. Certainly no one else has ever brought so much world-weary empathy to the part of Philip Marlowe. Part of this, I admit, is because of the baggage he brings to the part arising from all the similar films he had done in past decades. So part of his obvious appeal and charisma here lies in the sentimentality of having seen these rituals enacted by this actor so many times before. But has there ever been anyone else who has been able to make the act of being tired and burned-out seem so compelling and admirable, even so inspirational? Mitchum is heartbreaking in a way no other Marlowe has ever been because in spite of his toughness he makes you realize that for this character in this seedy and corrupt world there really is no escape. Mitchum-Marlowe doesn’t have to die like in "Out of the Past" but he’s damned just the same, and by the very code of honor which keeps him from becoming one of the LA bottom feeders which he moves amidst. When other actors played Phillip Marlowe you could imagine them eventually moving up from their 25 buck a day gigs and getting the girl and settling down in the ‘burbs (Chandler’s Marlowe ended up married and retired in Poodle Springs!). But Mitchum’s moral code is all he has, and so you realize that this burned-out, late-middle aged, barely-keeping-it-together private dick will never escape. And because of his Knightly code of honor, never try. And I defy anyone to watch this move and not see this sad fatalism in Mitchum’s every movement. In the stoop in his broad shoulders, in the way he drags on his cigarette or his lonely walk into the rain at the end.

If Film noir hadn’t existed already then Robert Mitchum could have invented it, perfected it and retired it for this one movie. He’s that good folks.

Sorry about the tirade, I guess we all know what it's like when people you respect just don't seem to like, or get, something dear to one's heart...

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Re: The Best Marlowe

Postby moira finnie » July 31st, 2012, 6:10 pm

I have to admit it has been some time since I saw this Marlowe, Steven, though I agree about Mitchum's memorably fatalistic characterization as one of the best and perhaps the closest to Raymond Chandler's stylized seediness. Rex Reed, the once pretty good critic (until he forgot he was a critic & started to be a personality), was supposed to have said about this movie, "Farewell, My Lovely is the kind of movie Humphrey Bogart would have stood in line to see."

Was Mitchum the last movie star to wear the years in his face and form with a kind of weary honor? Could be. Unfortunately, Farewell, My Lovely was followed up by a pretty lame transfer of Chandler to England with The Big Sleep (1978). It didn't travel very well.

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Re: The Best Marlowe

Postby RedRiver » August 1st, 2012, 1:39 pm

Mitchum is wonderful as Marlowe past his prime. The movies themselves suffer by comparison to those by Hawks and Dmytryk. But old Bob delivers nicely!

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Re: The Best Marlowe

Postby mrsl » August 2nd, 2012, 7:35 pm

.
Steven Bingen:

I laugh at myself sometimes because in order to not make mistakes in co-stars, directors, year released, etc. I often check imdB before posting. I read the first few postings here and decided I had to say something about Robert Mitchums' portrayal of Marlowe. Most folks around here know I adore Mitchum, so I try to limit myself in my postings about him and you came along and made it easy for me. Every word you said was pure GOLD. His weariness, his immunity to feelings and just his obvious boredom with life in general is all so evident in this movie, and is so very much like Chandler wrote Marlowe.

This definitely stands up there with Mitchums' other great performances and as usual went almost totally unnoticed by the critics and the media. Such a shame that, like a great painter, Mitchums work was not fully recognized until after his death. But, I've seen a few bio's that said like John Wayne, when Mitchum walked on the set, everything got quiet, as if waiting for him to say something (which probably would have been vulgar!)
.
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Re: The Best Marlowe

Postby Steven Bingen » August 3rd, 2012, 5:02 pm

Hey, another Mitchum Cultist! Wow, great to know I'm among friends here. Thank you.

Yes, the idea of updating THE BIG SLEEP and moving it to London pretty much does in Mitchum's remake, that I'll concede. But the movie, if you can get around this, is still...well OK. It plays the story straight, no 1970's camp stuff, the script makes more sense than the Hawks version (this time they actually tell us who killed the Sternwood driver) and the cast is amazing; Joan Collins, Edward Fox, James Stewart, Richard Boone, Oliver Reed, Sarah Miles, Candy Clark. And hearing Mitchum reading Chandler's prose, often word for word, right from the book, pure poetry.

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Re: The Best Marlowe

Postby mrsl » August 3rd, 2012, 5:50 pm

.
Steven:

You don't want to get me started on Mitchum, but anytime you want to discuss any of his films, just fire away to start and I'll join in. I've seen most of his well known movies, but my very all time favorite is The Enemy Below - to me one of the best war time psychological films ever made.
.
Anne


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Re: The Best Marlowe

Postby moira finnie » August 7th, 2012, 11:53 am

For those who have never had a chance to see Mitchum as Marlowe in Farewell, My Lovely (1975):

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rNaue5XYvcU&feature=channel&list=UL[/youtube]

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V821rRm7bNY&feature=channel&list=UL[/youtube]

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ooCn-lzYY20&feature=channel&list=UL[/youtube]

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LRZZ3da_aCY&feature=channel&list=UL[/youtube]

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZNBDS89s-zc&feature=channel&list=UL[/youtube]
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Re: The Best Marlowe

Postby RedRiver » August 7th, 2012, 1:08 pm

This is my favorite of the books. Hard to explain why. It's just a great story.


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