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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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ken123
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The Best Marlowe

Postby ken123 » April 14th, 2007, 10:35 pm

I vote for Dick Powell, " Murder, My Sweet ", over Humphrey Bogart, " The Big Sleep ". Robert Montgomery, " The Lady in the Lake ", and George Montomery in " The Brasher Doubloon " are not in the running, IMHO :wink:

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Postby SSO Admins » April 15th, 2007, 9:20 am

You didn't vote!

I voted for Bogie. "The Big Sleep" was one of the movies that started my love of classic film, and one of those that I return to again and again. Just about a perfect film, IMO. Back in the 70s I went to a revival theater to see it, and me and my then-girlfreind were the only ones who showed up. We sat in the middle of a theater alone watching the film. Great experience.

I have issues with Powell. His portrayal was fine, but I can't get over expecting him to fall in love with Ruby Keeler. I've never been able to warm up to his noir movies because of that.

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Dick Powell, Tough Guy?

Postby moira finnie » April 15th, 2007, 11:20 am

Despite his lightweight musical past, I prefer Dick Powell when he became hard-boiled in the '40s playing Philip Marlowe in Murder, My Sweet. I've read that Raymond Chandler preferred Powell as well, since he thought that the actor conveyed the "boy scout" beneath the cynical veneer of his character. I find that Murder, My Sweet is the most consistently entertaining entry in the Marlowe series for me.

While Bogie's turns as the detective have their charms, (not least of which is the verbal foreplay masquerading as tough banter with Bacall in The Big Sleep), none of it ever makes a bit of sense to me. But then, that's part of its appeal.

Image
Dick Powell show how hard-boiled he can be, (in an amusing way), in Murder, My Sweet (1944).

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Postby MissGoddess » April 17th, 2007, 3:43 pm

For me it's Bogie with Powell a close runner-up. As much as I love Bobby M. and admire his daring (at the time) subjective use of the camera in Lady in the Lake, it's just not as appealing as the others.

I like what Moira quoted of Chandler's views. You can also add that Powell looks more like Marlowe, who was supposed to be rather a big, beefy guy. I used to reach for Chandler's books with such relish and have a good biography called "Raymond Chandler Speaking".

(Love the picture from MMS!)

Still, it goes to show you how good Bogie is; he has such power and charisma he never makes me realize his (comparatively) lesser physique.

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Last edited by MissGoddess on April 23rd, 2007, 11:27 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Dewey1960
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Best Marlowe?

Postby Dewey1960 » April 23rd, 2007, 8:58 am

Honorable mention should go to ELLIOTT GOULD in THE LONG GOODBYE (1973), my favorite Robert Altman movie. Altman's film more or less does to Raymond Chandler what Robert ALDRICH's KISS ME DEADLY (55) did to Mickey Spillane: it re-invented the conceit to suit its own purposes. Leigh Brackett (who teamed on the '46 BIG SLEEP) wrote it. Many people couldn't (or wouldn't) accept the modernization and consequently the film has a divided reputation. If you've been intentionally avoiding it, give it a try. Gould is pretty terrific, in a stoned-out Altmanesque way. And Sterling Hayden gets to log his finest performance.

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Postby vallo » April 23rd, 2007, 9:45 am

I got to go with Bogart. But I say Powell had some of the best lines in Murder my Sweet.

Marlowe:I caught the blackjack right behind my ear. A black pool opened up at my feet. I dived in. It had no bottom. I felt pretty good - like an amputated leg.
or
She was a charming middle-aged lady with a face like a bucket of mud. I gave her a drink. She was a gal who'd take a drink, if she had to knock you down to get the bottle.
Great Stuff...

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Postby nightwalker » September 19th, 2007, 2:36 pm

On the big screen, I'd vote for Bogart, but...

A question: Does this include the small screen as well?

Because, if it does, I might just have to change my vote to Powers Boothe in HBO's on-again off-again series of Chandler adaptations from the mid 1980s.

Boothe brings a lean, mean, tautness to the part and can throw off a one-liner right up there with Bogie & Dick Powell, who both excel at that in their respective assayings of the role. Furthermore, the scripts on the series were the most faithful yet to the originals.

Released recently on DVD by Gold Hill Entertainment, these babies are definitely worth your time.

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Postby MikeBSG » September 19th, 2007, 5:19 pm

I've never seen it, but what about the Seventies "Farewell, My Lovely" with Robert Mitchum? I remember that got a lot of praise when it came out, but the movie seems to have vanished without a trace. Mitchum followed it with "The Big Sleep" set in London (I think) and everyone seems to think that one was a stinker.

Of the classic noir eras, I would choose "The Big Sleep."

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Postby Dewey1960 » September 19th, 2007, 5:57 pm

Both later Mitchum Marlowe pictures are disappointing; BIG SLEEP especially so. I still feel that the 2nd best Big Screen Marlowe is ELLIOTT GOULD in THE LONG GOOBYE. For me, Bogart takes top honors.

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Postby nightwalker » September 20th, 2007, 11:32 am

Mike, Mitchum's version of FAREWELL, MY LOVELY shows up occasionally on Encore's Retro movie channel. It also was released on VHS some years ago. It's not bad.

Mitchum's THE BIG SLEEP was not only set in London, it was updated to the "present day" of 1978 for some reason. And Mitchum would be the only reason to see it. It also shows up on the Retro channel occasionally.

Dewey, I can't agree with you about Elliott Gould's Marlowe. He's no knight of the mean streets (as Chandler envisioned the character), he's just a loser who happens to survive to the end of the picture. His mantra "It's okay with me" only serves to re-inforce this.

For me, Altman's apparent contempt for the genre and its audience overshadows anything positive about the film (and I agree that, especially performance-wise, there are positive things that can be said). And what about that ending?

**** SPOILER ALERT ****

As Gould walks off after being betrayed by nearly everybody he's come in contact with the strains of "Hooray For Hollywood" fill the air. I've read an interview with Altman where he says he did that to remind the audience that it was only a movie. I didn't need that reminder, and I also don't need Altman's attitude. For me, then, the film goes to the bottom of the pile of Chandler adaptations.

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Postby sugarpuss » September 26th, 2007, 9:06 am

I could never get into "The Long Goodbye", mainly because it deviated so much from the novel. I'm not too much of a stickler for how much the movie is faithful to the book, but the ending drove me nuts. I first read "The Long Goodbye" when I was 15--and then moved on to every other Chandler book I could get my hands on-- and still read it at least once a year. The old L.A. setting and Chandler's characterization of Marlowe fascinated me. He was tough, strong and silent--and at 15, I didn't see too many guys like that around me.

Anyway, I always had a soft spot in my heart for Terry Lennox in the novel, so the Altman ending was kind of...horrible, to say the least. I remember going on for about a half hour after the movie ending about how I hated the ending. I did like what he and Eliott Gould did with the Marlowe character, but it really left me unsatisfied.

For some reason, I could never get into the Chandler movie adaptations. When I started watching classic movies, I always thought that mid-1950's Robert Mitchum would have been perfect as Marlowe, so it always disappointed me that he didn't play the character until the mid-70's.

Fun little sidenote: in college, we had to design packaging for a product that had already been used. I chose "Typewriter Ribbons Used by Famous Authors" and of course, the ribbon was "used" by Raymond Chandler. I remember everyone else being a bit curious to who he was and I was just, "What? You don't know?" Of course, my knowledge of him sprung from a Robyn Hitchcock song, so my interest in Chandler was mostly based on curiosity. I was always a bit strange.
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Postby MissGoddess » September 26th, 2007, 9:54 am

Sugarpuss, I really loved reading your musings on Chandler!

I've never seen The Long Goodbye---I am allergic to Robert Altman films so it's on purpose.

Your idea of Mitchum in the '50s being a good fit for a Marlowe movie is intriguing. I'd love to have seen how that would have played out.

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Postby ken123 » September 26th, 2007, 9:57 am

Miss G - I am happy to say that we agree on Robert Altman. 8)

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Postby MissGoddess » September 26th, 2007, 10:05 am

ken123 wrote:Miss G - I am happy to say that we agree on Robert Altman. 8)


Ugh, every movie I've seen of his leaves me cold.


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