Mark Sullivan said:
>It made me realize how, to me, Bogart is the voice of
>course, he portrayed both of the iconographic PIs, Spade and Marlowe, so
>it's not surprising that his voice is now so identified with the genre.
I agree that it was a revelation. His earliest work is rarely
seen, and it's true he played mild-mannered characters, but
it's not as if he carried the picture in a John Boles Good
Guy part. Bogart's work prior to this wasn't always good guys
as much as it was filling whatever bill needed filling on the
Warner's lot. Duke Mantee in the Petrified Forest, the
gangster in High Sierra were only part of a 1930s career that
included lots of gangster and convict parts, often second
banana to Edward G. Robinson or James Cagney. Such as roles
in San Quentin, Racket Busters, Angels with Dirty Faces, The
Roaring Twenties the underrated western The Oklahoma Kid
(opposite Cagney) and The Return of Dr. X (as a vampire!).
But the sneer, the damn-it-all-to-hell attitude he bought to
Spade really breaks with what had come before. And I agree,
Huston's not to be sneered at. His framing is perfect, his
pacing right on the money, and he was smart enough not to
mess with the dialogue, lifting largely from Hammett.
And Mr. T. wisely adds:
>delivery, both perfect for Marlowe. I *wouldn't* want
>see Cary Grant as Marlowe. He would be too florid and would
>end up swallowing the movie. This is not to slight this
Yeah, Grant is too ... I dunno, too Big Movie Star. His
presence is too great, just as James Stewart's was. Only
Hitchcock could really make those two stars disappear away
from their star power, and have their performances shine
through. This isn't to slight either actor, either. Both
still gave great performances in other venues, Stewart's
1950s Westerns in particular. But after Cary Grant became
CARY GRANT, it was tough to see him as a literary character
... I suppose that's true of all Movie Stars of the era,
though. Such was the nature of the star system.
Back to Marlowe. I prefer Dick Powell to Bogart. Bogart was
Spade, but somehow he seemed to be rehashing for Marlowe.
Powell bought a gentility to the role, and his cynicism
seemed more effective. Possibly that's because I
(and then-contemporary audiences) knew him as a song and dance man? Or because he was fighting to overcome that perception? I don't know, but I've always preferred his Marlowe to Bogie's.
An entirely different Spade, since we're talking voices, was
Howard Duff on radio. Again, cynical, world-weary, but
producer William Spier emphasized the sense of humor. I can
live with both his and Bogart's versions of the
But Mitchum's ... nope, I agree. Not smart enough.
Just my two cents,
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