RARA-AVIS: Re: Marlowe

From: Graham Powell ( bleekerbooks@hotmail.com)
Date: 01 Jul 2003

I don't think of Marlowe as flippant or a wise-ass. I think his wisecracks are more of a defense mechanism, keeping the sadness of the world at bay. He also uses them to needle the other characters, for example the cop he nicknames Hemingway in, ah, THE LONG GOODBYE (??).

THE MALTESE FALCON is probably the best Marlowe movie, but Bogart's Marlowe is a friendly guy who seems at ease around others. Chandler's Marlowe strikes me as a person who has a hard time making friends, a reserved person who likes to keep his distance. We've all known people like that, friends who are "difficult" but tremendously loyal and dependable.

In a recent essay, Roger Ebert was talking about the films of the French director who made "Bob Le Flambeur" (recently remade as "The Good Thief") and he said that the characters in these films are not as interested in success or failure as they are in "living properly", which I think is a perfect description of Marlowe.

And I think Ed Harris would be great in the role. Or Don Cheadle.

----------------- http://www.BleekerBooks.com

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