Re: RARA-AVIS: Re: Marlowe

Date: 01 Jul 2003

Here's how it breaks down in the Marlowe performance competition.

GOLD MEDAL: Dick Powell (captured the character as written in the novels and stories better than anyone, and looked surprisingly good in the part; plus the movie was the best adaptation of a Chandler novel.)

SILVER MEDAL: Humphrey Bogart (he gets it mainly for being Bogie; which is essentially how he played Marlowe. Rather than play Chandler's character, he adapted the character to his already well-established screen persona.)

BRONZE MEDAL: James Garner (great actor and looks the part more than just about anyone else who's played it; he did appear a bit uncomfortable in the 1960s, but, after all, the last Marlowe novel came out only 10 years prior to the movie. Updating aside, the film was actually pretty faithful to the original novel.)

Robert Mitchum was too old for the part by the time he played it, plus he's handicapped by the fact that both his appearances were in remakes. Still, one is impressed by what an awesome Marlowe he'd've made in his prime.

Robert Montgomery struck me as just mean-spirited rather than tough, and the film too damned gimmicky. Still, how many actors can claim to've played both Phil Marlowe and Lord Peter Wimsey?

George Montgomery had the opposite problem of Mitchum.
 He was too young, and the mustache didn't make him look any older. Based on performances from later in his career, however, he'd've probably made a pretty acceptable Marlowe had he waited another 10 years.

Powers Boothe was too mannered, and the TV episodes he appeared in seemed to be trying to coast on period details, but by and large I liked the show.

James Caan was acceptable as an aging Marlowe, but he WASN'T that old (nor was his inamorata that young) in the book.

Never saw Philip Carey.

Of the two radio Marlowes I've heard, I prefer Gerald Mohr, who put across an appropriate world-weariness to the part, to Van Heflin, who just seemed too damned earnest.

Who should play it now? That's tough because it requires a balance of youthful vigor and mature gravitas, and, for some reason, actors in the '40s seemed to combine those qualities more easily than actors today. Maybe, in another decade or so, Ben Affleck, who's a decent actor and looks kind of like a young Cary Grant. But right now he looks too MUCH like a YOUNG Cary Grant.

Mel Gibson might do a pretty good job, but he's only got a few more years before he starts to look too old.
 Interstingly, hasn't Gibson's LETHAL WEAPON co-star, Danny Glover, played Marlowe in a TV special?

Kurt Russell is too short (but then so was Bogart).

Harrison Ford is too old.

Kevin Spacey is to (ahem) spacey.

Guy Pearce is too skinny.

Russell Crowe is too . . . uh . . . actually, what's wrong with Russell Crowe?


__________________________________ Do you Yahoo!? SBC Yahoo! DSL - Now only $29.95 per month!

# To unsubscribe from the regular list, say "unsubscribe rara-avis" to
#  This will not work for the digest version.
# The web pages for the list are at .

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : 01 Jul 2003 EDT