Re: RARA-AVIS: Marlowe movies as Bracketted

From: Chris Martin (
Date: 02 Jul 2003

Kevin said:
>It was at least an honest attempt on Gould and Altman's part to re-think
>the character in a more contemporary period. How would a Marlowe fare in a
>world that could only view him as a relic, a throwback to a very different

This is something I think Lawrence Block does really well in the Scudder series. I've been rereading my way through the series off and on since our little 70's month and have liked the books just as much the second time. Scudder is a decent and noble guy, but Block always drops in reminders here and there that Scudder (especially early Scudder) is a failure in so many ways. The heartbreaking thing is that Scudder knows this too.

Altman/Gould's Marlowe is similar. Chandler's Marlowe set the standard for the lone wolf who cares not for worldly possessions and that model has been put to good use many times over since then. That's well and good, but Altman does a great job of showing that this is not without its sacrifices. That crummy apartment Gould's Marlowe lives in sums up a ton about his life and is consistent with the type of place Marlowe would have. That's just one example from the movie of this. (I should talk. My own place is no better and since I don't have Marlowe's neighbors, I'd have to say that it's worse!). I like this approach better than having the protagonist somehow lucking into insurance money or an inheritance so that they can have trendy stuff while, unlike the rest of us, still remaining untarnished by commerce.

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