RARA-AVIS: Re: Sleuth Poll/"America's"

From: JIM DOHERTY ( jimdohertyjr@yahoo.com)
Date: 23 Jul 2006


Re your comments below:

"I responded to this in my earlier posting to John and Bill, and I agree that I think Bogart's depiction of Marlowe was a mistake to not include. However, I disagree that a character should be included on the list because of the number of movies or tv series he or she appeared in."

It wasn't clear to me that a character was being chosen on the basis of a single actor's interpretation. And, if that was the case, I think it's a mistake.

"Best TV-Movie Sleuth" implies that you are measuring a given CHARACTER's success in those mediums, not a given actor's performance as that character. Especially since none of the characters on the list had an actor's name next to it.

But even given that, Marlowe should have been included, not on the basis of Bogart's performance, which, great as it was, was nevertheless a case of the actor adapting the character to his already established screen persona, but Dick Powell's, who OVERCAME his established screen persona, "pretty-boy juvenile tenor," to truly BECOME the character more than any other actor to take the part. Plus, having played the part on rado and TV, as well as film, he is, arguably, more identified with the part than any other actor.

And, if not, Powell, how about Robert Mitchum? And if not Mitchum, how about Powers Boothe? And if not Boothe, how about James Caan? And, if not Caan, how about James Garner (whose Rockford, which you DO include, owes much to his characterization of Marlowe in 1969's MARLOWE)? And that's not to mention Phil Carey, Robert Montgomer, George Montgomer, and what's-his-name, Barbara Streisand's ex, who was in that heretical piece of crap from the early '70's directed by what's-his-face, the guy who made M*A*S*H.

Marlowe is THE iconic private eye, even overshadowing Hammett's Op and Spade (though I personaly prefer the Op and Spade to Marlowe, and Hammett to Chandler), and with so many performances to choose from, it seems like you could have settled on SOME actor to represent this seminal, hugely influential character

"For example, we didn't include Charlie Chan on the list - even though the character appeared in dozens of movies. We also didn't include Nick & Nora Charles, even though there were six Thin Man movies.
(Just so you know, I love Nick & Nora and wanted them on the list, but again, even within our production team there were many opinions)."

I can understand, even if I don't agree, with excluding Chan, given the controversy that ensues every time his name is invoked. And I can understand excluding Nick and Nora, given that a Hammett character was already on the list.

But excluding Marlowe? Or, for many of the same reasons, Mike Hammer?

I know this wasn't exclusively your decision, but really!


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