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

From: mmiano3 ( mark.miano@nbc.com)
Date: 23 Jul 2006


Thanks for this posting. Replies to the replies below...

> "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.

Fair enough! But I still disagree.

Just to shed a little more light on the process (and at the risk of becoming like the magician who reveals the tricks of his trade)...

While unstated in the title of our survey, we felt it was important to attach an actor to the sleuth because we want to show tv and film clips of each sleuth.

This is not to say that other actors who depicted the sleuth won't be mentioned - but when it came to choosing an actual clip of the sleuth, we felt it was important to pick (what we considered) the iconic performance.
> 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.

Great point. I don't even have an adequate response besides to say that we didn't feel Dick Powell is as big a name today for the general American public. I'll catch heat for saying that, deservedly so, but "market considerations" did play a part in the decision.

> 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.

I watched this recently after reading some discussion here and catching a Michael Connelly podcast (perhaps directed by Terrill Lankford?) about Michael's apartment, which I believe is in the building where this was filmed.

I liked the film a lot, even though it wasn't what I expected. I'm a huge fan of 70's movies, a period when directors took the time to show things about characters, not tell me them.

So, for example, I loved the opening scene of Marlowe feeding the cat, which didn't do much for the plot, but seemed to show much about Marlowe.

It reminds me of the scene of Popeye Doyle staking out the restaurant during a typical NYC winter, stamping his feet on the ground, rubbing his hands, shivering. Today, the character would just say, "I want to get this guy!" and we'd be onto something with lots of explosions and car chases that can't even touch the one in FRENCH CONNECTION. But I don't think the car chase in FC would have nearly been as potent if I didn't really BELIEVE Popeye wanted to catch the bad guys so badly.

I guess directors today have their own "market considerations," too.

> it seems like you could have settled on SOME actor to represent
> this seminal, hugely influential character

Excellent point Jim. I wish we had, as well.

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

Jim, as I mentioned in my first posting about this survey, I've been a long time lurker here. I've soaked up your knowledge, taken your reading and viewing suggestions, heck, I've even taken your online course - TWICE!

I've also chuckled a good deal when you've gotten into those wonderful, epic, back-and-forths with Brian, Miker, Mark, and others. Many a time, I've thought to myself: "Don't want to tangle with that Doherty guy - he's tough!"

Ah, what the heck. It's kind of fun.


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