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

Date: 24 Jul 2006

Mark wrote:

"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."

[Before starting, I just want to say none of this is targetted at Mark
(who has said several times that he voted for Marlowe, but was overruled), but at the decision making process of the corporation for which he works.]

Although I am often drawn to edgier, less overtly commercial fare, I am not automatically averse to market considerations (always find it amusing when old fans automatically dismiss a cult fave's commercial breakthrough as a sell-out, even if they loved it before it crossed over). And all of the authors under current discussion certainly took the market into consideration. But this rationale seems to go beyond market consideration to pandering. In rejecting Dick Powell simply because he is no longer an instantly recognized name, you imply that the goal is nothing more than to give the public exactly what it already knows and has embraced.

Now I'm a fan of "best of" lists, and I do like to have my faves honored
(and my good taste confirmed). However, the other big appeal of lists is discovering something new that I had previously missed, but should know about: "If you like these, maybe you should check out this, too." Powell could have been the "Hey, here's one you should know" entry.

I understand the need to put a single face on each of the characters for the show, but I agree with Jim (man, it feels odd to be siding with Jim in a debate) that when a character is depicted over and over again, whether by one or a series of actors, it is due to the power and continuing popularity of the character. If the show is supposed to be about the characters and not the actors, I'll even go so far as to say that if the choice comes down to one PI played by Bogart, it should have been Marlowe, not Spade. For most, Spade's entire existence is contained within one film (who would want to set themselves up to be compared to Bogart's depiction?), whereas Marlowe has continued to be viable for decades, ever open to new interpretations. But both could have been used, and Bogart could have been the perfect bridge between the Spade and Marlowe segments: "Bogart also played Phillip Marlowe in The Big Sleep. Some, however, say the definitive Marlowe was actually Dick Powell in Murder My Sweet. . . ."


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This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : 24 Jul 2006 EDT