Re: RARA-AVIS: Re: Movie Marlowe

Date: 30 Jan 2007

TL wrote (and then ducked and covered):

"BTW - I find it ironic that Gould would be considered too whiny as Marlowe. In Chandler's books Marlowe spends quite a lot of time whining. Some of those scenes seem to be less about character and story and more about Chandler's inability to fit in with modern society. And that's not necessarily a criticism."

And that's one of Chandler/Marlowe's legacies. John D MacDonald would take it to an extreme with Travis McGee. And I kind of think that's a starting point of this movie, the '40s PI's inability to fit into '70s America.

"There are many scenes where Gould is the perfect wisecracking tough guy."

And that's another reason why I don't buy it that this was supposed to change Gould's image -- from what, to what? I don't see his persona here as being very different from the ones he played in MASH, California Split (granted, both Altman movies) and/or Getting Straight.

"And in the final scene he goes where Marlowe never had the balls to go
- but it is the perfect modern updating of the knight errant character. So much so that that scene would be emulated for years to come in other books and movies. Yes, it is shocking. And it is the most controversial of moments in this film for the Chandler fanatic."

Gee, I thought it was giving him a cat.

". . . 'Marlowe would never do that!' they exclaim."

I was one of those people. I was PISSED when I came out of the theater. I had just recently discovered Chandler through this book that had quickly become my favorite (ironically, I first read it with a movie tie-in cover) and this was not the Marlowe I had come to idolize.

Later, I went back to it as an Altman film and decided it was good as that, even if it had little to do with Chandler. However, over the years I've come to see that their outlooks were not really that far apart. Both are fascinated by outsiders who do not fit, or no longer fit, in their worlds and how they deal with it.

I need to pull it out and watch it again, too.


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