RARA-AVIS: Re: Bogie

From: Richard Moore ( moorich@aol.com)
Date: 24 Mar 2008

--- In rara-avis-l@yahoogroups.com, "Dave Zeltserman" <dz@...> wrote:
> I always thought a young James Coburn would have made the perfect Sam
> Spade--although I thought Bogie played Spade well. No one could've
> better as Gutman than Greenstreet (which was his first acting role,
> at 62!) Elliot Gould has always been my favorite Marlowe ;)
> --Dave Z.

Greenstreet as Gutman in the 1941 movie was certainly not his first acting role. He made his acting debut in a production of the play Sherlock Holmes in 1902. The Gutman role was his debut in movies.

As for Marlowe, I recall that in his letters the actor that Chandler envisioned in the role was Cary Grant. That certainly doesn't match my mental picture of the character. Bogie was fine as Marlowe but I preferred his performance as Spade.

It has been too many years since I've seen the Dick Powell movie. One side not on Powell as Marlowe. Some time back I mentioned he also played Marlowe in a 1954 television production of THE LONG GOODBYE as an episode of the series "Climax!" I regretted that a copy of the program did not seem to be available.

More recently I learned a second reason to hope that an old Kinescope turns up of that broadcast. It was a live production and in an early scene Powell as Marlowe was discussing the need to call the morgue to come pick up the body that was still in view in the background.

The corpse was played by Tristram Coffin, and, yes, that was his real name. Coffin played mostly heavies in scores of B westerns. Anyway, Coffin was playing the corpse and thinking he was no longer on camera, got to his feet and walked off the set. Powell and the other actors
(probably including old Horance McMahon in one of his many roles as a cop) ignored the unexpected movement and continued to play the scene as written.

Richard Moore

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