RARA-AVIS: Re: Bogie

From: Shannon Clute ( clute@noircast.net)
Date: 25 Mar 2008

  Patrick King wrote:

Bogart certainly brought more substance to the role
  than Powell. There's an element of comedy to Dick
  Powell's Marlowe rather like William Powell's Nick
  Charles, which I find out of keeping with the Chandler
  character. With all the wise cracks and double
  entendres in the script, Bogart's Marlowe is still a
  character we take seriously. He commands respect from
  everyone who meets him. Even in the script, Dick
  Powell's Marlowe gets little respect from authorities,
  and the criminals assume they can outsmart him.

  Patrick King
...... Hi Patrick,

I agree entirely with your summary of Powell's vs. Bogart's portrayal of Marlowe. I had this debate with my podcasting partner, Richard Edwards, in our episode on "Murder My Sweet," and made, grosso modo, the points you made above (though you make them more clearly and concisely). Rich, on the other hand, found Powell to be the perfect Marlowe. I just can't stomach a Marlowe--arguably the most morally weighty of all literary PI's--tap dancing his way glibly through a film adaptation. But Rich found those comic touches to be the proof of a man with a nuanced sense of morality. Which I suppose proves one thing: it's a memorable performance, no matter how you cut it.

Shannon Clute www.noircast.net

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