RARA-AVIS: Re: Dick Powell

From: Richard Moore ( moorich@aol.com)
Date: 25 Mar 2008

I went back to the Chandler letters and found one from May 30, 1946 to Hamish Hamilton regarding Bogart as Marlowe. From the letter, it appears he saw an early cut of the picture but prior to some reshooting by director Howard Hawks. He had great praise for Hawks and said he could compliment the movie "since I had nothing to do with it. I say this with some faint regret. Well, that's not exactly true because Hawks time after time got dissatisfied with his script and would go back to the book and shoot scenes straight out of it."

I would want to see verification of the go back to the book and "shoot scenes straight out of it." While it may be true, it is also the sort of thing someone might say to Chandler to compliment him or he might have imagined after seeing the early cut. For what it is worth, I recall the same thing written about John Houston's filming "The Maltese Falcon" with a copy of the novel in hand.

Anyway, here is what Chandler wrote to Hamish Hamilton about the movie and Bogart:

"When and if you see "The Big Sleep" (the first half of it anyhow) you will realize what can be done with this sort of story by a director with the gift of atmosphere and the requisite touch of hidden sadism. Bogart, of course, is also so much better than any other tough-guy actor that he makes bums of the Ladds and the Powells. As we say here, Bogart can be tough without a gun. Also he has a sense of humor that contains that grating undertone of contempt. Ladd is hard, bitter and occasionally charming, but he is after all a small boy's idea of a tough guy. Bogart is the genuine article."

Richard Moore

--- In rara-avis-l@yahoogroups.com, "Juri Nummelin"
<juri.nummelin@...> wrote:
> Dick Powell is very good in MURDER, MY SWEET and is shabby in the
right way,
> but there's a scene in which he has only his undershirt on (and his
> too) and a dame comes in and starts to tell Powell/Marlowe how
great looking
> he is, strong and all that. And Powell really has this quite big
belly and
> rather thin arms! Even I have more muscles than Dick Powell. It's a
> that I'd cut away from the movie or build Powell some muscles with
> effects.
> As for Cary Grant, I've been thinking about that for almost 20
years. (I
> read Chandler's letters while still 17 or 18.) It's a pretty hard
image, but
> I think Grant could've pulled it off. He just couldn't have been so
suave as
> he usually was. Hey, James Stewart is a pretty tough noir guy in
> Mann's westerns, and look at him in Capra's films.
> Juri

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