RARA-AVIS: Re: Name Changing, Re-Castings and Personality Swaps

From: Kevin Burton Smith (kvnsmith@thrillingdetective.com)
Date: 02 Sep 2010

  • Next message: Patrick Kennedy: "Re: RARA-AVIS: Re: Name Changing, Re-Castings and Personality Swaps"

    On Sep 2, 2010, at 4:12 AM, Patrick wrote:

    > despite Howard Hawk's comically racy liberties and the
    > standard tacked on happy Hollywood ending, his 'The Big Sleep' is still
    > essentially recognizable as Chandler's story in atmosphere, dialogue and
    > character.

    Despite all the differences they're "essentially recognizable" as the same? Gotcha.

    I'm not buying it, though. Especially when it comes to the hero's character. Racy liberties, sexually charged banter and happy endings aren't a minor part of the film, so easily swept aside.

    Disappointingly, Bogart plays Marlowe more like a rerun of Sam Spade than as Chandler's beat-down hero. The bittersweet, world-weary romance and crushed idealism of the novel is given very short shrift in the final, released version of Hawks' THE BIG SLEEP. The novel itself is much darker and disturbing, much closer to noir.

    I'm not saying one film is necessarily better than the other -- I enjoy both, but I don't think either is particularly faithful to Chandler. Both idiosyncratic directors used the novel as a mere starting point, not a blueprint. Ironically, the almost universally derided Mitchum version of THE BIG SLEEP (Marlowe goes to England!) is probably in some ways closer in tone to its source than either Hawk or Altman's take. Assuming you can swallow Marlowe as a tired old man sucking in his gut and muttering to himself a lot...

    Mitchum shoulda/coulda been Marlowe in 1946. Me, I always liked Dick Powell.

    Kevin Burton Smith Editor/Founder The Thrilling Detective Web Site
    "Wasting your time on the web since 1998."

    [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

    This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : 02 Sep 2010 EDT