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Philip Marlowe, Private DetectiveMarch 17 2011
- Published on Amazon.com
Long a favorite. Seems like only hardcore fans of modern noir have known about this lost HBO adaptation of Raymond Chandler's private detective - Philip Marlowe.
"Lost" because HBO is infamous for not making their products readily available in the U.S. marketplace. I understand they have legal/licensing issues to contend with, but that just speaks to an unprofessional lack of foresight on Time/Warner's part - again laying the irresponsibility on their business front step.
James Caan picks up the mantle from a long list of Hollywood's noir legends, chief among them - the indelible Humphrey Bogart. Mind you, that short list also includes film luminaries Robert Mitchum, James Garner and the always excellent Powers Booth.
Very enjoyable presentation which has Marlowe finally retiring from the ugly streets of Los Angeles. Having had his fill of death, manipulation, shoot-outs, double and even triple crosses - he's finally found the one girl, the one home, and the one chair where he'll spend his golden years kicking back with a couple of cold beers and a soft beautiful blonde.
It's November 1963 and Poodle Springs is a small northeastern California enclave/retirement community where nothing happens - until a fellow gumshoe ends up dead while talking on the phone with Phil.
And just like its über classic predecessor 'The Big Sleep' - there's more to this than first meets the eye. As Marlowe himself would tell you: Paying attention to details is chapter one in the Private Eye Handbook.
While the entire production is great, my favorite scene takes place when his new bride Laura, played by Dina Meyer, tells him that she thinks that both he and her father should like one another since they're both from the same generation. :-D Not quite cradle-robbing, but she's definitely not going to be claiming Social Security benefits at the same time as Phil.
Fun stuff if you're into the Old School detective mystery/dramas. I am, so I had a blast!
One warning. If you're a pet lover - something horrific happens to a beloved family member, so be wary when the scene comes up (25:00 into the film). If it's any consolation, Marlowe takes revenge on the piece-of-turd who did it.
Finally, the most cost effective way to watch this great flick is via the UK/British branch of Amazon. Their Region 2 disc should play with little or no effort on your part since most computers, dvd players and digital systems are made to convert to Region "0" - or region-free. Otherwise, you'll be stuck dealing with the U.S. sellers who, as you can see from this page, consider this disc a collectible - and sellers demand collectible prices.