"Philip Marlowe" was created by Raymond Thornton Chandler! Before there was "Marlowe", Chandler wrote 26 poems and 6 essays on different subjects between 1908 and 1912. After which he would write 25 short detective stories and base his 6 his novels upon 9 of them. Not to forget his 4 screenplays and a cameo as a man reading a newspaper in 1944's "Double Indemnity".
This is a look at how Raymond Chandler's works transferred to the motion picture and television screens.
Raymond Thornton Chandler was born on July 23, 1888 in Chicago, Illinois, His father, Maurice Benjamin Chandler was a Civil Engineer working for the railroads, but he was also an alcoholic and abandoned his family. His mother, Florence Dart Thornton, was originally from Ireland, and took her family, in 1900, to the London Borough of Croydon to have Raymond receive the best education she could imagine. Where she imposed upon a brother to provide the funds for his schooling. Chandler never went to College, but spent time in France working upon his foreign language skills. His family was upset that he attempted to become a journalist instead of a solid Civil Servant, but that attempt failed. In 1907 Raymond Thornton Chandler became a naturalized British Citizen to take a position with the British Admiralty and in 1908 published his first poem, "The Unknown Love", in the magazine "Chamber's Journal".
In 1912 Raymond Chandler wanted to leave England, borrowed money from his Uncle, and returned to the United States, First visiting another Uncle and an Aunt living in San Francisco. He was shortly followed by his mother. In 1913 they moved to Los Angeles and Raymond worked at odd jobs going nowhere. In 1917 Raymond Chandler went into Canada and joined the "Canadian Expeditionary Force" and entered World War One and saw services in the trenches with the "Gordon Highlanders" and had started flying training with the newly created "Royal Air Force" when the war ended.
Raymond returned to Los Angeles and against his mother's wishes started an affair with a married women, Pearl Eugene "Cissy" Pascal. She was 18 years older than Chandler and would divorce her husband in 1920. After Raymond's mother passed away, on September 26, 1923, the two finally married and would remain as such until her death in 1954.
Between June 29, 1912, with an essay entitled "The Phrasemaker", and December 1939 Raymond Chandler didn't publish any other works. In that December, a change in his writing took place, and his first piece of crime fiction, "Blackmailers Don't Shoot" was published in the Pulp Magazine, "Black Mask" and a career was started.
''FAREWELL MY LOVELY" was published in 1940 and was the basis for three motion pictures.
Above the cover of the first edition.
"Farewell My Lovely" was Raymond Chandler's second novel and his second with Detective "Philip Marlowe". Chandler had expanded three of his short stories; "The Man Who Loved Dogs", published in "Black Mask", March 1936, "Try That Girl", published in "Black Mask", January 1937, and "Mandarin's Jade", published in "Dime Crime", November 1937.
The novel's opening in Raymond Chandler's words are:
IT WAS ONE OF THE MIXED BLOCKS over on Central Avenue, the blocks that are not yet all Negro. I had just come out of a three-chair barber shop where an agency thought a relief barber named Dimitrios Aleidis might be working. It was a small matter. His wife said she was willing to spend a little money to have him come home.
I never found him, but Mrs. Aleidis never paid me any money either.
It was a warm day, almost the end of March, and I stood outside the barber shop looking up at the jutting neon sign of a second floor dine and dice emporium called Florian�s. A man was looking up at the sign too. He was looking up at the dusty windows with a sort of ecstatic fixity of expression, like a hunky immigrant catching his first sight of the Statue of Liberty. He was a big man but not more than six feet five inches tall and not wider than a beer truck. He was about ten feet away from me. His arms hung loose at his aides and a forgotten cigar smoked behind his enormous fingers.
Slim quiet Negroes passed up and down the street and stared at him with darting side glances. He was worth looking at. He wore a shaggy borsalino hat, a rough gray sports coat with white golf balls on it for buttons, a brown shirt, a yellow tie, pleated gray flannel slacks and alligator shoes with white explosions on the toes. From his outer breast pocket cascaded a show handkerchief of the same brilliant yellow as his tie. There were a couple of colored feathers tucked into the band of his hat, but he didn�t really need them. Even on Central Avenue, not the quietest dressed street in the world, he looked about as inconspicuous as a tarantula on a slice of angel food.
"Philip Marlowe" just happens to being observing felon "Moose Malloy" barge into a black nightclub called "Florian's". who is looking for his ex-girlfriend "Velma Valento" at a , but there's been a change in ownership and look since he went to prison five years previously. Nobody knows a "Velma" and in the confusion, caused by "Malloy", he ends up murdering the owner of the club and escapes. The case is assigned to Los Angeles Police Detective "Lieutenant Nulty", who wants nothing to do with the murder of a black man. "Marlowe" advises "Nutty" to look for the girl "Velma" to catch "Malloy". The Police Lieutenant prefers to look for the easily identifiable "Moose" and so "Philip Marlowe" starts looking for "Velma Valento".
The first motion picture version of "Farewell My Lovely" was released on May 29, 1942 from "RKO Radio Pictures". The title was "THE FALCON TAKES OVER".
The picture was directed by Irving Reis and this was one of 25 "B" features he made between 1925 and 1952.
The screenplay was co-written by Lynn Root and Frank Fenton. Both writers had worked upon another popular RKO Detective series. Which was about Leslie Charteris' character of "Simon Templer" aka: "The Saint".
The Main Cast:
George Sanders portrayed "Gay Lawrence" aka: "The Falcon". The character was written very close to the previous RKO series about "Simon Templer". Who was also played by Sanders, rather than Raymond Chandler's detective, "Philip Marlowe".
Lynn Bari portrayed "Ann Riodan". The basic Chandler character was there, but not as he had written her. Bari was a leading "B" actress who had been in one of Peter Lorre's "Mr. Moto" detective films, a "Cisco Kid" picture with Warner Baxter, the "A" list "Blood and Sand" starring Tyrone Power and Rita Hayworth, but would be remembered primarily for the 1944 version of author Thornton Wilder's "The Bridge of San Luis Rey".
Above George Sanders and Lynn Bari.
James Gleason portrayed "Inspector Michael O'Hara" instead of either Raymond Chandler's Police Lieutenant's "Nulty", or "Carl Randall" . Gleason was a character actor that appeared in both "B" and "A" list features. Among these are the Gary Cooper and Barbara Stanwyck 1941 "Meet John Doe", from director Frank Capra, and 1944's "Arsenic and Old Lace", starring Cary Grant and Raymond Massey, from Capra.
Above James Gleason, George Sanders and Lynn Bari
Allen Jenkins portrayed "Jonathan 'Goldy' Locke". An obvious reference to a Grimm fairytale character to give the series' audience a laugh. Jenkins was a musical comedy actor, but he was also a member of the crew in 1933's "King Kong" and part of the cast in the same year's musical "42nd Street". He had 10th billing behind 9th billed Dick Powell and 7th billed Ginger Rodgers.
Lastly, was Hans Conreid the renamed "Quincey W. Marriot". Conreid had non-credited roles in both 1941's "The Gay Falcon" and 1942's "A Date with the Falcon".
The basics of Chandler's story are here, but the characters, that remain, are not as he wrote them. For example "Jesse Florian" is no longer connected with the nightclub. Which has now become all white instead of all black when "Moose" barges in below. This also enables the writers to eliminate the racial tone of the novels opening.
The overall running time is just 65 minutes. Series pictures where kept, by all the studios, to approximately one hour in length. Which was a means of increasing the box office profits on the same day with more showing at a specific theater.
"Falcon Trivia": In 1942's "The Falcon's Brother", George Sanders is killed and "Gay Lawrence's" brother "Tom Lawrence" takes over as "The Falcon". The trivia here, is that Sanders was replaced by his actual brother, actor Tom Conway.
Which brings me to the first real adaptation of Raymond Chandler's "Farewell My Lovely". Released also by RKO, who still owned the rights, on December 9, 1944, in the United States as "MURDER, MY SWEET" and under the novel's title in the U.K.
The screenplay was by John Paxton. This was only Paxton's second screenplay, but he would go on to write 1953's "The Wild One", that made Marlon Brando a star, and 1955's "The Cobweb", starring Richard Widmark, Lauren Bacall and Charles Boyer. Along with the nuclear war drama, 1959's "On the Beach", starring Gregory Peck, Ava Gardner, Fred Astaire and Anthony Perkins.
The two were creating a classic Film-Noir and what many Film Historians consider the purest Raymond Chandler novel on film, even as of this writing. Although they made changes to the novel and recreated one of the main characters.
The Main Cast:
Dick Powell portrayed "Philip Marlowe". The casting of Dick Powell as Raymond Chandler's detective went against image and what American audiences expected for a Film-Noir murder mystery. Powell, up until this motion picture, was a singer and had appeared in 45 straight musicals. Yet, this would turn out to be perfect casting on the part of Edward Dmytryk.
Claire Trevor portrayed "Helen Grayle". Mention Claire Trevor, and to most film buffs, her role as "Dallas", in John Ford's 1939 "Stagecoach" with John Wayne comes to mind. Trevor was a solid tough girl actress in films such as 1937's "Dead End", with Joel McCrea and Humphrey Bogart, 1938's "The Amazing Dr. Clitterhouse", with Edward G. Robinson and Bogart, or 1945's "Johnny Angel" co-starring with George Raft.
Anne Shirley was in the revised "Ann Riodan" role of "Ann Grayle". Shirley started out as the sweet teen girl next door and retired from acting shortly after turning 26. This was her final motion picture.
Otto Kruger portrayed "Jules Amthor". Kruger, who was born in South Africa, started acting in 1915 and portrayed a variety of roles in different genres requiring a Foreign, usually German, accent.
Miles Mander portrayed the respelled "Leuwen Grayle". The English actor portrayed many a British aristocrat or military man, but also the perfect villain. He was seen in two of the Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce "Sherlock Holmes" features in the latter. He was "Sir Fredrick Fleet", in the Bela Lugosi 1944 "The Return of the Vampire", and "Pleyel", in the Claude Rains "The Phantom of the Opera", both in 1943.
Douglas Walton portrayed "Lindsay Marriott". Walton was "Percy Bysshe Shelley" in 1935 "The Bride of Frankenstein" and, in 1936, he portrayed "Lord Darnley" in "Mary of Scotland", starring Katherine Hepburn.
Donald Douglas portrayed "Police Lieutenant Randall". Scottish born character actor Douglas was seen in 111 small to medium roles in motion pictures between 1929 and 1949.
Above the opening sequence of "Murder, My Sweet" with Dick Powell and Donald Douglas.
In this screenplay, the novels Police Inspector "Lt. Randall" takes center stage, and not "Lieutenant Nulty". Paul Phillips, above in the back ground, has the uncredited role of Police "Nulty". This was Phillips final role, of only 34, with another 25 of them without screen credit.
Raif Harolde portrayed "Dr. Sonderborg". Harolde, like Douglas, was a character actor in small to medium roles.
Esther Howard portrayed "Jessie Florian". In 1931, Howard switched from Broadway to Hollywood and portrayed what were described as "Old Crones".
The Basic Screenplay:
The story opens with "Philip Marlowe", wearing a bandage across his eyes, sitting in Police "Lieutenant Randall's" office with "Lieutenant Nulty" apparently the only other person there. After lighting a cigarette for "Marlowe", "Randall" asks him to tell his story, and in true Raymond Chandler fashion, "Marlowe" begins to narrate what transpired.
"Philip Marlowe" tells "Lieutenant Randall", that a man named "Moose Malloy" hired him to find his girlfriend "Velma".
"Malloy" had been in prison for the last eight years. The two next go to "Florian's", the nightclub "Velma" used to work at, but the owner "Moose" knew died years earlier. None of the new employees, or the new owner know anyone named "Velma".
From outside of "Jesse Florian's" apartment building, Looking up, "Philip Marlowe" notices she appears not to be drunk and makes a hurried phone call. The following morning, "Lindsay Marriott" comes to "Marlowe's" office and offer's him a $100 to be his bodyguard. While he goes to a secluded canyon to pay a ransom, at midnight, on some jewels.
Posing as a reporter, "Ann Grayle" tries to get information from "Marlowe" about the murder of "Marriott".
"Helen" retains "Marlowe" to recover her jade, but "Ann" attempts to bribe him not too.
At this point, "Moose Malloy" reappears and wants "Marlowe" to go with him to meet "a guy". The "guy" turns out to be "Amthor". The detective believes that the psychic duped "Helen" and "Marriott". So he could get the jade necklace and now has duped "Malloy" into thinking he knows where "Velma" is, or is hiding her to get "Moose" to do his dirty work.
"Marlowe" now deduces that "Helen" was setting him up to be interrogated by "Jules" through "Sonderberg". He also deduces that "Ann" had figured this out and was trying to get him away from "Helen" and "Amthor". Now, "Helen" attempts to get "Marlowe", by seducing him, to help murder her blackmailer, "Jules Amthor". Her plan is to have "Philip Marlowe" lure "Amthor" to the beach house by saying he has the jade necklace.
Playing along with "Helen's" plan, "Philip Marlowe" goes to "Jules Amthor's" house to find him dead, with his neck snapped by a strong pair of hands. Returning to his own office, "Marlowe" finds "Moose" waiting for him. He now shows "Malloy" the photo he took from "Jesse Florian's" apartment and confirms it's not "Velma". Next, the detective tells "Moose" to lay low until the following night, when he will take him to meet "Velma Valento",
The following night "Philip Marlowe" takes "Moose Malloy" to "Leuwin Grayle's" beach house and tells him to wait outside. "Marlowe" enters and "Helen" comes out with a gun in her hand.
Everything now comes together. "Helen" faked the robbery and ransom demand to have "Philip Marlowe" killed. It was "Helen" aka: "Velma" on the other end of "Jesse Florian's" phone call, but all her plans went wrong. It was "Helen-Velma" that murdered "Lindsay Marriott" at the canyon and was about to do the same to "Marlowe", but "Ann" showed up worried that her father might want to kill "Marriott".
Just as "Helen" is about to pull the trigger on "Marlowe", "Ann" and her father arrive at the beach house and enters. "Leuwin Grayle" takes the detectives gun and shoots and kills "Helen". Outside, "Moose" hears the shots, runs into the beach house, to find "His Velma" dead. "Mr. Grayle" admits shooting her and "Moose" goes for him and is shot by the other. "Marlowe" attempted to stop the shooting, but is blinded by the guns flash.
Three more shots are heard.
The story is concluded as "Marlowe" learns that "Moose" and "Grayle" killed each other.
On August 8, 1975, the third version of 'FARWELL MY LOVELY" was released. The picture starred Robert Mitchum as "Philip Marlowe" and British actress Charlotte Rampling as "Helen Grayle" aka: "Velma Valonte".
Above Robert Mitchum and Charlotee Rampling
Once again there are either characters removed from the novel, or in the case of psychic "Jules Amthor". He has become "Francis Amthor", portrayed by Kate Murtagh, and now based upon "Los Angeles Prostitution Madam "Brenda Allen". Out of the other main characters from the Raymond Chandler novel, only "Lieutenant Nulty", "Moose Malloy, "Mrs. Jessie Florian", and "Lindsay Marriott" remain.
Above Jack O'Halloran as "Moose Malloy" and Robert Mitchum
The director was Dick Richards, 1972's "The Culpepper Cattle Company", and a stickler for fine detail in his films.
All the reviews dial in on Robert Mitchum's definitive portrayal of "Marlowe". Humphrey Bogart might have taken exception to that, but I will look at Bogie later.
While the reviewers agree on the detailed recreation of 1941 Los Angeles and the overall atmosphere of the film. They are at odds over the narration used by Robert Mitchum's "Philip Marlowe". Which is a mainstay by the detective in the Raymond Chandler novel. Where narration works for a reader imagining what they're reading, but becomes distracting to the viewer looking at those detailed recreated locations such as "Amthor's" brothel, or the action being shown on screen.
Goodman's and Richards characters do evoke Raymond Chandler's words. As even "Murder, My Sweet" does not, but unlike that version. This screenplay lags and moves at a slower pace and presents a problem for those viewers familiar with the novel and in some respects the unfamiliar film viewer.
Stepping back, between "The Falcon Takes Over" and "Murder My Sweet". Raymond Chandler had another novel turned into a motion picture.
"THE HIGH WINDOW" was published in 1942 and was the basis for two motion pictures.
The novel's opening in Raymond Chandler's words are:
The house was on Dresden Avenue in the Oak Noll section of Pasadena, a big solid cool-looking house with burgundy brick walls, a terra cotta tile roof, and a white stone trim. The front windows were leaded downstairs. Upstairs windows were of the cottage type and had a lot of rococo imitation stonework trimming around them.
From the front wall and its attendant flowering bushes a half acre or so of fine green lawn drifted in a gentle slope down to the street, passing on the way an enormous deodar around which it flowed like a cool green tide around a rock. The sidewalk and the parkway were both very wide and in the parkway were three white acacias that were worth seeing. There was a heavy scent of summer on the morning and everything that grew was perfectly still in the breathless air they get over there on what they call a nice cool day.
All I knew about the people was that they were a Mrs. Elizabeth Bright Murdock and family and that she wanted to hire a nice clean private detective who wouldn't drop cigar ashes on the floor and never carried more than one gun. And I knew she was the widow of an old coot with whiskers named Jasper Murdock who had made a lot of money helping out the community, and got his photograph in the Pasadena paper every year on his anniversary, with the years of his birth and death underneath, and the legend: His Life Was His Service.
"Mrs. Murdock" believes the coin has been stolen by her son, "Leslie Murdock's", estranged wife "Linda Conquest". At a meeting with "Leslie", "Marlowe" learns he owes a large sum of money to nightclub owner "Alex Morny". Additionally, "Philip Marlowe" learns that "Linda" has two friends, "Lois Magic", married to "Morny", and a "Mr. Vannier". After visiting "Mrs. Morny" at her home, he goes to a rare coin dealer, a "Mr. Morningstar", who confirms someone attempted to sell him a "Brasher Doubloon". While this is going on "Marlowe" has been tailed everywhere by a blonde man and now confronts a amateur detective named "George Anson Philips" and the story continues.
The novel's title refers too the death of "Mrs. Murdock's" first husband, "Horace Bright". Who accidently fell out of a window to his death, or did he? Could the murder have been committed by "Mrs. Murdock's" very timid and introverted secretary "Miss Merle Davis" as "Marlowe" is led to believe? Then there is the question of who really had stolen the "Brasher Doubloon" and for what purpose?
In the end "Philip Marlowe" solves the murder of "Elizabeth Murdock's" first husband and who really took the coin. Even though the police come to another conclusion and close the case of the murders of "Bright", "Vanier" and "Mr. Morningstar". While the real murderess goes free.
20th Century Fox turned Chandler's "The High Window" into the motion picture "TIME TO KILL", released on December 24, 1942. Like RKO with "The Falcon", 20th Century Fox turns "Philip Marlowe" into another literary fictional detective, "Michael Shayne", in the seventh and final entry of that movie series.
Detective "Michael Shayne" was created in 1939 by author Brett Halliday, a pseudonym for writer Davis Dresser.
This motion picture was directed by Herbert I. Leeds. Leeds was a series director and had filmed four of the "Cisco Kid" pictures and three of the proceeding "Michael Shayne" mysteries.
The screenplay, based upon both the Brett Halliday character and the Raymond Chandler novel, was by Clarence Upson Young. Among Young's work were two very good "B" Horror entries in1942, "The Strange Case of Doctor RX" with Lionel Atwill and "Night Monster" starring Atwill and Bela Lugosi.
Young's screenplay kept very close to Raymond Chandler's novel within the 61 minute running time. Except for turning "Marlowe" into "Michael Shayne", he kept most of the characters.
The Main Cast:
Lloyd Nolan portrayed "Michael Shayne". Nolan had portrayed "Shayne" in all six motion pictures. He would follow this feature with two classic World War 2 movies, 1943's "Bataan" starring Robert Taylor and future California Senator George Murphy, and 1943's "Guadalcanal Diary" co-starring with Preston Foster and William Bendix.
Doris Merrick portrayed "Linda Conquest Murdock". Merrick was a "B" actress who, including three episodes of "The Adventures of Kit Carson" on television, would have a total of 25 roles between 1942 and 1955.
Ralph Byrd portrayed "Lou Venter". This was a variation of "Mr. Vannier", but described as a "Bodyguard". Byrd would go on to become the 1940's and early 1950's "Dick Tracy".
Morris Ankrum portrayed "Alexander Morny". Ankrum would become a major 1950's Science Fiction actor in 1950's "Rocketship X-M", 1951's "Flight to Mars", 1956's "Earth vs the Flying Saucers" and 1957's "Kronos". My article "Morris Ankrum: The Face of 1950's Science Fiction/Horror Movies" can be read at:
Next, "Shayne" visits "Linda's" best friend "Lois Morny" and finds her in the company not of "Mr. Vannier", but gigolo "Louis Venter". After leaving "Lois", "Michael Shayne" accosts "George Anson Phillips", played by Ted Hecht, who has been following him.
Name changes aside, the screenplay has both "Phillips" and "Washburn" killed by "Venter". Who in turn is killed by "Leslie Murdock". Who tells "Shayne" about the whole plot to steal the real "Brasher Doubloon" and replace it with a counterfeit one. While the police rule "Venter's" death a suicide and as in the novel. "Michael Shayne" (Philip Marlowe) doesn't turn "Leslie" in, because he was being blackmailed as was "Merle Davis" by "Venter".
Another change is that there is no first husband, "Horace Bright", but a husband just named "Murdock". That his wife pushed out of the high window and convinced "Merle", who was in shock after an attempted sexual attack from "Venter (Vannier), that she had killed her husband. The police find "Mrs. Murdock" choked to death, in the novel she was still alive at the end and the real murderess. Then after speaking with "Michael Shayne" the cleared "Merle Davis" heads for her parents' home in the midwest. In the novel "Philip Marlowe" accompanies her.
The picture was directed by John Brahm. Brahm's work crossed between "A" and "B" list films for 20th Century Fox and also crossed genres. Examples of his work are 1942's "The Undying Monster" starring "B" Cowboy star James Ellison and Heather Angel, 1944's Jack the Ripper tale "The Lodger" starring George Sanders, Laird Gregar and Merle Oberon, and "Hanover Square" starring Laird Gregar, Linda Darnell and George Sanders,
Chandler's novel was adapted by Leonard Praskins, 1935's "Call of the Wild" starring Clark Gable and Lorretta Young and 1939's "Ice Follies" starring Joan Crawford and an unknown James Stewart.
The screenplay was by Dorothy Bennett. This was her last of 13, between 1937 and 1947, and the studio gave her the "Michael Shayne" screenplay to work off. However, Bennett went to the novel, restored some of the names and character descriptions and vastly improved the dialogue.
The Main Cast:
George Montgomery portrayed "Philip Marlowe". The following year, with "Belle Starr's Daughter", would find Montgomery returning to the Westerns of his earlier career that he is mostly remembered for.
Nancy Guild portrayed "Merle Davis". Her career, of 15 roles, spanned 1946 through 1971. Guild's first movie was the 1946 Film-Noir, "Somewhere in the Night, co-starring with John Hodiak and Lloyd Nolan. She co-starred with Orson Welles in 1949's "Black Magic" and then co-starred in 1951's "Abbott and Costello Meet the Invisible Man". During 1951 Nancy Guild would also co-star in "Little Egypt" with Mark Stevens and Rhonda Fleming.
Roy Roberts portrayed "Lieutenant Breeze". Character actor Roberts 202 roles, included 21 episodes of television's "Gunsmoke". Director John Ford's 1946 "My Darling Clementine", 1947's "The Captain from Castile" starring Tyrone Power and 1952's "The Big Trees" starring Kirk Douglas, He is best known for playing Vincent Price's partner setting the original Wax Museum on fire in 1953's "House of Wax". At the end of his career, Roy Roberts was in director Roman Polanski's 1974 "Chinatown". Which starred Jack Nicholson as a "Philip Marlowe/Sam Spade" 1930's style detective.
Fritz Kortner portrayed "Rudolph Vannier". Prior to this feature Kortner had been seen in both 1946's "Somewhere in the Night" and the same years "The Razor's Edge" starring Tyrone Power, Gene Tierney and John Payne.
Marvin Miller portrayed the new character of "Vince Blair". Miller played "heavies" in many films over his career. Which included the early television Science Fiction series "Space Patrol", but also provided the voice for "Robby the Robot" in 1956's "Forbidden Planet".
Jack Conrad had the non-credited role of "George Anson".
Houseley Stevenson had the non-credited role of "Elisha Morningstar".
On May 22, 1947 a "New York Times" staff review panned the picture:
..Chandler's popular 'shamus'and, we might add, his efforts to recover the stolen brasher doubloon, a rare coin with a violent history, is the least of his exploits to date. Perhaps this is due equally to a pedestrian adaptation of Mr. Chandler's novel, The High Window, to the plodding and conventional direction accorded the film by John Brahm, and to the lack of conviction in George Montgomery's interpretation of Marlowe.
A film noir similar in theme and almost as enjoyable as The Big Sleep, as private investigator Philip Marlowe (George Montgomery) leaves his Hollywood office for a case in Pasadena from a rich old widow who lives in a dark old house. It's just smart enough of a film noir to be considered a classic .. This brooding Gothic melodrama is brought to life by John Brahm's expressionistic ambiance ably photographed by cinematographer Lloyd Ahern and by the sharp hard-boiled Raymond Chandler story the film is adapted from, The High Window. The film is not as complex as the novel, but it makes good use of its snappy dialogue and has vividly grotesque characterizations to go along with the dark mood it sets. Fritz Kortner stands out in his villainous role, which he plays like Peter Lorre would; while Florence Bates is charmingly acerbic in her creepy role as a bitter old hag.
In 1944 Raymond Chandler had co-written two screenplays. The first with director Billy Wilder, for his feature, "Double Indemnity", starring Fred MacMurray and Barbara Stanwyck, That earned Chandler a "Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences" Oscar nomination. The second screenplay was for the Alan Ladd, Loretta Young and Susan Hayward "And Now Tomorrow"
In 1945 Raymond Chandler co-wrote the screenplay for the Joel MacCrea, Gail Russell and Herbert Marshall, Film-Noir "The Unseen". Which was based upon the Ethel Lina White novel "Midnight House".
In 1946 Raymond Chandler was the only screenplay writer for the Alan Ladd, Veronica Lake and William Bendix Film-Noir "THE BLUE DAHLIA". He also wrote the original story and this became the author's second "Academy Award" nomination.
--BUT, "Philip Marlowe" wasn't gone from the film screen.
"THE BIG SLEEP", the first "Philip Marlowe" novel, was published in 1939 and was the basis for two motion pictures and a television version.
The novel was based upon two Chandler short stories, "Killer in the Rain", published in "Black Mask", in January 1935, and "The Curtain", published in "Black Mask", in September 1936.
Raymond Chandler's words for the novels opening:
IT WAS ABOUT ELEVEN O�CLOCK in the morning, mid October, with the sun not shining and a look of hard wet rain in the clearness of the foothills. I was wearing my powder-blue suit, with dark blue shirt, tie and display handkerchief, black brogues, black wool socks with dark blue clocks on them. I was neat, clean, shaved and sober, and I didn�t care who knew it. I was everything the well-dressed private detective ought to be. I was calling on four million dollars.
The main hallway of the Sternwood place was two stories high. Over the entrance doors, which would have let in a troop of Indian elephants, there was a broad stained-glass panel showing a knight in dark armor rescuing a lady who was tied to a tree and didn�t have any clothes on but some very long and convenient hair. The knight had pushed the vizor of his helmet back to be sociable, and he was fiddling with the knots on the ropes that tied the lady to the tree and not getting anywhere. I stood there and thought that if I lived in the house, I would sooner or later have to climb up there and help him. He didn�t seem to be really trying.
There were French doors at the back of the hall, beyond them a wide sweep of emerald grass to a white garage, in front of which a slim dark young chauffeur in shiny black leggings was dusting a maroon Packard convertible. Beyond the garage were some decorative trees trimmed as carefully as poodle dogs. Beyond them a large green house with a domed roof. Then more trees and beyond everything the solid, uneven, comfortable line of the foothills.
"Philip Marlowe" now meets "General Sternwood" in the Greenhouse attached to the main home. It is there that the "General" mostly lives, because of his medical condition.
On August 22, 1946 the first filmed version of Raymond Chandler's "THE BIG SLEEP" was released.
My article "Howard Hawks' 'RIO BRAVO' Remade (?) as 'EL DORADO' and 'RIO LOBO' Starring John Wayne" can be read at:
The screenplay was written by three co-writers. They were author William Faulkner, Howard Hawks' favorite screenplay writer Leigh Brackett and Jules Furthman. My article on the authoress who wrote the original screenplay for "Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back", entitled "LEIGH BRACKET: John Wayne Meets 'The Queen of Space Opera" is at:
"The Big Sleep" was a Howard Hawks production, uncredited, because Jack L. Warner took the Producer Credits on any Warner Brothers feature at the time. The excellent film editing was by Christian Nyby. Who went wherever Hawks went starting with 1944's "To Have and Have Not".
Technically, Nyby's first directing position was on 1951's "The Thing from Another World". Although, many of the actors claimed it was Howard Hawks using Nyby to avoid being associate with lowly Science Fiction and Horror. Whatever is the true story, Christian Nyby turned to television in 1953. Where he directed 360 different shows and 3 motion pictures into 1975.
For Science Fiction Fans, my article on the 1951 "The Thing" and the other versions that followed. Which includes a Spanish and British version starring Horror Legends Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee. The article is entitled "WHO GOES THERE?' 1938, 'THE THING FROM ANOTHER WORLD' 1951, 'THE THING' 1982, 'THE THING' 2011 and 'HORROR EXPRESS' 1972" can be found at:
The Main Cast:
Humphrey Bogart portrayed "Philip Marlowe". Prior to this film, Bogie was seen with Alexis Smith and Sidney Greenstreet in 1945's "Conflict". He would follow this picture with 1947's "Dead Reckoning" co-starring with Lizabeth Scott. Who, because of her looks, was considered the "B" picture Lauren Bacall. When you think of Humphrey Bogart the image of the touch guy from1941's "High Sierra", 1948's "The Treasure of the Sierra Madre" and the same years "Key Largo" usually comes to mind. However, when Bogart was starting out at Warner Brothers as a contract actor. There is one odd, overlooked motion picture, that he made and my article: "HUMPHREY BOGART: Horror Movie Actor" will be found at:
John Ridgely portrayed "Eddie Mars". Ridgely was a character actor usually seen in "A" features such as Howard Hawks' 1943 "Air Force", the Cary Grant and John Garfield 1943 "Destination Tokyo" and Frank Capra's 1944 "Arsenic and Old Lace".
Martha Vickers portrayed "Carmen Sternwood". Vickers first roles were without screen credit in 1943's "Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man" and 1944's "The Mummy's Ghost". Billed as Martha MacViicar, she co-starred with Tom Conway in "The Falcon in Mexico".
The movie was filled with interesting actors in small roles, but here are four of my favorites.
Dorothy Malone portrayed the "Acme Book Shop Proprietress". 10 of Malone's prior 14 motion pictures were uncredited roles.
Bob Steele portrayed "Lash Canino". Steele is better known as a "B" Cowboy actor and prior to "The Big Sleep". He co-starred in 20 of the "Three Mesquiteers" Westerns and starred in 6 of the "Billy the Kid" series. In between "B" Cowboy films, Bob Steele portrayed a modern "Sheriff" in the John Carradine, Gale Storm and Robert Lowery, 1943 "Revenge of the Zombies".
Bob Steele's "Billy the Kid" movies are part of my article;
"BILLY THE KID: Hollywood Style" and can be found at:
Theordore von Eltz portrayed "Arthur Gwynn Geiger". Von Eltz started in 1915 as a leading man in silent films. He would become a character actor during the sound era into 1957.
"General Sternwood" wants to resolve the gambling debts of his younger daughter owed to book seller "Arthur Geiger". Also, "Sternwood" wants "Marlowe" to locate his protégé "Sean Regan".
As "Philip Marlowe" starts to leave the main house, "General Sternwood's" younger daughter, "Carmen Sternwood", approaches him and actually starts to seduce the detective. Her older sister, "Vivian Sternwood Rutledge", enters the room. She attempts to question "Marlowe" about what she believes is his real mission, to find "Sean Regan", but the detective dodges the issue.
"Marlowe's" interest in "Regan" is now stirred, but first he has to deal with "Arthur Geiger". He goes to the library and finds the title of an extremely rare first edition book. "Philip Marlowe" initially uses his quest for the book to deal with "Geiger's" front "Agnes Lozelle". The detective's ruse leads to the discovery that the exclusive book store is a front for a book making operation in the back.
It's raining and "Marlowe" goes across the street to the "Acme Book Store" to observe "Geiger's". In one of the few early motion pictures showing off Bogart's comic timing. The detective meets the store's "Proprietress", in what becomes a sexy seduction scene, but whose seducing who? As it's directed in typical Howard Hawks comic fashion.
Next, "Philip Marlowe" sees "Arthur Geiger" leave his book shop and get into a car and start to drive away. "Marlowe follows "Geiger" in his own car to the book store owners house. Waiting outside, he suddenly hears gun shots, races inside to find a dead "Arthur Geiger", a drugged "Carmen Sternwood" and a camera facing her with missing film.
"Philip Marlowe" takes "Carmen" home and gives the butler precise instructions as to what he's to say about her. He then returns to "Geiger's" house to find the body missing. Next, Chief Police Inspector "Bernie Ohis" informs "Marlowe" that the "Sternwood's" current driver, "Owen Taylor", has been found dead in a car floating off the Lido Pier and wants to know what the other knows.
The next day "Vivian" shows up at "Marlowe's" office. She shows the detective some "scandalous" photos of "Carmen" that "Vivian" received with a blackmail demand for the negatives.
"Philip Marlowe" now returns to "Brody's" apartment and finds both "Vivian" and "Agnes" along with "Brody".
"Brody" admits he was the blackmailer, after he got the photos from the "Owen Taylor". There's a knock on the door and when "Brody" answers it, he's shot and killed. "Marlowe" now chases the shooter, who turns out to be "Carol Lundgren", the "Sternwood's" previous driver to "Taylor". "Lundgren" believed "Brody" was swindling him and he's turned over to the police.
"Marlowe" now goes to gangster "Eddie Mars" casino to find out what he knows about "Sean Regan". Who was supposed to have run off with "Mars" wife and sees "Vivian" running up a large gambling debt.
"Vivian'" wins a big wager that clears her gambling debts, but was it already arranged with "Eddie"? She asks "Marlowe" to take her home, but in the parking lot an attempted robbery takes place. On the drive to her house, the detective pressures "Vivian" on her connection to "Eddie Mars", but she remains silent.
However, "Mars" has "Marlowe" beaten up to stop his investigation. The detective is found by 'Harry Jones", who is an associate of "Agnes" and in love with her, if only it's a one way love. "Jones" had an earlier run-in with the detective and neither trusts the other.
"Harry Jones" tells "Phillio Marlowe" that "Agnes Lozelle", for $200, will reveal the location of the wife of "Eddie Mars". "Marlowe" agrees to meet him later and when he goes to the meeting location. He spots "Canino", who works for "Eddie", looking for "Agnes". The detective watches the gunman force "Jones" to reveal her location and then drink poison, but "Jones" has given "Canino" a fake location.
"Agnes" now calls the detective at his office and arranges to meet him there. "Agnes" tells of seeing "Mona Mars" at an auto repair shop in the town of Realito. When "Philip Marlowe" arrives at the repair shop, he is attacked by "Canino".
When he regain consciousness "Philip Marlowe" finds himself tied up and both "Mona" and "Vivian" there with him.
"Vivian" unties "Marlowe" and he goes after and kills "Canino". The two drive back together and the detective calls "Mars", from "Geiger's house, to make him believe he's still at the auto repair shop.
Now comes the climax as "Eddie Mars" brings four men to surround the house. When "Mars" enters, "Marlowe" tells him he has everything figured out. "Eddie" has been blackmailing "Vivian", because "Carmen" murdered "Sean Regan". Next, "Mars" is forced outside the house and is killed by his own men.
"Philip Marlowe" now calls the police to inform them that "Eddie Mars" murdered "Sean Regan" and then orders "Vivian" to get psychiatric help for "Carmen".
While this was happening, the public was becoming more interested in the romance and marriage of Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall. Jack L. Warner ordered changes to the screenplay of "The Big Sleep" and reshoots of more scenes between them and that redesigned version was released.
On September 25, 1950, on the television anthology program "Robert Montgomery Presents", was a one hour long Live television version of Raymond Chandler's "The Big Sleep". Montgomery was the host of the anthology series and in this episode actor Zachary Scott portrayed "Philip Marlowe". I could not locate any photos from the production. Television actress Jan Miller portrayed "Vivian" and Patricia Gaye, in only one of two on-screen appearances, portrayed "Carmen".
On March 13, 1978 Robert Mitchum was back as "Philip Marlowe" in the U.K. and United States co-production of "The Big Sleep".
This was a Neo-Noir story set not in Raymond Chandler's 1940's Los Angeles, but 1970's England and directed by British director Michael Winner. Known for three Charles Bronson features, 1972's "Chato's Land", the same years "The Mechanic" and 1974's "Death Wish".
The Cast Besides Robert Mitchum as "Marlowe":
Sarah Miles now played "Charlote Sternwood Regan". The daughter of British actor Sir John Miles. Sarah was nominated for the "Best Actress Academy Award", "Best Actress BAFTA" and the "Best Actress Golden Goble" for director David Lean's 1970 "Ryan's Daughter".
Candy Clark portrayed the now "Camilla Sternwood". Clark is best known for three different genre motion pictures. The first is George Lucas' 1973 "American Graffiti", the second, the David Bowie 1976 Science Fiction "The Man Who Fell to Earth" and the third, was director John Badam's 1983 "Blue Thunder".
James Stewart portrayed "General Sternwood". In 1976 Stewart was in John Wayne's last motion picture "The Shootist" and followed that with 1977's "Airport '77".
Oliver Reed portrayed "Eddie Mars". Reed was in several Hammer Horror motion pictures, including the title role of 1961's "The Curse of the Werewolf" and was the psycho murder of 1963's "Paranoiac". In 1968 Reed portrayed "Bill Sikes" in the motion picture version of the musical "Oliver!".
He gave this production two and a half stars, but in his review brought up the main problem some detailed viewers and critics voiced about Raymond Chandler's novel, the murder of "Owen Taylor":
When they were writing the original 1946 movie version of "The Big Sleep" (1946), they came up with this little problem in Raymond Chandler's novel: It seemed to have an extra dead body left over at the end. The screenwriting team (which included no less than William Faulkner) called up Chandler and asked him who’d killed the leftover. Chandler told them. But it couldn’t be that guy, the writers protested, because that guy was already dead when…
Knock it off, fellas, said Chandler. I sold you the book -- now it’s your problem.Now Ebert addressed the similar problem with the 1978 version:
But now we come to the case of “The Big Sleep” (1978), with Robert Mitchum stepping into Bogie's shoes. The movie isn’t a classic, but it does make sense. Does it ever. We get Mitchum’s voice explaining things on the sound track, and we get flashbacks to remind us of key scenes, and when characters confess to a crime we get scenes picturing them. And yet, when the movie’s over, we’re still mystified. Chandler’s plot is so complicated that maybe Hawks was right in 1946 when he ignored the loopholes.https://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/the-big-sleep-1978
"LADY IN THE LAKE" was published in 1943 and was made into one motion picture.
Raymond Chandler's words for the novels opening:
The Treloar Building was, and is, on Olive Street, near Sixth, on the west side. The sidewalk in front of it had been built of black and white rubber blocks. They were taking them up now to give to the government, and a hatless pale man with a face like a building superintendent was watching the work and looking as if it was breaking his heart.
I went past him through an arcade of specialty shops into a vast black and gold lobby. The Gillerlain Company was on the seventh floor, in front, behind swinging double plate glass doors bound in platinum. Their reception room had Chinese rugs, dull silver walls, angular but elaborate furniture, sharp shiny bits of abstract sculpture on pedestals and a tall display in a triangular showcase in the corner. On tiers and steps and islands and promontories of shining mirror-glass it seemed to contain every fancy bottle and box that had ever been designed. There were creams and powders and soaps and toilet waters for every season and every occasion. There were perfumes in tall thin bottles that looked as if a breath would blow them over and perfumes in little pastel phials tied with ducky satin bows, like the little girls at a dancing class. The cream of the crop seemed to be something very small and simple in a squat amber bottle. It was in the middle at eye height, had a lot of space to itself, and was labelled _Gillerlain Regal, The Champagne of Perfumes_. It was definitely the stuff to get. One drop of that in the hollow of your throat and the matched pink pearls started falling on you like summer rain.
A neat little blonde sat off in a far corner at a small PBX, behind a railing and well out of harm's way. At a flat desk in line with the doors was a tall, lean, darkhaired lovely whose name, according to the tilted embossed plaque on her desk, was Miss Adrienne Fromsett.
She wore a steel gray business suit and under the jacket a dark blue shirt and a man's tie of lighter shade. The edges of the folded handkerchief in the breast pocket looked sharp enough to slice bread. She wore a linked bracelet and no other jewelry. Her dark hair was parted and fell in loose but not unstudied waves. She had a smooth ivory skin and rather severe eyebrows and large dark eyes that looked as if they might warm up at the right time and in the right place.
The motion picture was directed by actor and director Robert Montgomery, his second directing assignment. His first had been, without on-screen credit, assisting John Ford for the classic World War 2 picture, 1945's "They Were Expendable". Robert Montgomery's final directing assignment was another excellent World War 2 picture, 1960's "The Gallant Hours", starring James Cagney as "Admiral Halsey".
In 1945 Raymond Chandler was hired by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer to write a screenplay for his novel "Lady in the Lake". When it came to film the screenplay, MGM dropped the 195 page one written by Chandler.
The 125 page screenplay was rewritten by Steve Fisher. Fisher had written the detective novel "I Wake Up Screaming" that was turned into the 1941 Film-Noir. He created the story for the World War 2 "To the Shores of Tripoli" in 1942 and 1943's "Destination Tokyo". Just before this screenplay, Steve Fisher wrote the screenplay for the George Raft 1945 Film-Noir, "Johnny Angel".
Robert Montgomery portrayed "Philip Marlowe". The actor had just been seen as the real life "Lieutenant John Brickley" in John Ford's "They Were Expendable". Montgomery was also a real life combat Naval Officer with the rank of "Commander". He was billed as such for that films credits.
YOU and ROBERT MONGOMERY solve a murder mystery together!
Robert Montgomery realized it would be hard to direct himself on screen. So he came up with the gimmick, inspired by the narration by Raymond Chandler's detective in the novels, of using the camera lens as "Philip Marlowe". Then having his actors act to the camera as he read "Marlowe's" lines. Unlike, the overly done repetitive narration by Robert Mitchum in 1978, this trick really works well most of the time.
Above Tully and Nolan.
Leon Ames portrayed "Derace Kingsley". Character actor Ames started on film in 1931 and had different roles in both the Warner Oland's "Charlie Chan" and Peter Lorre's "Mr. Moto's" series. He portrayed Judy Garland's father in 1944's "Meet Me in St. Louis" and had roles in both "They Were Expendable" and "The Postman Always Rings Twice". However, to my generation, he was "Clarence Day, Sr.", from 1953 through 1955, on televisions "Life With Father".
Jayne Meadows portrayed "Mrs. Fallbrook". This was Meadows second on-screen appearance, but starting with an episodes of the television anthology series "Robert Montgomery Presents", in 1952, the actress switched to strictly television appearances through 1999.
Dick Simmons portrayed "Chris Lavery". Simmons was a character actor with several uncredited roles in film such as 1940's "One Million B.C.", 1941's "Sergeant York" and 1942's "Andy Hardy's Double Life", before this role. From 1955 through 1958. Dick Simmons was television's "Sergeant Preston of the Yukon".
Getting "Marlowe" to the publishing house turns out to be a ploy. As the crafty "Fromsett" reveals that "Derace Kingsby's" wife, "Chrystal Kingsby", is missing and she wants to hire him to find her. The facts are that one month before this meeting, "Chrystal" sent her husband a telegram saying she was going to Mexico to divorce him and marry a man named "Chris Lavery". It is obvious that "Adrienne Fromsett" wants proof that "Chrystal" divorced her husband, because she seems to want the wealthy "Derace" for herself.
Suddenly, "Lavery" sucker punches "Philip Marlowe" and when he wakes up. "Marlowe" is in jail and is next questioned by "Captain Kane" and "Lieutenant DeGarmot". The questioning centers on what "Chris Lavery" told the police about the missing "Mrs. Kingsby". "Marlowe" refuses to tell the police anything and "Kane" lets him go with a warning.
Next, "Philip Marlowe" learns that a woman's body was found in "Little Fawn Lake" on property owned by "Derace Kingsby". The "Kingsby" property caretaker, a "Mr. Chess", was charged with the murder of his wife "Muriel". "Marlowe" goes to see "Fromsett" about "Muriel's" murder and learns that "Chrystal" and "Muriel" disliked each other. She ventures to add that "Chrystal" probably murdered the other.
"Philip Marlowe" now goes to see "Chris Lavery" and finds the front door unlocked. He enters and encounters "Lavery's" landlady "Mrs. Fallbrook" holding a gun. "Fallbrook" tells the detective she just found it.
"Marlowe" goes upstairs to find "Chris Lavery's" body in the shower. He's been shot several times and a handkerchief with the monogrammed initials "AF".
Below the discovery of "Lavery" through the camera eyes of "Philip Marlowe".
When "Marlowe" comes down the stairs the landlady is gone.
Before calling the police, "Marlowe" goes to the publishing house to confront "Fromsett" and finds a Christmas party. He interrupts the festivities and takes her to a empty office.
"Marlowe" wants to know if "Fromsett" killed "Chris Lavery"? She denies this and is furious over the accusation. Immediately "Andrienne Fromsett" fires the detective, but "Kingsby", who had entered the office, overrides her and hires him to find his wife.
"Marlowe" informs the police of "Lavery's" murder and meets them at the house.
"Marlowe" suggests that "Muriel" was hiding from "Lieutenant DeGarmot". "DeGarmot" slaps the other and the two fight. "Captain Kane" stops the fight and then arrests "Philip Marlowe", but later releases him out of Christmas spirit.
"Marlowe" speaks to a newspaper contact for more information on "Muriel". She was a suspect in the death of her previous employer's wife. The investigating detective was "DeGarmot" and the death was ruled a suicide, but the wife's parents disagreed. Apparently, the parents, "Mr. and Mrs. Grayson", were intimidated into silence. "Philip Marlowe" discovers this by visiting them and on his way back is run off the road by "Lieutenant Garmot" and crashes. When he regains consciousness, "Marlowe" contacts "Fromsett" for help. She takes the detective to her apartment and confesses falling in love with him.
The two spend Christmas Day together as he recovers.
"Derace Kingsby" receives a telegram from "Chrystal" asking for money. He goes to "Adrienne Fromsett's" apartment and finds "Philip Marlowe". Who agrees to give "Kingsby" money to pay his wife, because the other is being followed by the police. Putting his trust in "Adrienne", "Marlowe" asks her to have the police follow him from a trail, believe it or not, of rice he will leave on the snow.
The woman "Philip Marlowe" meets isn't "Chrystal Kingsby", but "Mildred Haveland" aka: "Mrs. Fallbrook" aka: "Muriel".
"DeGarmot" arrives, having overheard "Fromsett" talking to "Captain Kane", and now prepares to kill both "Marlowe" and "Havelend". He plans to use "Havelend's" gun and make it look like the two shot each other. "Lieutenant DeGarmot" shoots "Havelend" multiple times.
Before "DeGarmot" can shoot "Marlowe", "Kane" arrives and kills his crooked cop. The story ends with "Philip Marlowe" and "Adrienne Fromsett" leaving together for New York City.
Between 1949 and Raymond Chandler's death on March 26, 1959, with the exception of the author being one of four writers for Alfred Hitchcock's classic 1951 "Strangers on the Train", there were ten television adaptations of his stories including the aforementioned "The Big Sleep". I will mention two more of these programs as they fit into this article.
On October 6, 1959, was the first episode of a 26 episode "Philip Marlowe", one season, television series starring actor Philip Carey. Raymond Chandler was listed as "The Creator" of the character on the opening credits. The stories were not based upon originally written Chandler stories.
There were also two other Raymond Chandler novels turned into feature films after the authors death. Both of these novels were also turned into early live television programs that I will reference.
"THE LITTLE SISTER" was published in 1949 and turned into one picture and one television show
Some of the scenes in the novel was also based upon Raymond Chandler's short story "Bay City Blues", published June 1938, in "Dime Detective".
The novel opens in Raymond Chandler's words:
The pebbled glass door panel is lettered in flaked black paint: "Philip Marlowe . . . Investigations." It is a reasonably shabby door at the end of a reasonably shabby corridor in the sort of building that was new about the year the all-tile bathroom became the basis of civilization. The door is locked, but next to it is another door with the same legend which is not locked. Come on in-there's nobody in here but me and a big bluebottle fly. But not if you're from Manhattan, Kansas.
It was one of those clear, bright summer mornings we get in the early spring in California before the high fog sets in. The rains are over. The hills are still green and in the valley across the Hollywood hills you can see snow on the high mountains. The fur stores are advertising their annual sales. The call houses that specialize in sixteen-year-old virgins are doing a land-office business. And in Beverly Hills the jacaranda trees are beginning to bloom.
I had been stalking the bluebottle fly for five minutes, waiting for him to sit down. He didn't want to sit down. He just wanted to do wing-overs and sing the prologue to Pagliacci. I had the fly swatter poised in midair and I was all set. There was a patch of bright sunlight on the corner of the desk and I knew that sooner or later that was where he was going to light. But when he did, I didn't even see him at first. The buzzing stopped and there he was. And then the phone rang.
I reached for it inch by inch with a slow and patient left hand. I lifted the phone slowly and spoke into it softly: "Hold the line a moment, please."
I laid the phone down gently on the brown blotter. He was still there, shining and blue-green and full of sin. I took a deep breath and swung. What was left of him sailed halfway across the room and dropped to the carpet. I went over and picked him up by his good wing and dropped him into the wastebasket.
"Thanks for waiting," I said into the phone.
"Is this Mr. Marlowe, the detective?" It was a small, rather hurried, little-girlish voice. I said it was Mr. Marlowe, the detective. "How much do you charge for your services, Mr. Marlowe?"
The screenplay was by Stirling Silliphant. His first on-screen work was the 1955 drama "5 Against the House" starring Guy Madison, Kim Novak and Brian Keith. That same year Silliphant was writing for Walt Disney's "Mickey Mouse Club". In 1960, Stirling Silliphant motion wrote the excellent British Science Fiction motion picture, "Village of the Damned", starring George Sanders and Barbara Shelley. For those readers familiar with the actress. My article "BARBARA SHELLEY: Hammer Pictures Horror Queen" is found at:
The Cast Is Interesting:
James Gardner portrayed "Philip Marlowe". Gardner had to plead for the role as he wasn't considered "Hard Enough" to play Raymond Chandler's detective. The star of television's "Maverick", from 1957 through 1962, had appeared in three major World War 2 movies after the series ended. They were 1963's "The Great Escape", the 1964 Blake Edwards dramatic film with comedy overtones, "The Americanization of Emily", and the excellent thriller "36 Hours". Gardner's comic timing was shown opposite Doris Day in both 1963's "The Thrill of It All" and the same years "Move Over Darling". On the other hand he was "Wyatt Earp" in director John Sturges 1967 sequel to his 1957 "Gunfight at the O.K. Corral", "Hour of the Gun".
The power of James Gardner's personality propelled him into stardom in "Maverick". My article "Bret and Bart 'MAVERICK' and Family" can be read at:
Gayle Hunnicutt portrayed "MavisWald". Hunnicutt was in Roger Corman's biker flick, 1966's "The Wild Angels" starring Peter Fonda and Nancy Sinatra. Then the actress appeared on television shows before this picture.
Kenneth Tobey portrayed "Police Sergeant Fred Beifus". Science Fiction fans know the character actor from 1951's "The Thing from Another World", 1953's "The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms" and 1955's "It, Came from Beneath the Sea". Walt Disney fans know Tobey as "Jim Bowie" in "Davy Crockett at the Alamo" and "Jocko" in "Davy Crockett and the River Pirates".
Rita Moreno portrayed "Dolores Gonzalez". The "Best Supporting Actress" for 1961's "West Side Story", was also seen back in 1956 in Rodgers and Hammerstein's "The King and I" starring Yul Bryner and Deborah Kerr, Moreno would become a regular on several television series.
Jackie Coogan portrays "Grant W. Hicks". In 1921 Coogan was "The Kid" opposite Charlie Chaplin, and in 1930 he was Mark Twain's "Tom Sawyer". Between 1952 and 1953, Coogan was one of television's "Cowboy G-Men", in 1958 he was one of the adults in the forgotten "Space Children", and from 1964 through 1966, "Uncle Fester", on televisions "The Addams Family".
The story started out strong, as a Kansas woman, "Orfamay Quest", played by Sharon Farrell, hires "Philip Marlowe" to find her missing brother, "Orrin Quest", played by Roger Newman. Next, "Marlowe's" investigation involves, "Mavis Wald", not a rising movie actress, as in Chandler's novel, but an updated rising television actress. At her apartment he meets not another minor star, as in Chandler's novel, but a stripper named "Dolores Gonzales". All leading to a series of ice-pick murders, but that's the solid first third of the movie and then it just falls apart.
As I did previously, I will let the critics speak.
"Variety", on October 8, 1969, wrote:
Raymond chandler's private eye character, Philip Marlowe, is in need of better handling either producers Gabriel Katzka and Sidney Beckerman, scripter Stirling Silliphant or James Garner in title role, have provided, if he is to survive as a screen hero. 'Marlowe,' which MGM is releasing, is a plodding, unsure piece of so-called sleuthing in which Garner can never make up his mind whether to play it for comedy or hardboil. Silliphant's adaptation of author's 'The Little Sister' come[s] out on the confused side, with too much unexplained action."The Washington Post" film critic Gary Arnold wrote, on November 8, 1969, that "Marlowe" was:
a tolerable detective thriller provided you haven't read any of Raymond Chandler's novels or seen Howard Hawks' film version of 'The Big Sleep' If you have, it will be natural to write off this film as a half-hearted, anachronistic attempt to revive the genre.
"THE LONG GOODBYE" was published in 1953 and was turned into a motion picture and two television productions
The above is the First Edition of the novel published in the United Kingdom and not the United States. Note the spelling of the title. The novel had its source in the short story "The Curtain", published in "Black Mask", in September 1936.
The novel opens in Raymond Chandler's words:
The first time I laid eyes on Terry Lennox he was drunk in a Rolls-Royce Silver Wraith outside the terrace of The Dancers. The parking lot attendant had brought the car out and he was still holding the door open because Terry Lennox's left foot was still dangling outside, as if he had forgotten he had one. He had a young-looking face but his hair was bone white. You could tell by his eyes that he was plastered to the hairline, but otherwise he looked like any other nice young guy in a dinner jacket who had been spending too much money in a joint that exists for that purpose and for no other.
There was a girl beside him. Her hair was a lovely shade of dark red and she had a distant smile on her lips and over her shoulders she had a blue mink that almost made the Rolls-Royce look like just another automobile. It didn't quite. Nothing can.
The attendant was the usual half-tough character in a white coat with the name of the restaurant stitched across the front of it in red. He was getting fed up.
On October 1, 1954, the Live broadcast anthology television series "Climax", showed a one-hour production of "The Long Goodbye". Actor Dick Powell, once again, was "Philip Marlowe".
On March 7, 1973 the motion picture version of 'THE LONG GOODBYE" was released.
The motion picture was directed by Robert Altman. At this point Althman had given the movie viewer 1968's "Countdown", 1970's "M.A.S.H." and 1971's "McCabe and Mrs. Miller",
The producers, Elliot Kastner and Jerry Bick, hired Leigh Brackett to write the screenplay. Mainly, because she had written the Howard Hawks' classic 1946 "The Big Sleep" and Kastner was her agent at the time. What is interesting is what Brackett told interviewer Steve Swires about the casting of Elliott Gould for the "University of California Press":
Apparently, to get the funding from "United Artists" to make up the complete budget, the producers needed to cast Elliott Gould as "Philip Marlowe". So they---:
set the deal with United Artists, and they had a commitment for a film with Elliott Gould, so either you take Elliott Gould or you don't make the film. Elliott Gould was not exactly my idea of Philip Marlowe, but anyway there we were. Also, as far as the story was concerned, time had gone by—it was twenty-odd years since the novel was written, and the private eye had become a cliché. It had become funny. You had to watch out what you were doing. If you had Humphrey Bogart at the same age that he was when he did The Big Sleep, he wouldn't do it the same way. Also, we were faced with a technical problem of this enormous book, which was the longest one Chandler ever wrote. It's tremendously involuted and convoluted. If you did it the way he wrote it, you would have a five-hour film.
Robert Altman's film's running time was reduced to one hour and fifty-two minutes. Which still made it the longest running Raymond Chandler film to date. As to Altman, he wasn't the first offered the role as director. That went to Brian G. Hutton, 1968's "Where Eagle's Dare" and 1970's "Kelly's Heroes", but he wanted the screenplay rewritten so that the "Heavy" had planned everything from the start. Hutton was not hired and then the screenplay was offered to Howard Hawks, who turned it down, and Peter Bogdanovich. Who also turned the film down, but recommended Robert Altman.
Altman was working in Ireland on his 1972 Horror movie "Images" and Leigh Brackett met him there. She assisted with the screenplay without any credit. In the above interview she stated:
We conferred about ten o'clock in the morning and yakked all day, and I went back to the hotel and typed all the notes and went back the next day. In a week we had it all worked out. He was a joy to work with. He had a very keen story mind.
So now the casting of "The Long Goodbye" began:
Elliott Gould portrayed "Philip Marlowe". He had been seen in Swedish director Ingmar Bergman's 1971 "The Touch" with Gould as a Nazi Concentration Camp survivor falling in love with a married Swedish woman. The role had been turned down by both Paul Newman and Robert Redford, before the producers went to Elliot Gould.
Mark Rydell portrayed "Marty Augustine". Rydell was basically a television actors appearing on several shows between 1963 and 1967. Then appeared between television and motion pictures for a total on only 26 roles by 2007.
Henry Gibson portrayed "Dr. Verringer". Gibson was a comedian who also did dramatic roles. He was a regular on television's "Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In" from 1967 through 1971. In 1975 he was part of the ensemble cast of Robert Altman's "Nashville".
Jim Bouton portrayed "Terry Lenox". This was Bouton first of only four roles between 1973 and 2010.
One of the uncredited actors portraying "One of Augustine's Hoods" was Arnold Schwarzenegger in his second motion picture.
The Basic Novel Set Up:
The story was updated by Leigh Brackett from early 1950's Los Angeles to the 1970's. She removed some scenes from the novel and added others to fit the more modern setting. Chandler writes of "Philip Marlowe" getting involved with his best friend "Terry Lennox". Who needs a ride to Tijuana, Mexico, and taking him there, but returning to Los Angeles. Discovers that "Lennox's" wife was murdered prior to "Terry" leaving with him. Now, it's "Marlowe" that the police arrest on suspicion of aiding the murderer. He refuses to co-operate with their investigation and is eventually released.
Leigh Brackett's "Philip Marlowe" enters the typical Raymond Chandler world to find out who the murderer is and to clear his friend. The story now revolves around "Marlowe" investigating the missing "Roger Wade", a writer with a drinking problem, and his wife "Ellen". As with all of Chandler's writing the two investigations fuse together leading to the real murderer.
Altman began with a screenplay by Leigh Brackett, the legendary writer of “The Big Sleep” (1946), the greatest of the many films inspired by Marlowe. On that one her co-writer was William Faulkner. There is a famous story that they asked Chandler who killed one of the characters (or was it suicide?). Chandler’s reply: “I don’t know.” There is a nod to that in “The Long Goodbye” when a character who was murdered in the book commits suicide in the movie.
Later Ebert States:
Elliott Gould says on the DVD that Altman made many changes to Brackett’s screenplay, but that when she saw the movie not long before she died, she said she was “more than satisfied.” One change is to make Philip Marlowe, that laconic loner with a code of honor, into what Altman and Gould privately called “Rip Van Marlowe.” When he awakens at the beginning of the movie, he’s a 1953 character in a 1973 world. He wears a dark suit, white shirt and narrow tie in a world of flower power and nude yoga. He chain-smokes; no one else smokes.
I went through the film a shot at a time two weeks ago at the Conference on World Affairs at the University of Colorado, sitting in the dark with several hundred others as we asked ourselves, What do we know, how do we know it, and is it true? Many of our questions center on the rich, sex-drenched Eileen (Nina van Pallandt). Does she desire the death of her husband, Roger Wade, an alcoholic writer played by the gruff old bear Sterling Hayden? Or does she only want free of him? What about that seductive dinner she serves Marlowe (Elliott Gould) on the night Wade walks into the ocean? Does she intend to sleep with Marlowe? She does in the novel, and he is later part of her alibi when she kills Wade and makes it look like suicide. But here she doesn’t kill Wade. What is the link connecting Terry Lennox (the baseball star Jim Bouton), Eileen and the gangster Marty Augustine (Mark Rydell)? Does Augustine owe Wade money, as he claims to Marlowe, or does Wade owe Augustine money, as Wade implies in a Freudian slip? What is the exact connection between any money owed to anyone and the money in the suitcase? Only a final, blunt speech by Lennox, Marlowe’s unworthy friend, answers some of our questions.
The last released version, as of this writing, of Raymond Chandler's "The Long Goodbye", moves the story into a five-part television mini-series set in 1950's Tokyo. The mini-series was seen in Japan from April 19, 2014 through May 17, 2014.
For this interesting unauthorized version of Raymond Chandler. I turn to another blog I discovered, entitled: "Purisuka's Random Reviews", from Indonesia:
Set in Japan with a post-World War II time setting, The Long Goodbye tells the story of a private detective named Masuzawa Banji (Asano Tadanobu) who one day helps a drunk man named Harada Tamotsu ( Ayano Go ). This incident made the two of them form a kind of friendship, until one day Tamotsu came to Banji and informed him that he found his wife, an actress named Harada Shizuka ( Ohta Rina ), dead at the guest house.their home. As the first to find the victim, it is not impossible that Tamotsu will be appointed as the prime suspect. Therefore, he asked Banji to help him escape to Taiwan. After Tamotsu went to Taiwan, Banji was arrested by the police because he was accused of hiding Tamotsu. However, he was later released after a few days, precisely after the news that Tamotsu had committed suicide in Taiwan by leaving a note confessing that he had killed Harada Shizuka. Banji, however, did not believe this confession. His suspicions were caused by Harada Heizo ( Emoto Akira), Shizuka's father, who is a politician who is about to contest the election. Banji suspects Harada Heizo was behind Tamotsu's death and false confession for his political gain. Banji then investigates the murder case to prove Tamotsu's innocence. In his efforts to investigate the case, he meets new people, among them are Kamiido Aiko ( Koyuki ), a beautiful woman who asks Banji to help her husband, Kamiido Joji ( Furuta Arata ), a novelist who is also a drunk; Koumura Yoshino ( Tominaga Ai ), Shizuka's older brother who believes that Tamotsu killed her sister; Morita ( Takito Kenichi), a newspaper journalist who also suspects something strange about the death of Tamotsu (as well as the narrator of the drama); Masatora ( Yabe Kyousuke ), a yakuza who claims to be friends with Tamotsu when he was a soldier in WWII and threatens Banji to stop investigating the case; and of course, Harada Heizo himself, a politician whose name is flying and who reportedly doesn't have a good relationship with his own son, Shizuka. What will happen next? Will Banji be able to find the real culprit and prove Tamotsu's innocence? And why did Banji trust the Tamotsu whom he had recently met?