Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Do we need a new Marlowe?

I have to believe that if Raymond Chandler were alive, he'd have Philip Marlowe put a stop to this, and of course it wouldn't end well.

It seems ABC is teaming with producer Sean Bailey for a "fresh take" on Raymond Chandler's hard-boiled detective. The hourlong drama "Marlowe" would be a present-day procedural crime drama with noir aspects and set in Los Angeles.

Huh? So, if I get this right, this Marlowe would share with Chandler's creation, well, a name and not much more. At all. This is just plain abysmal.

As if to reassure us of his good intentions, Mr. Bailey goes on in Variety to try and prove his noir cred.

"He's (Marlowe's) a guy who can travel in the highest echelons of power and the darkest and dirtiest corners of the city," he added, noting the new Marlowe will still "get his ass kicked every once in a while." He added, "You can expect to see your femme fatales and very wealthy individuals."

Well, OK then. At least you've got all the ingredients down pat, but I'm not sure I trust the cook with this one. One silver lining: "As of now, there are no plans to use any of Chandler's Marlowe books ("The Big Sleep," et al.) as source material for storylines."

So, again, we have the makings of a standard cop show with a legendary name attached to it. I sure hope the heirs or whoever holds the rights to the Marlowe character are at least getting a boatload of cash in this swindle.

Marlowe has been played in the movies by a long line of tough and not-so-tough guys, including Humphrey Bogart, Robert Mitchum, Elliot Gould and James Garner, among others. On TV, Powers Boothe played the gumshoe in the early 1980s HBO period drama "Philip Marlowe, Private Eye," which ran for several years.

Now, given that my first option would be for this to not happen at all, who could you see playing Marlowe on TV again? I might be able to get lukewarmly behind an oddball choice like Jon Lurie, but this being TV, it's probably more likely to be Tony Danza. Quite possibly paired with a chimp.

"United 93" gets sliver of support

Swimming against the tide of Eastwoodmania, the film critics of New York and Washington have named "United 93" as best picture of 2006.

While I'm not sure I can agree with this, It's certainly nice to see something besides "Letters from Iwo Jima" getting early recognition.

As much as this is possible, I did "like" Mr Greengrass' movie. The minute-by-minute re-creation of that horrid day is a technical marvel, and the chaotic scenes in the control towers are fantastic. Adding to the implied wisdom that I am a "wimp," however, I found that I had to turn away from the screen at several points in the final act, knowing all too well how it would end.

And just for the record, the only three flicks to hold solid spots on my short list of the best movies of 2006 are "Babel," "The Departed" and "Little Miss Sunshine," but I'm sure many more titles will come back into consideration when I have the time to do a full review, most likely at some point in January.

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

There only needs to be one Marlowe on TV and that's Veronica Marlowe . . . er, Mars.

Daphnewood said...

I cannot keep up with you! Movies and TV! I couldn't help but laugh at loud with your "Tony Danza paired with a chimp" prediction. You really wonder who comes up with this stuff sometimes. Someone has to pitch the idea and depending on how hung over the big man is that morning gets a red light or green light for production.

I haven't watch United 93. I want to watch it but chicken out everytime.

Reel Fanatic said...

United 93 is definitely not for everyone, Daphne .. I thought I was ready for it, but when it came down to it, I overestimated just how much I could take

Anonymous said...

I just have a really, really bad feeling about this new Marlowe. I think some sort of ban needs to be placed on any new projects bearing the legendary detective's name for at least a good 50 years. Indeed, I think right now the most original take on Marlowe would be, well, going back to Chandler's original...

Anonymous said...

Hey, don't knock Tony Danza and a chimp. Are you forgetting his 1981 masterpiece GOING APE? With Danny Devito?

And UNITED 93 is still my favorite film of the year, so I'm glad it is getting recognized.

Reel Fanatic said...

A lot of people feel that way, Moviezzz, and I do think the recognition is deserved .. I'll be interested to see if it carries over to a Best Picture Oscar nomination, and I'm beginning to suspect it just might

Eaglewing said...

The way they seem to rip off and then pooch everything from the past lately, the Marlowe thing has me concerned. I wouldn't mind seeing something noir on TV if they did it right, but I doubt that will happen. If this gets made, it'll be cancelled quickly enough.

Oh, and if it's Tony Danza with a chimp, does that mean Alyssa Milano shows up as a femme fatale?

Marina said...

I was a little surprised to hear about United 93 but from all accounts, this is a brilliant film. Now if I could only remember to rent it the next time I'm at the store...

Lori said...

Ewwww...now Marlowe, too? I'm with you, Keith...it can't be good. I'm envisioning the same kind of sh*tty results that came from 'Night Stalker' getting tossed in the remake blender. Oh my god, that was bad.

Reel Fanatic said...

Real noir certainly would be welcome on TV, eaglewing, but I just can't imagine this would be it ... it just has disaster written all over it ...

Sidhusaaheb said...

Now why did I feel a sense of deja vu, when I read this blog post...

:D

Lynne said...

I saw United 93 but forgot about it so I guess I did not like as much as Little Miss Sunshine or Thank You For Not Smoking. It is up there though on my short list of movies that I saw this year.

Anonymous said...

LOL at Tony Danza paired with a chimp. Hilarious.