Tuesday, September 15, 2009

On Philip Marlowe

So, I'm working on my third Raymond Chandler in so many days... I finally requested the few novels of his that I hadn't yet devoured from the EPL and am spending much time losing myself in the wealth of words that man so graciously gave to the world.

Below is a passage I read this morning on the bus to work… I was almost completely thrown over by how perfect a passage it is. Philip Marlow is waiting to meet his client in a country-club bar when a beautiful woman walks in and stuns all the attendant men into silence.
“I stared. She caught me staring. She lifted her glance half an inch and I wasn’t there any more. But wherever I was I was holding my breath.”
I love how with such a careful hand Chandler tells me how his lead character is swooning over a woman he’s not yet met, while maintaining Marlowe’s absolute and indisputable masculinity. This latter achievement is especially important, as Philip Marlow is pretty much the epitome of manliness. He is strong, physical, and assertive when he needs to be, smart, funny in a sarcastic fashion, honest, and surprisingly moral. Naturally,  he doesn’t swoon. He holds his breath, which is more than he’s done for any of the other dames he gets tangled up with. I know it won’t work out for ole Marlow because this lady is already married to the man he’s just been hired to find. But I’m curious to see if he’ll steal a kiss or two before the end of the case.

As a side note, I was just thinking about who would make a perfect Philip Marlowe on the big screen... I know Humphrey Bogart has played him, which is alright, but so has Elliott Gould, Danny Glover, and James Caan. Who made those decisions!? So, the first actor who comes to mind for ME is Clive Owen, of course. And, who is apparently already been tapped to play Philip Marlow in a screenplay by Frank Miller that is currently "in production"? Clive Owen! Yesss! I mean, YES PLEASE! Now, all that's left to do is hope that the movie actually gets made!

1 comment:

  1. Clive Owen would definitely make a great Marlowe, although my enthusiasm is tempered by the fact that Frank Miller is behind the movie. That man seems too in love with his own voice to be trusted with adapting others (particularly others who are better writers than him).

    Also, I know Elliott Gould sounds like an awful choice for Marlowe, but The Long Goodbye is actually an awesome little movie, and well worth watching if you get the chance. Admittedly, Gould is kind of an anti-Marlowe, but that's really part of the movie's oddball charm.