Powers Boothe has been a favorite actor ever since I saw him in Southern Comfort with Keith Carradine. I remember when this series was announced. Boothe playing Philip Marlowe. I immediately liked the idea. He was the right age and had the look. As it wound up, though, I only managed to catch a couple of the episodes of the two groups shown during their original run.
Since I signed up with Netflix, I’ve been catching up on a lot of stuff I either missed or was before my time.
HBO did five stories in the first group and six a year or so later, all based on short stories by Raymond Chandler. As I understand it, most of Chandler’s short stories weren’t Marlowes in their original magazine publication, but became that in book form. Most were early versions of Marlowe with the names Mallory, Carmody, Dalmas, and some with no name. One of the stories here, The Pencil, is the only one written originally as a Marlowe.
I liked the eleven stories here. Boothe did a good job as Marlowe and all of the other actors were competent in their roles, whether they were femme fatales, gangsters, or crooked cops(Marlowe’s world seemed to have only a couple of honest cops). Most I wasn’t familiar with, only John Vernon as a crooked mayor.
The problem I saw with these episodes was that they were too perfect. Example, the cars used. Being a period piece, all vehicles would have had to be from private collections, restored models. I don’t remember a single car with dents or nicks, scuffed tires, ripped upholstery, bad paint jobs, nothing modified by an owner. I think I think there was one car that needed a wash job. Every one looked like it had rolled off the assembly line five minutes before the shot.
Still, I enjoyed watching them. Maybe a B for the effort.
One interesting note. In the episode, The King In Yellow, Marlowe visited an apartment during his investigation that was used in Elliot Gould’s The Long Goodbye. It was an elevator that opened onto a long walkway with stone walls about waist high. In the film, it served as Gould’s apartment, the one with the nudist neighbors next door.