Booze News: Clive Owen is Philip Marlowe!

>> Tuesday, January 23, 2007

“She was a charming middle-aged lady with a face like a bucket of mud. I gave her a drink. She was a gal who'd take a drink, if she had to knock you down to get to the bottle.”

--Dick Powell as Philip Marlowe in Murder, My Sweet (1944)

This item from today’s Variety is the best movie news I’ve heard in some time:
"Owen tracks down noir with Marlowe
Universal, Strike uncover Chandler series
By Michael Fleming

Universal Pictures and Strike Entertainment have found a new vehicle for Clive Owen: Raymond Chandler's hardboiled private eye Philip Marlowe.

Strike has made a deal with Phil Clymer at U.K.-based Chorion to get rights to a Chandler mystery series that includes "The Big Sleep" and "Farewell My Lovely." Strike's Marc Abraham and Eric Newman will produce the film, with Owen exec producing. The project is in a nascent stage -- they are courting writers and filmmakers -- and they haven't decided which title to adapt.

But they sparked to having Owen narrate the dramas in Chandler's testosterone-laced prose, something Owen did well in "Sin City." The plan is to keep the noir spirit of the Chandler books, and keep the mysteries set in the 1940s in Los Angeles, with Marlowe continuing to be the hard-drinking, wisecracking gumshoe."

Marlowe is my favorite of the hardboiled, hard-drinking pulp detectives of the 1940’s. I’ve read all seven of Chandler’s novels, and I hope Owen and company go back to The Big Sleep and keep churning out sequels until they’ve covered the booze-soaked lot of them. Owen will be joining an impressive group of actors that have portrayed the swilling shamus, including Dick Powell, Humphrey Bogart, Robert Montgomery, James Garner, Robert Mitchum, Elliot Gould, Powers Booth, and James Caan. In my opinion, Powell was the best (Sorry, Bogart), and I could see Owen being just as good.

Raymond Chandler: Stories and Early Novels: Pulp Stories / The Big Sleep / Farewell, My Lovely / The High Window (Library of America)

Raymond Chandler: Later Novels and Other Writings: The Lady in the Lake / The Little Sister / The Long Goodbye / Playback /Double Indemnity / Selected Essays and Letters (Library of America)


Anonymous January 24, 2007 at 10:40 AM  

Wow, Clive Owen as Marlowe? I could see him as Bond, but Marlowe? I'm not sure I see it, but I will reserve judgment until I see the movie.

I'm with you; Powell's my favorite Marlowe. I'm not a big fan of Bogart in general (sacrilege I know, but what can I say -- it's true). I would have liked to see a younger Robert Mitchum have a crack at it; by the time he played Marlowe he was a little long in the tooth for it.

This is as good a time as any to address a comment you left in my blog, on this very same subject -- William Holden? You think? Like "Golden Boy" era Holden? When he was real young I think he was too much of a pretty boy for Marlowe, and I didn't see him develop any real acting chops until Sunset Blvd. in 1950. Even then, he's almost too classically handsome for Marlowe, to me. Come to think of it, that may be my objection with Owen also.

garv January 24, 2007 at 5:13 PM  

Actually, I think Billy Wilder-era Holden (Sunset Blvd., Stalag 17, Sabrina) with his whipcrack line delivery would have been great for Marlowe. By the way, Holden himself felt that his looks were limiting, so he was happier than anyone when booze, hard livin', and cigarettes began to give his face some weather-beaten character.

edP January 27, 2007 at 12:47 AM  

What of Elliot Gould?

I'd say he was the only Marlowe who smoked the evil weed but then there was Robert Mitchum.

McGone January 28, 2007 at 8:41 PM  

Elliot Gould! Damn I forgot about him playing Marlowe!

Owen is a good choice IMO. If they do start at "The Big Sleep" I hope they make it a little more coherent. I like Chandler's books, but that one gave me a migraine in some parts.

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I like to drink. I like to watch movies. I like to watch movies about drinking. I like to write about the movies I’ve watched, but only if I’ve had a drink first.

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