Philip Marlowe gets involved when limp-wristed and snidely Leslie Murdock steals a rare doubloon from his mother to give to a newsreel photographer in exchange for film that is being used ... See full summary »
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William D. Russell
Philip Marlowe gets involved when limp-wristed and snidely Leslie Murdock steals a rare doubloon from his mother to give to a newsreel photographer in exchange for film that is being used for blackmail purposes. Marlowe's involvement has him encounter a girl who goes into hysterics when touched by a man; a husband-killing woman; three corpses; a couple of scuffles in which he gets his clock cleaned; a secretary who thinks she has killed her boss, which is the reason Raymond Chandler called his story "The High Window", and a son (who qualifies as a S.O.B. by two definitions) who blackmails his widowed mother. So, what's not to like. Written by
Les Adams <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The flop house location for this film was the Gladden Apartments in the Bunker Hill section of Los Angeles. Raymond Chandler, who wrote the novel on which this is based, lived in the building 30 years before the film was shot. See more »
Philip Marlowe, Raymond Chandler's trenchant private detective saw many incarnations on the screen big and small. Chandler like S.S. Van Dine the creator of Philo Vance sold his work to several studios and the studio cast whomever. Humphrey Bogart in The Big Sleep for Warner Brothers and Dick Powell in Murder My Sweet for RKO are the best known interpreters of Marlowe. George Montgomery in The Brasher Doubloon gets a short shrift from most film fans.
I don't think this is necessarily Montgomery's fault. The Brasher Doubloon was based on the Chandler story The High Window and unlike Warner Brothers and RKO this was meant to be a B film and was treated that way. I've never read the book, but I could tell a lot was left out in the treatment.
Montgomery is hired by the imperious Florence Bates to get back a valuable coin, The Brasher Doubloon which was the prize of her late husband's valuable coin collection. Upon arrival to her home, Montgomery is told in no uncertain terms that his services will not be needed by her son Conrad Janis. Janis plays this punk as well as Elisha Cook, Jr. ever did in this type of part.
Of course as he starts investigating bodies keep being strewn in his path and the police are blaming Montgomery for some if not all. The mother and son turn out to be some pieces of work.
The Brasher Doubloon has a good deal of its problems with the character Nancy Guild plays. She's Bates's secretary/companion who has issues and she really ought to be seeing a therapist rather than Philip Marlowe. Her character holds the key to the answers, but the character itself is ill defined in the script.
Maybe had The Brasher Doubloon gotten the A treatment it would be better received. As it is it's not a bad film, but not in the same league as the others mentioned.
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