This, the second adaptation of Raymond Chandler's novel, is much closer to the source text than the original - Murder, My Sweet (1944), which tended to avoid some of the sleazier parts of ... See full summary »
Quiet young Orfamay Quest from Kansas has hired private detective Philip Marlowe to find her brother. After two leads turn up with ice picks stuck in them, he discovers blackmail photos ... See full summary »
Set in England, rather than California, the story follows Raymond Chandler's book fairly closely otherwise. Philip Marlowe is asked by the elderly (and near death) General Sternwood to ... See full summary »
Based on the novel "The Long Goodbye" by Raymond Chandler, published 1953. Set in Tokyo during the 1950's. Tamotsu is suspected of murdering his actress wife Shizuka Harada. He flees to ... See full summary »
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 »
Inspired by the stories of the American writer Raymond Chandler, the classical hero is private detective Phil Marlowe, a romantic cowboy, who takes the law into his own hands in the rough ... See full summary »
A private detective is hired to retrieve a valuable antique coin that was stolen from its owner by her son, who used it to pay off a blackmailer. The private eye soon finds himself up to ... See full summary »
Absolutely the best Philip Marlowe incarnation ever
Powers Boothe is the quintessential Philip Marlowe; no one can ever best his performance in this series. He is cool, hip, a great wisecracker, and obsessed about the truth while seeming not to care. The next-best aspect of the series was the complete re-creation of the 1930's; sets were perfect, cars were big and bulky, clothes were gorgeous, and art deco abounded. Marlowe's bathroom even had those pastel nile green tiles that were everywhere in the 30's and 40's.
The 1986 series listed here was not the first, though, and not the best. HBO did 5 episodes in 1983 that have never been run since and were all mostly filmed, I believe, in England; these featured the luminous Kathryn Leigh Scott as Annie Rearden. She doesn't show up much in the second set, and that in itself makes the newer series a pale copy of the original.
These original episodes are the ones that should have been released first as they are far superior, and I look forward to them being issued. "The King in Yellow" was a masterpiece about a murdered big-band trumpeteer whom everyone hated so suspects were plentiful; "Smart Aleck Kill" mimicked Wallace Reid's drug-induced death in grand Hollywood style; "The Pencil" found Marlowe vying with a mafia boss to get a stool pigeon out of town alive; "Nevada Gas" featured a corrupt attorney who is targeted by his wife's boyfriend (played with nasty panache by "Hawk the Slayer's" John Terry); "Finger Man" has a femme fatale who takes up with a friend of Marlowe's, who then tries to frame Marlowe for a robbery.
This is a quality production, but can't truly be called a series. Only these 11 episodes were filmed, to my knowledge. I taped them all on their original run, and they weren't treated as an ongoing thing, which was a distinct oversight on HBO's part. Powers Boothe is magnetic as well as truly wonderful in this role, and they could have had a real winner on their hands if they had continued with the team used on the original 5 episodes, and without such a long break between the two sets.
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