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Poodle Springs (1998)

An aging Phillip Marlowe gets mixed up with blackmail & murder among elite social set in 1963.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Laura
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Larry Victor
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Arnie Burns
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Muffy Blackstone
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Clayton Blackstone
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Angel
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Eddie Garcia
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Lipshultz
David Byrd ...
Seymour
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P.J. Parker
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Manager
Billy Beck ...
Old Man in Jail
...
L.A. Captain
...
Captain
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Storyline

Set in 1963, an aging Philip Marlowe (James Caan) is supposedly giving up his wild times to get married to a younger socialite (Dina Meyer). However, as might be expected crime follows Marlowe as he is soon mixed up in blackmail and murders as a sleazy photographer (David Keith) threatens to expose photos of a former stripper (La Joy Farr) who is now running with a billionaire. As things progress, he soon realizes that his new wife's father (Joe Don Baker) is also involved. Written by John Sacksteder <jsackste@bellsouth.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Sex. Murder. Marlowe. This town has everything.

Genres:

Crime | Drama

Certificate:

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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

25 July 1998 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Crime no Nevada  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

James Caan's interpretation and characterization of Raymond Chandler's Phillip Marlowe detective character was a much older and world-weary one, just as Robert Mitchum's had also been in The Big Sleep (1978) and Farewell, My Lovely (1975). These were all markedly different than the earlier cinematic incarnations of the Marlowe private eye where the character was younger and more energetic. See more »

Goofs

When James Caan is first seen lighting his cigarette, he uses a pack of safety matches, which has its striker on the back of the matches. These were not introduced until c. 1970. In 1963, he would have used matches where the striker is on the front of the matchbook. See more »

Quotes

Philip Marlowe: I'll see you tonight.
Laura Parker-Marlowe: [flippantly] Which jail?
Philip Marlowe: Look, Mrs. Marlowe, I'm just a lug. There are things I can do, like shoot, I can keep my word, I can tail a guy who's walking backwards, I can open a door into a dark room where there's trouble waiting... and so, I do them. I find work that fits what I do. I get a hundred dollars a day. I can't be bought or pushed. Not even for love.
Laura Parker-Marlowe: [pauses, then, softly] Okay.
See more »

Connections

References The Thin Man (1934) See more »

Soundtracks

The Times They Are A-Changin'
Written by Bob Dylan
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User Reviews

 
James Caan gets drawn into a byzantine case involving several murders and big money deals
29 March 2014 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

"Poodle Springs" is quite an enjoyable cinematic rendering of an older Philip Marlowe (James Caan). He's set up and thus becomes tangled in a typically complex Chandleresque case. This could possibly doom his quick Mexican marriage to a real dish, Dina Meyer, who also has dough, her father (Joe Don baker) being a big land baron in more ways than one. She wants her husband to cool the detective work and settle down in Poodle Springs to a life of comfort and ease. He has other ideas.

It's sort of Chinatown-lite on a TV-movie scale. Caan is a convincing actor with more than his share of electricity, as in "Rollerball", "The Thief", "The Killer Elite" and "Hide in Plain Sight". In this later effort, he's not going to give up his ethics for anything. Determined he is to get to the bottom of things no matter what. Caan plays Marlowe as the script necessitates, a staunch and smart man, who knows who he is and knows his limitations. He won't be pushed around. He's unimpressed by the rich and famous. It's a straight-ahead performance, showing an old hand at the work, somewhat tired and cynical, having been around the track more than a few times. This is not as easy to carry off as Caan makes it seem.

This is the kind of story where some of the mystery is resolved well before the end, but that leaves further mysteries to be revealed. I like that. There's one sequence that involves an addict-hooker played by Nia Peeples. She's terrific. She's so realistic that only afterward did I remember she's an actress. David Keith does a turn and carries it off well. Dina Meyer can act, but I think her diction could be better. I don't think the sound track can be blamed in this case for mumbled words.

There's a fair amount of atmosphere, mainly through cars and clothes. They really didn't lay the locations on heavy. They didn't lay on Chandler's lines and phrases either. No laconic narration in this one. It's a straight-ahead kind of complex story. Not really a heavy neo-noir feeling either, even though there's plenty of hanky-panky going on. It's more that there are physical threats or the feeling that danger keeps lurking everywhere that pepper the story. That makes for a pretty good amount of engagement and tension. We know that Marlowe can handle himself, but the story is quite good in giving us some fresh ways he does that.

As the story matures, there are echoes of the Sternwood's family issues and of Chinatown. The familiarity doesn't spoil the fun. We can listen to more than one chorus of the blues or of Raymond Chandler, even in this distant and attenuated form in which someone else finished Chandler's uncompleted story (from 1959) and movie makers in a different era of the late 90s decided to place the story in 1963. The early frames show us an early date in November 1963. The final frames show November 22, 1963. There is an allusion to that deadly day linking to this fictional story.


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