Poodle Springs (TV Movie 1998) Poster

(1998 TV Movie)

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10/10
First-rate continuation of the Phillip Marlowe character
magbo2 August 1999
The late Raymond Chandler's unfinished manuscript POODLE SPRINGS, masterfully completed as a novel by SPENCER creator Robert B. Parker, has been given a first-class screen treatment by Director Bob Rafelson, Screenwriter Tom Stoppard and Production Designer Mark Friedberg. Every familiar signature trait of the Chandler-Marlowe Los Angeles is meticulously recreated and served up with nearly reverential devotion. James Caan is a letter-perfect Marlowe. The part fits him like his gray fedora, no small feat considering he follows in the shoes of such legends as Humphrey Bogart and Robert Mitchum. From matchbooks to automobiles to motels the period atmosphere is extraordinary. When a character drinks a Tab cola, the bottle is a 1963 Tab bottle. When Marlowe pays a call on the rich and powerful, the decor is '63 chic. There is no mistaking it.

Phillip Marlowe is the paradigm 1940s private investigator, but setting this story in 1963, four years after Chandler's death in 1959, is not only correct, it is part of the material's distinguished treatment. Had Chandler lived a few more years, this might well be the Marlowe he wrote for us. Parker, Rafelson and Stoppard have honored the Chandler-Marlowe heritage as the golden fleece of the American film noir and hard-boiled genres. Which, of course, it is.

One question: Why did I just happen to catch this on cable TV a year after it was released? I'd never heard anything about it. Such excellent work deserves publicity. Lots of it.
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7/10
Pretty good resurrection of Marlowe, but not as good as the source novel
FISHCAKE3 July 2000
The screen play Stoppard wrote from the credited Chandler/Parker novel is not bad, if far fetched, but not as good as the source. As a tough guy P.I. flic, this borders on fantasy, what with the additions and changes Stoppard made. Why the name changes, by the way? Linda Potter becomes Laura Parker, and Angel's character is reversed. Palm Springs, aka Poodle Springs winds up on the Nevada border. About the only thing not changed is the killer, and you'll have to see the film to find that out. Well, Caan makes a good Marlowe, looking satisfactorily battle worn, and the rest of the cast won't disappoint you. Direction is fair, but the editing is as lousy as usual for these days. Overall, this is an enjoyable private eye tale, if you can forget the novel, but that hare-brained conspiracy to move...; but hey, I'm about to give away too much!
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4/10
CAAN IS NOT PHILLIP MARLOWE
flimbuff15 March 2002
He is a good actor though and definitely tries. Marlowe fans such as myself have to remember that Chandler never finished this novel because of failing health and Robert Parker, of SPENSER fame, tries to. Sadly he doesn't have Chandler's descriptive ability nor does he really grasp the character. Tom Stoppard, a very good playwright, should stick to that medium. Worth collecting for the history of Chandler/Marlowe.
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5/10
What A Dog
writers_reign26 June 2011
Warning: Spoilers
I'm surprised that Tom Stoppard actually took a writer credit on this one; it's not something I'd want on my CV if I had a CV as distinguished as Stoppard's. The fact is, though, that Stoppard distinguished himself as a playwright with an intellectual bent verging on the arcane not a practitioner of hard-boiled detective stories. On the other hand Howard Hawks signed William Faulkner to co-write the screenplay of The Big Sleep so maybe the producers see it as something of a tradition. Whatever, this movie fails to work really well on any level. Chandler died with the novel half-finished; Robert B. Parker, a fine writer in a similar field to Chandler, was tapped to finish it and the result was Chandler-lite, just about the best we could have hoped for. For reasons best known to themselves the producers retain little but the title seeing fit to change the character's names for no apparent reason. James Caan is a competent actor but he doesn't really convince as private heat. If you really feel you should see everything that Chandler wrote about Marlowe give it a whirl, but don't say I didn't warn you.
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8/10
Really good up to a point, Caan is surprisingly excellent tho.
Matthew Stechel13 May 2017
This is a very engaging detective movie, very well filmed, almost beautiful looking at times. The story did a good job grabbing my interest right away, and before too long I was happily engaged in the story being told, and wanting to see where it was going to go. There are a couple of good twists in the story, and you really have to be on your toes to remember which character is which person. The only real disappointment is the way the case wraps up. The wrap up of the case is not very well thought out, but you know that's kind of a minor complaint given that it happens an hour and twenty something minutes into the film, and honestly its not like the ending of the story takes away from the enjoyment I had following James Caan around as he investigates various leads.

Its a somewhat old fashioned, downbeat, detective film too. This could've very easily been made in the 70's alongside Chinatown and The Long Goodbye and I think it can stand proudly alongside them (even if its not as amazing as those two films) in terms of looks, style, and tone Also in its lead actor. James Caan is not someone whom I don't think was ever actually cast as a detective/noir character before, and its a wonder why because he actually fits the role beautifully. Its surprisingly good work from him because i would've never thought of him as being someone who could make a good old school shamus, and yet he's very effective. He's also excellently downbeat in the part too.

Its well worth watching should you catch it somewhere. Oh yes and Dina Myer is excellent as Caan's/Marlowe's new bride who's a society dame trying to see where she fits into his world.
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