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The Little Sister
bkoganbing4 December 2006
Now it's James Garner's turn to take on the role of Raymond Chandler's legendary private detective Philip Marlowe in an updated screen adaption of Chandler's novel, The Little Sister.

The original novel had the title character be the little sister of a film star who has come in from Manhattan, Kansas to look for their brother who's gone missing. To reflect the update the film star is now the star of a family situation comedy with an image that won't stand up to scandal, especially if it's learned that she's been intimately involved with a notorious mobster.

I have to say that this film was updated far better than Robert Mitchum's version of The Big Sleep, although it's not nearly as good as The original Big Sleep and Murder, My Sweet. Garner is appropriately cynical and appropriately noble in the right moments.

Carroll O'Connor and Kenneth Tobey are a pair of homicide cops who are naturally frustrated with Garner who seems to be blocking them from clearing up several murders after he's hired to find the missing brother. Actually as per usual he's just trying to keep them from reaching wrong conclusions.

Gayle Hunnicutt is the TV star and the little sister is Sharon Farrell and if the film were remade today you would be casting Jessica Simpson in Farrell's role. Rita Moreno is one fetching stripper who goes way back with Hunnicutt. She and Garner work well together and Garner had her on his Rockford Files TV series a few times as Rita Capkovic, a woman of middling virtue.

One thing I do have to criticize. Bruce Lee has a small role as the kung-fu bodyguard of gangster H.M. Wynant. Personally I cannot believe that Garner could have taken out Lee that easily, tricking him the way he did.

Though Marlowe is not a bad film, I don't think most viewers will like how Bruce Lee ended up.
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Fun movie
mdewey25 February 2002
Vintage Garner, solid sleuth story with sophisticated plot twists! Somewhat in the same cut as Paul Newman's "Harper", but bearing Garner's unique brand of sardonic humor: Sort of a modern Bret Maverick and a soon-to-be Jimmy Rockford!

Good late 60's detective romp through West Coast life, interweaving the societal trends of that time period (Hippie, straight, boozer, "sleazer", etc.) Bruce Lee is a welcome interlude, especially in his scene at Marlowe's office.

However, Rita Moreno is the real treat in this one: probably her best dramatic performance! One wishes she had been cast in more roles like this one to let the public see her for the multi-dimensional actress that she was.

One last "shout out" to Peter Matz for his super soundtrack which added the appropriate audio flavorings to the respective scene changes, while keeping the atmospheric late 60's mood in full swing.
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"Underneath the pasties is a size 40 heart."
utgard1431 July 2014
A young girl from Kansas hires Los Angeles private detective Philip Marlowe to find her missing brother. Marlowe's investigation leads to two dead bodies and a blackmail plot concerning an actress. Decent adaptation of the Raymond Chandler novel "The Little Sister," updated to the '60s. Garner's not an ideal Philip Marlowe but he's charismatic and enjoyable to watch. He has good chemistry with Rita Moreno, who steals every scene she's in. Bruce Lee has a small but memorable part. Carroll O'Connor and Kenneth Tobey are good as a couple of cops easily frustrated with Garner. A little too mellow and lacking grit for a hardboiled detective story, though it's still entertaining. More Rockford than Marlowe. A minor quibble: there's a scene late in the film that takes place in a wooded area but is very obviously filmed on a sound stage. I probably wouldn't have thought twice about it if the movie had been made even ten years earlier but for a 1969 film it was very noticeable and fake.
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Watch This for Rita Moreno Alone!
Hoohawnaynay5 September 2003
Rita Moreno steals this movie! Plus, she had great chemistry with James Garner which is why they used her on Rockford files. Somewhat complicated plot about P.I. Garner finding a missing brother of an actress who also happens to be dating a gangster. Cameos by Bruce Lee, Jackie Coogan, Carroll O'Connor etc. Great 1960's Los Angeles/Hollywood locales (the strip joint used in the film went on to become the famous Roxbury on Sunset Blvd). I love everything about this movie, the clothes, the cars, the great 60's style overall. Rita Moreno in a platinum blond wig doing a strip tease at the end is worth the price of admission! She even shows a little nudity (if viewed un-edited) which is rare for a star of her magnitude to do in the late 60's. Sharon Farrell is another actress with lots of charisma who is used to little here. Gayle Hunnicutt (who I love) is miscast here as Sharon Farrell's sister, although she adds a lot of glamour. The script is a little hard to follow but it is quite an enjoyable movie as the action never slows down for too long.
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Not a big sleep, but definitely a sleeper
Chase_Witherspoon27 October 2012
Much is said concerning the merits of re-imagining the Philip Marlowe character in the swinging sixties, bringing to it a pop culture emphasis that seems eons away from Humphrey Bogart's turn, but there's three good reasons to consider this Marlowe adaptation.

First-rate cast stars the always affable James Garner in the title character. He's a modest Marlowe, not arrogant, assuming nor especially gifted at his trade, he toils and the rewards follow (albeit with some distress involved). Lovely Gayle Hunnicutt plays the femme fatale along with little sister Sharon Farrell, while Rita Moreno trumps them both with a critical role as a stripper of more than passing resemblance to Hunnicutt.

Then there's the surprise packet, namely, Bruce Lee with just a couple of scenes, one of which involving him demolishing Garner's office like it was made of balsa wood. A perfectly timed scissor kick shatters the overhead light shade (a good foot above his own head), before he dons his sunglasses, turns on his heel and casually walks out the door he's just kicked in half. It's a stern warning to Garner to lay off, but equally hilarious in its approach of which both Lee and Garner seem aware. If you take nothing from the film, you'll always remember that scene.

And finally, if you're familiar with them, the theme tune "Little Sister" is a catchy jazz-pop song by Orpheus, the band who had four albums of jazz-psychedelic pop in the mould of what would later become the signature of Lighthouse, Chicago and others of the ilk. Great adaptation, a real time capsule of the era and well worth a look.
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Nostalgia Value only!
A_Different_Drummer3 February 2014
Warning: Spoilers
Sometimes it seems the 60s was the Lost Decade for movies. The best product from Hollywood was probably produced in the 30s and 40s. By the 50s, post war, the only market Hollywood cared about was the teenage market, and the product (ugh) reflected that priority. By the 70s we began to see the return of some form of minimum standardization, not great, but there was greatness here and there. Which leaves the 60s. Many 60 theatrical movies are indistinguishable from what what passed for "TV movies" in the 70s, utilized essentially the same actors, and the production standards could be easily surpassed any Lifetime movie of the current generation. Garner was essentially a TV guy, not a bad one, but, c'mon folks, give me a break here, the idea of him taking on the role that made Bogey (and other big names) famous is simply insanity. Insanity of the kind the the 60s was known for. Caroll OConnor steals every scene he is in. The plastic sets, the overloud music, the car scenes with blatant rear projection, the narrow ties and sport jackets .... the movie tries here and there, but never forms a cohesive whole. A lost movie for a lost decade.
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Smooth take on classic Chandler.
vladmirthewoodsman25 October 2005
Interesting variation on 'The Little Sister' by Raymond Chandler with '40's film noir replaced by a colorful and stylish '60's motif. The film does a good job of keeping certain Chandler elements in the forefront...the violent thugs, the irritable cops, and the classy woman in distress are all here, as is Marlowe, portrayed as a prototype Jim Rockford. Garner does a good job in the lead; his performance is really truer to the Marlowe character than Bogart managed in 'The Big Sleep' (but then that wasn't the point of 'The Big Sleep', now was it?). Supporting characters are, in some places, excellent, while lacking a bit in others. Carrol O'Connor, Rita Moreno, Bruce Lee (whose role was far too brief), and Sharon Farrell are either convincing or fun, but the female lead and the villainous but sympathetic killer are rather flat.

All in all, a movie I wouldn't mind owning.
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Interesting oddity
thehumanduvet8 May 2000
Following a typical Chandlerian plot involving lots of intrigue, sex, lies, booze, and violence, Garner makes a mildly charming, laid-back Marlowe, trading a fair share of witty one-liners with the policemen, toughs and many eager young women he encounters, as he tries to unravel a convoluted missing persons/blackmail/murder case. Gets an interesting edge from the sixties characters and attitudes (Marlowe's hairdresser neighbour providing light relief, the stoner hotel at the start) but staying very much in the world of sleazy hoods and wealthy stars associated with earlier Bogey takes on Chandler. Bruce Lee's performance as a toughie sent to threaten Marlowe with some spectacular chop-socky is a high-point but sadly brief, and Garner is no Bogey, and the director is no Howard Hawks. Good-ish stuff, but confused by too many personality-free characters (rather than by a complex web as in The Big Sleep), and lacking Bogart's ice-hard edge, Garner is a smooth, witty and fairly convincing Marlowe; likewise the film, fairly convincing, but no classic.
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Entertaining reincarnation of a classic character
djb89632819 September 1999
This is a well-done updating of the classic Raymond Chandler character Philip Marlowe, made famous in the film noirs of the 1940s. James Garner stars, in a pre-Rockford Files style, as Marlowe and carries the usual charm and wit for which he's so well known. A standout performance is from Sharon Farrell as the tortured sister. Following on from such films as "The Detective", "Lady in Cement" and "Madigan", this is another fine example of the late 60s example of the lone anti-hero who dwells in a world of corruption and violence. Well-written and acted, and quite funny at times.
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Lots of little problems from TV director Bogart
SnoopyStyle29 July 2014
Philip Marlowe (James Garner) is hired by Orfamay Quest (Sharon Farrell) to find her brother Orrin who had come to L.A. years ago. On the way, he finds a man murdered with an ice pick. Then he finds another body with an ice pick after getting knock down by a mysterious woman. Police detective Christy French (Carroll OConor) investigates. Marlowe discovers the mysterious woman is popular actress Mavis Wald (Gayle Hunnicut) and one of the dead man was developing compromising photos of her and Steelgrave. The ice pick stabbings are the trade mark of gangster Sonny Steelgrave (H.W. Wynant) and his men beats up Marlowe. Winslow Wong (Bruce Lee) comes in to rearrange Marlowe's office and keeps trying to buy him off for Steelgrave.

James Garner is a great actor. He does have the charm which he used to great effect in 'The Rockford Files' years later. That's what this movie feels like. It has the quality and the feel of a TV show. That's what director Paul Bogart is more known for. The one thing missing is a hard-boiled cinematic style. It may have been a mistake to place this in the modern swinging 60's. At least, this never takes advantage of the natural discrepancies. There are way too many little problems. There isn't the usual scene when Marlowe gets hired and introduced to the audience. Even Bruce Lee is wasted. He gets two scenes of jumping around but nothing is ever allowed to land on Marlowe. Sure he has a bit of fun trashing the office but he takes a ridiculous flying leap off of a building. It's a close call and this is a miss by a hair.
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Chandler's Marlowe transferred to the '60s...
Doylenf27 March 2007
Shifting Chandler's private eye to the '60s seems to work fairly well, although I still miss the film noir look of the gritty '40s melodramas with either Humphrey Bogart or George Montgomery as Marlowe. In addition, filming this one in color to take advantage of some Los Angeles locations, was not necessarily the best idea.

JAMES GARNER works well as Marlowe, although I still prefer the dry delivery of Humphrey Bogart and his one-liners in THE BIG SLEEP. But Garner is at his physical peak and makes a persuasive private detective on the trail of someone's missing brother. Along the way, he gets involved with the usual assortment of disreputable characters who occupy seedy hotel rooms and the shady side of town.

With a supporting cast that includes CARROLL O'CONNOR, JACKIE COOGAN and RITA MORENO (as a stripper), it's a stylish updating of Chandler's novel, "The Little Sister". And let's not forget BRUCE LEE who does a Karate job on Garner's office wall and furniture.

Too many of the early scenes drag and it's an hour into the story before the plot gets any livelier. In short, the plot remains rather flat and devoid of any real urgent suspense in spite of the fact that it deals with ice pick murders.

Summing up: Despite the okay performance from Garner, it remains a flabby exercise in suspense, lacking the terse quality of Chandler's stories and doesn't really perk up until the last ten minutes.
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Groovy noir
nickrogers196916 February 2010
Even though I've never understood who or why people got killed in this film, and I've seen it many times, I still like this movie a lot. I don't know why really, the plot is murky, it's not particularly atmospheric and it looks a little cheap sometimes with the studio-bound sets.

That most of the actresses in the film resemble one another doesn't help either. Rita Moreno looks like Gayle Hunnicut who looks like Marlowes girlfriend. Orfamay looks like the receptionist Marlowe talks to at her hotel. On top of that Orfamay and Mavis do NOT resemble each other and they are supposed to be sisters!!!!

I'm not a huge fan of James Garner but he's fun to watch. The film has an energy of it's own. The performances are all lively and entertaining. The last fight between the sisters is heartbreaking.

The cool clothes, groovy sixties setting and music add to the charm and I repeatedly watch this film without ever understanding who shot who!
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Dryly non-invigorating...much like James Garner's later "Rockford Files"
moonspinner5529 February 2008
Raymond Chandler's private dick Philip Marlowe from the 1940s is plunked down rather unceremoniously in the swinging late-1960s, with lethargic results. Based on Chandler's book "The Little Sister", this bland detective yarn starring James Garner doesn't even have a visually interesting production to recommend it. Paul Bogart's direction is torpid, and the writing equally unexcitable (the filmmakers here don't have an appreciation for Marlowe's roots--he's a square straight-shooter who isn't updated for the new era, and the irony is lost on everybody). The dry deadpan humor perhaps set the stage for Garner's TV series "The Rockford Files"--but raked out over an entire film, the cheeky asides just seem smug. Bruce Lee steals the spotlight in a bit as a karate-kicking henchman; otherwise, pretty tired. *1/2 from ****
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I'm a trained detective!
hitchcockthelegend20 August 2015
Marlowe is directed by Paul Bogart and adapted to screenplay by Stirling Silliphant from the novel The Little Sister written by Raymond Chandler. It stars James Garner, Gayle Hunnicut, Carroll O'Connor and Rita Moreno. Music is by Peter Matz and cinematography by William H. Daniels.

Los Angeles private detective Philip Marlow (Garner) is working on what he thinks is a simple missing persons case, how wrong he is!

Q as in Quintessential - U as in Uninhibited - E as in Extrasensory - S as in Subliminal - T as in Toots!

Another of the interpretations for the great Chandler creation of Philip Marlowe, unsurprisingly met with mixed notices - just as all the others have done. You do wonder what Chandler would have made of the role portrayals that came out post his death? I like to think he very much would have enjoyed Garner's take, because this Marlowe is a quip happy wise guy, unflappable and cool, he portrays so much with just a glance, and the girls love him.

The story is juicy in its little complexities, spinning Marlowe into muddy waters the further he investigates things. His life is always under threat, be it by serial ice-pick users or Asian martial artists (Bruce Lee no less in a nutty couple of scenes) wishing to inflict death, or of arrest by an increasingly frustrated police force. Bogart and Daniels keep the whole thing stylish looking, with film noir camera tricks and colour photography infusing the period details. While the supporting cast, notably the ladies, give Garner some splendid support.

It's a different Marlowe for sure, but a thoroughly engaging and entertaining one. 7/10
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Fun, never slow, a bit confusing, nicely filmed update of a Marlowe flick
secondtake20 June 2017
Marlowe (1969)

While not a great one, this is an unusual version of Philip Marlowe on film. James Garner is an odd choice in a way, but he's handsome and charming. The photographer, Bill Daniels, is a stalwart from the classic years of Hollywood, and it shows, with nicely filmed scenes (in color). Daniels is famous as Garbo's main photographer, if that gives an idea of his long lineage.

It's definitely 1969. New Hollywood is here, and there is a certain cheese factor that is part of the game, and not in the best ways. And the story itself is just not Raymond Chandler's best. Director Paul Bogart does his best, but for a comparison of a noir crime update, you might prefer the wonderful "The Long Goodbye" from 1973.

But here we are. Garner is really good, in fact, and if not a Humphrey Bogart type, that might be really appropriate. Still, he's indifferent to pretty women until he isn't, he drinks, he's sarcastic, he is appropriately weary. Here he smokes a pipe, and he remains interesting.

There is (for me) a simple appeal to the sets and the time it was shot. It's a crazy time in US history (great crazy). Everything is updated—there is no sense of recreating the 1940s, but rather of just setting the old story (from the 30s) into the new world.

There are some fun curiosities, like Carroll O'Conner (the leading male in "All in the Family," which started the year before)—who isn't quite convincing as a tough cop. And the gay hairdresser played by Christopher Cary. And the side actor who does karate on Marlowe's office (for real) by the name of Bruce Lee (in his first American film). And two beautiful women (as usual) who play more pithy parts than you'd expect (clever or strong) until, of course, the stripper scene at the end. One of them, the fabulous Rita Moreno, had a continuing career with Garner in the "Rockford Files" for t.v. And finally another William Daniels (unrelated) who played Dustin Hoffman's dad in "The Graduate" two years early, and who is so different here you might not recognize him.

Okay, so what ends up happening is a weird mix of humor and cleverness. The movie really wants to entertain, and yet it keeps inside the hard edged world of classic 1940s noir with references to tough guys and ice picks in the neck. It has almost absurdist humor and then it seems (somewhat) to want to take the crime and the criminals and the sleuthing seriously. It doesn't quite jive.

Blame the era, maybe, but watch "Klute" or other detective yarns from the era and you can see an opportunity that went astray. I enjoyed it thoroughly, but only by kicking back. The story is a bit jumbled, either at its root or in its telling, but I think they thought viewers would enjoy the whole situation and all these interesting actors at work. It only goes so far.
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The Ice-pick Cometh
wes-connors2 August 2011
Raymond Chandler's 1940s private investigator Philip Marlowe steps into actor James Garner's shoes, which should be a comfortable fit. But, it isn't. This film starts with someone doing an impression of James Bond, poolside, over a swingin' sixties credit sequence. Then, we find Mr. Garner wading through a group of presumably stoned and definitely slumbering hippies. As it turns out, he's looking for the brother of a client in this hippie hotel...

Garner finds several ice-picks, usually in the back of bodies. Ice-picks were often used in the 1940s to pick ice. Karate expert Bruce Lee smashes Garner's office and Garner calls him "a little gay" because he's light on his feet. The climax occurs after about 90 minutes of muddling events, when Rita Moreno in a platinum wig does her main strip tease. She must be wearing more than it seems and she sure knows how to move. Then, it's over.

*** Marlowe (9/19/69) Paul Bogart ~ James Garner, Gayle Hunnicutt, Carroll O'Connor, Rita Moreno
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Garner is no Bogart
jellopuke8 September 2019
This movie is a touch confused, preferring to keep the style and setting exactly like the 40's but then have it be taking place in 1969 with hippies and all that. It makes it seem like a kind of non-time where nothing fits. Then you have Garner playing an almost comatose version of Marlowe,completely boring and uninteresting despite all the women in the film throwing themselves at him. Bruce Lee's cameo was okay, but his death scene was totally ridiculous. Overall, this just wasn't good despite the source material.
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Bruce Lee was a surprise
christopher-underwood9 March 2013
Taking a brief break from a string of obscure and not so obscure horror movies, I thought this might provide some light relief. Its bright and colourful enough but the sparkling humour doesn't last too long into the film which becomes pretty complicated but is still fun to watch. True enough to the Chandler story, Garner is maybe just a little too one note. Rita Moreno, on the other hand puts in an amazing performance, complete with a super striptease sequence at the end. Bruce Lee was a surprise participant, providing, what I assume was intended to be a comic turn. This is not as good as the early b/w Chandler movies nor as good as the 1973 Altman movie, The Long Goodbye (Gould might have got some tips from Garner's performance in this) but its a decent enough effort.
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Garner, O'Connor, Moreno, & Lee
DKosty12319 June 2017
Warning: Spoilers
Here is a talented cast of mostly TV people and a good Chandler Novel, The Sister's sort of out of place in the 1969 era of movies. People did not go to the theater to see this one. Bruce Lee's first screen role is basically the same as the film, both jump off the building together.

I think the problem is the MGM film is so short that it does not have time to really put the novel into the script and create a true noir film. Garner's Marlowe would be okay if it had some more time to develop plot. This film comes off a 1960's assembly line of films that had plenty of recalls and only a few great films.

There are small things about it to like. I mean fans of Ganer, Moreno, and O'Connor should be happy to see them in this and even Lee does get a few lines that are decent in a way too short role.

What is interesting is the ending. It's like have a shooting and suicide at a strip club which is only vaguely referred to in the film, get the shooting over. Then have Marlowe (Garner) who barely gets out of the way of the shooting, leave in his car.

It's almost like MGM just wanted out of the film, and just ended it abruptly.
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Great for any Garner (or Rockford) fan!! Interesting plot!
btcombo221 May 2001
This movie is a classic. The combination of Chandler's writing and Garner's approach to the character make this a must see for any fan. Garner plays a slightly harder version of the Rockford detective he will later portray and pulls it off flawlessly. As an added bonus for the male audience, check out Rita Moreno's strip dance in the final scene. HOT!!! Also appearing in a great supporting role, Carroll O'Connor as the street tough lieutenant.
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edwagreen20 June 2017
Warning: Spoilers
Miserable 1969 film based on the Raymond Chandler novel. Total confusing and often quite annoying would best describe this train wreck of a picture.

We go from ice pick murders to two sisters reporting their brother missing to all other sorts of mayhem.

There is absolutely no cohesion in this film. What was the role of that shady, lunatic doctor?

James Garner gets absolutely no support from the dreadful writing.

Carroll O'Connor gives an interesting performance as a chief police officer who is quite cynical when it comes to people in general.
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Works best as a time capsule
MissSimonetta19 June 2017
Though James Garner does a good job as Raymond Chandler's immortal private eye, Marlowe (1969) is just a passable mystery thriller. The pacing is a big sluggish and aside from Bruce Lee smashing up Garner's office, nothing about the movie sticks out in the mind. When it comes to post-classic Hollywood takes on Chandler, you're better off with The Long Goodbye or Farewell My Lovely, both from the 1970s.

Marlowe is best as a time capsule of the late 1960s. The jazzy soundtrack, mod and hippie fashions, and the locales all reek of the period, and that was where most of this viewer's pleasure was found. If that's enough for you, then catch it on TCM whenever they play the thing.
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A cool cat looking for a connection
mgtbltp14 April 2014
Warning: Spoilers
It's all about cool, cool that aura of quiet intensity along that ever changing cutting edge balancing between conservative and excess, the spark between new and old, you know it when you see it.

William Powell had it, Noir icons Bogart, Dick Powell, Mitchum, Conte, Andrews, Ford, Holden, and Hayden had it. James Garner as Marlowe displays one of the last vestiges of classic, big city, private eye cool, surfing the counter culture tsunami of the 60s. Yes, other P.I. depictions will follow, the majority on TV, but they will be diluted and tainted by the sea change of the Age of Aquarius, but they will be written quirky, cutesy, and PC. The only other film P.I's that have the classic cool in contemporary settings are Paul Newman's Harper films, Armand Assante in I, The Jury, and possibly Elliot Gould's turn as Marlowe in The Long Goodbye, and Gene Hackman as Mosby in Night Moves.

Right out of the chute we are dropped both visually into Marlowe's current case in the title sequence by the use of a nice dynamic camera aperture motif that reveals multiple candid papparazi/surveillance photos, and audibly by a bubblegum style pop tune from the silly side of the commercial sixties. Titled "Little Sister" (sung by Orpheus) that ties the film to Raymond Chander's novel "The Little Sister" The tune itself then morphs into a tinny sounding diegetic song blaring from the radio of Marlowe's top down Dodge convertible.

The car rolls along, and only in southern California, a horsehead oil pump studded beach, and up to a peace sign and flower power festooned hippie hotel called The Infinite Pad. Jammed into the chrome barred appointments of the dash is a photo of Orin Quest, the wayward missing in action brother from some hicksville Kansas fly speck who blew town down Route 66 in search of kicks. Marlowe wades through the throng of stoned out denizens and into the mangers office replete with posters, burning incense, and love beads. Marlowe soon finds out that he's in deeper doodoo than the $50 dollar retainer chump change case warranted.

So how, you may ask, does a knight errant loner like Marlowe survive in a world of full page add, multiple operative, private investigation agencies? Well, he sublets half of his shabby suite of family-hand-me- down furnished offices to a beauty college who's ex-pat Brit proprietor doubles as an answering service/receptionist. He is good for a few chuckles.

Cinematographer William Daniels (Brute Force, Lured, The Naked City) achieves a subdued almost laid back noir-ish style, photographing sleazy late 60s LA in a way that emphasizes the thin veneer of "new" that cosmetically covers the same old decay, its just Day-Glo painted now. Noir archetypes such as the Bradbury Building, and Union Station provide a cinematic memory link to classic film noir, while modern apartments, cloud club panoramic restaurants, the Hotel Alvarado and Sunset Blvd. strip joints anchor us to 1969. The use of split screen both advances the story line and occasionally provides a bit of humor. Another segment at a TV studio juxtaposes a throwaway modern dance routine along side one of the 20 Greta Garbo films that Daniels is famous for. Garner disdains the dance number to a TV exec telling him that the Garo film is the real entertainment.

1969 contemporary Marlowe is a cool level headed professional, efficient, witty, and generous he even has a sleep over gal pal who works at the DMV who he also pumps for information. He eschews fedora and trench coat for sunglasses but still smokes a pipe and drinks bourbon.

The stories catalyst is Orfamay's search for brother Orin and turns convolutedly into something else. Gayle Hunnicutt is Mavis Wald, a prominent TV star billed as "America's Sweetheart" an almost auguring like reference to Mary Tyler Moore & her show by the same name. Marlowe's involvement shakes things up enough to get various seemingly un-related individuals getting caught in a vortex with bodies piling up. Watch for Bruce Lee trashing Marlowe's office. The repartee between Carroll O'Connor and Marlowe. The sequence at Union Station where a woman is caught sitting at a lunch counter between Marlowe and Orfamay where they update all the skulduggery that has taken place the various facial expressions she displays are hilarious. This is a reference to a similar set up in The Dark Corner where Mark Stevens and Lucille Ball are conversing while a ticket booth girl overhears them.

Fellows shines as Orfamay. Jackie Coogan is good as shifty Grant W. Hicks. George Tyne is a hoot as as the Hotel Alvarado house dick. Rita Moreno sizzles as stripper Dolores, doing a very sophisticated striptease routine that's low on tease and high on strip. It makes you think of what may have been if Hollywood had not been shackled by the Hays Code. Think of the strip routines of Rita Hayward in Gilda, Adele Jergens in Armored Car Robbery, Anita Ekberg in Screaming Mimi, Robin Raymond in the Glass Wall, Barbara Nichols in Beyond A Reasonable Doubt, even Kim Novak in The Man With the Golden Arm.

The soundtrack after the title sequence reverts into variations of a nice cool jazzy theme. If I have any quibbles it would be for even more LA location shots (especially with the cinematographer of The Naked City). DVD from Warner Archive Collection. 9/10
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Early Rockford
levybob22 June 2017
Everyone enjoys James Garner. Yes? Right. Gambler Bret Maverick. And later, Private Eye Jim Rockford. And squeezed in between we have his very bad take on detective Philip Marlowe. Unlike world-weary Bogart and / or Robert Montgomery in earlier versions (Big Sleep, Lady in the Lake) we have Garner's too-bubbly version of the private eye. Like The Big Sleep, this story through its very last scene is quite tough to keep up with. Unlike The Big Sleep, however, we aren't so won over by the performances that the plot details don't matter. Carroll O'Connor as a frustrated cop shows some early glimpses of the Archie Bunker to come. And Rita Moreno is terrific and very easy on the eyes as a stripper and suspect. But it's Garner's movie, and, based on this audition, I can see why he was chosen for TV's Rockford. But this ain't TV. It's a movie. And as such, should have delivered more. Much more.
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Cool movie; Jim Rockford before there was a Jim Rockford?
leebey16 May 2001
A great little movie that was part of a brief, late 1960s renaissance of private eye flicks. Jim Garner does a nice turn as a modern-day Marlowe who find himself trapped in a game a lot more complicated than he thought. Garner plays it funny, smart and light--kind of a Jim Rockford five years before the fact. The movie has a few goodies though. There is great dialogue, an ice-picking, a pretty good beat-down, drug laced cigarettes and an unforgettable strip tease by Rita Moreno. A PBS station--of all places--aired this gem in the early 1990s and fortunately it is available on video.
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